✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 01, 2022: Thursday

“Leaving behind everything and following the Lord!”

(Based on 1 Cor 3:18-23 and Lk 5:1-11 – Thursday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

“Would you like to come along with me, for a short walk along the sea?

We could share some of our experiences of life…
… that would probably help us to live better!”

These are the words of Simon Peter, the Apostle of Jesus.

Saying a “Yes” to this invitation…
… let us now stroll along with Simon Peter, as he recounts, in first person, his experiences…

“Ah, so there you, my friend!
I am so happy that you have accepted my invitation.

Uh… by the way, be careful, as we walk along the sea…
…. ‘cos there might be some rough stones and thorny bushes.

Just mind your steps, as we walk along.

So, where shall I begin with?

Hmm… I guess I shall begin with my beginning itself…
… my beginnings with the Lord!

Let me start by saying that nothing much about my life before I encountered the Lord, is known to others.

But that itself, I feel, is a point of great reflection…
That unless we come to the Lord, our life is mere existence…
… nothing noteworthy, nothing special, nothing significant!

Only when we are in the Lord…
… do we have a meaning and purpose in life!

Only when we are in the Lord…
… can we say that our lives have a destination and a goal!

How I wish that many more discover Jesus as the purpose and objective of one’s life!

How I pray that followers of Christ may have more zeal to bring many to the love of Christ!

So continuing with my story – of my beginnings in the Lord…

How very fresh is the memory of that golden day in my life!
… The day the Lord came to me and called me to be His “fisher of men” (as we would read in the Gospel of my friend St Luke 5: 10)

My friend St Luke, told you in his Gospel narrative, 4:38-39, that my mother-in-law was healed of a severe fever.

This incident had brought great joy and hope to our family.

Somehow, (I probably guess so… though am not fully sure!)…
… that miracle had also sparked a sense of interest and liking in me, towards that Great Rabbi, Jesus!

He was already moving across streets in villages and towns bringing much healing and hope

He was also revealing God as a Father… as One Who was much closer and lovable and friendlier, than many of us traditional Jews had thought!

But the experience of that glorious day still lingers in my mind…
… so fresh… so gracious!

My Master had his large crowd of fans gathered around him.

It was such a privilege that my boat was used by the Master to stand and preach to the crowds!

Yeah, my simple boat became His Great Instrument of Evangelization!
… You can call it as the story of “Pauper Peter’s Plank transformed into the Precious Preacher’s Pulpit!”

After the great round of boldly proclaiming the Word of God…
… it was time for the Word to touch me!

The Master, with His powerful words reached out to me, “Put out into the deeper water and lower your nets for a catch!”

But of course, all of you do know that I am a very instinctual and impulsive man!

The “expert” in me protested and said, “We have worked the whole night and caught nothing!”

But this is where the Master “caught me”

That was the bait, by which I, the little fish, would be hooked by the Great Fisherman of Galilee!

I thought I knew everything about the seas… about fishing…!

But the Lord, the Creator of all…
… sliced through my inner being and exposed my weakness!

The miraculous catch of fish that followed was a lesson in humility and obedience!

I thought I knew everything… only to realize, that “human knowledge is foolishness before God’s Wisdom”

I felt I was an expert in my area of activity…
… only to realize that “human minds have to always bend before the One Who has shaped and created this entire universe!”

And so I cried out…”Depart from me, Lord! I am a sinful man!”

That was the beginning, of the end…
… the end of my pride
… the end of wanting “my way”

For it was also the beginning…
… of a new way of life for me!

Yes, God’s Mercy had touched me!
… and His Mercy had sparked me in a new vocation – the vocation to be “fishers of men!”

His Mercy would continue to accompany me, all through my life…
…. in times when I would act impulsively as the leader of the group
… in times when I would go on to betray my Master
… in times, when I would once again be called to follow the Lord after His Resurrection
… in times, when I would be instilled with hope to continue as His Vicar on the earth!

And so I strongly believe in this statement: “Mercy is the source and the strength of every vocation!”

Be it any vocation: Family life…. Consecrated Life…. Priestly Life… Celibate life…

Have you discovered the meaning and depth of this statement?

Check into your lives and see…
… so many are the acts of mercy of God in your life
… so many are the ways in which the Mercy of God has led you through

Perhaps, many times, you are not aware… many times, you have taken it for granted!

But look deeper… and surely you will find: Your life is a living witness of God’s Mercy!

And so, become aware that “Mercy is the source and the strength of every vocation!”

Hmmm… Are you still with me?

I guess, I do talk a lot, right?

Well, as you see, I do have tears in my eyes now… (tears of joy, of course!)
… and this would be the joy you too experience, when your life is touched by the Mercy of God

And you give yourself, entirely to Jesus, the Great Fisherman of Galilee…and my Hero!

Are you willing to leave everything and follow Him…
… just as I did?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration.

They have stayed the same until our own day for all the great liturgical families. (CCC #1345)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 31, 2022: Wednesday

“Imitating our ‘Enthusiastic’ Master, and spreading the love of the Lord to all!”

(Based on 1 Cor 3:1-9 and Lk 4:38-44 – Wednesday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

“Enthusiasm” is a very remarkable word.
This word, “enthusiasm” is derived from two Greek words:
“en” meaning IN “theos” meaning GOD
So the word “enthusiasm” literally means, being IN GOD!

Therefore, technically speaking…

One who is “enthusiastic” is the one who is possessed by God and is passionate about His works
One who is “enthusiastic” is the one who is deeply involved in the concerns of God and is zealous for Him

The Gospel of the Day is a classic exhibition of our Blessed Lord who displays a lot of “enthusiasm” in His Mission and ministry.

The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4, verses 31 onwards is a description of the activities of a day in the life of Jesus.
This was a Sabbath day.

And it is being a very long day for the Lord…

The day began with Jesus teaching in the synagogue (Lk 4: 31-32)

Amazement and astonishment had filled all those who listened to Him

Then, He cured a man with a spirit of an unclean demon (Lk 4: 33-37)

Authority and Power was on display to all those who encountered this healing

Then, He goes to the house of Simon Peter and heals his mother-in-law (Lk 4: 38-39)

Personal affection and interest was extended to the chosen disciple of the Lord

Later, at sunset, He heals the various sick and suffering who are brought to Him (Lk 4: 40-41)

Immense compassion and mercy is offered to those in need

Finally, at daybreak, He moves off to a deserted place and proceeds to preach in the other towns (Lk 4: 42-43)

Unmatched dedication and commitment for the mission is exhibited by the Lord

One of the outstanding features that is noticed in our Blessed Lord is His absolutely tremendous level of “enthusiasm”.

Nothing seemed to tire the Lord.
Nothing seemed to deter Him in His works
Nothing seemed to fluctuate Him in His focus.

The reason for this was that He was Enthusiastic – “In God” (and of course, He is GOD Himself!)

Chapter 4 of St Luke had begun with Jesus affirming, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…” (Lk 4: 18)

It was this “being in the Spirit” that was the recipe to our Blessed Lord being constantly “on the move” – in Mission with Enthusiasm!

His Presence brought about a wave of happiness and hope

His Words helped people to find new meaning and purpose in life
His Works enabled people to find acceptance and forgiveness in life

Is my life and the activities that I engage in, also “filled with enthusiasm?”

Am I able to live my life in joy and happiness, knowing that I have a God who is deeply in love with me, and takes care of my every need and knows my every movement?
Am I able to trust the Lord, especially in moments of crises and calamities, and be a beacon of hope in the darkness of tragedies and be an agent of encouragement in the thick of hopelessness?

Our Christian Faith gives us so many reasons to be joyful – to be thankful and to be “enthusiastic”

When I am “in the Lord”…
… I can always radiate joy
… I can always share love
… I can always spread hope

Let us imitate our “Enthusiastic” Master, so that every moment of our day can become…
… an opportunity to share a joyful smile and a cheerful word to a sad and gloomy soul!
… an occasion to extend the healing hand of compassion and service to those who are in need!
… an opening to spread the love of the Lord and to bring people closer to His Gentle and Merciful Heart!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

From celebration to celebration, as they proclaim the Paschal mystery of Jesus “until he comes,”…

… the pilgrim People of God advances,” following the narrow way of the cross,” toward the heavenly banquet, when all the elect will be seated at the table of the kingdom. (CCC #1344)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 30, 2022: Tuesday

“Shine forth, in brightness and holiness, radiating the Authoritative Presence of Christ to all!”

(Based on 1 Cor 2:10-16 and Lk 4:31-37 – Tuesday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose into prominence during the French Revolution.

In a short span of time, he had gained prominent control of the Continental Europe.

Once, while discussing and planning his strategies, with his staff officers, he spread a large map of the world on the table before him.

Then he put his finger on a kingdom which was coloured red and told them, “If it were not for this red spot, I could conquer the whole world!”

That red spot was the British Isles.

(The British Isles were identified with the colour ‘red’ derived from its prominence in their flag.

They were the only force, which Napolean felt, was preventing his plans to capture the entire world)

Probably, in the similar manner, Satan, while discussing and planning his strategies, would spread the large map of the universe.

Then, He would put his finger on a place which was coloured red and told them, “If it were not for this red spot, I could conquer the whole universe!”

That red spot is the Blood of our Blessed Saviour, shed on the Cross at Calvary!

Yes, Satan trembles at the glorious presence of our Blessed Lord.

Evil cannot stand Holiness!
Wickedness cannot tolerate Goodness!

The Gospel of the Day presents this expression and dread of the evil one, who is unable to bear the presence of the Divine Saviour.

The Gospel Passage is the incident of the curing of the demoniac (Lk 4: 31-37).

The preceding passage (Lk 4: 1-30) described the dramatic inauguration of the public ministry of Jesus in His home-town, Nazareth.
… Initially, there was a lot of amazement, wonder and awe that was expressed by the people
… But when the Lord, began to explicate His Mission, especially of being a Saviour of all the nations, there was a change in attitude of the people
… The shift from a “goody-goody” expectation of the Messiah to a “challenging” presence, caused them discomfort, and they began to express their anger and infuriation, by seeking to even kill the Lord

But the Spirit-filled Jesus had no stopping…

Nothing could stop Him from continuing His Mission and the Duty entrusted to Him

And so, the Gospel says, “He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And He was teaching on the Sabbath” (Lk 4: 31)

As the quote goes, “This is the kind of stuff, champions are made of!”

He was…
… determined in His dedication
… committed to His cause
… purposeful in His programme

Can we also imitate our Blessed Lord in this unswerving fidelity…

Oppositions may rock our life…
Crises may strangle our hopes…

But can I still continue to hold on to being Faithful to the Gospel and to the ways of the Lord?

This requires the tremendous infilling and a constant seeking and doing of God’s Will in our lives.

It was this purposiveness that enabled Jesus to be a person of authority and evoke astonishment and amazement from His hearers: “They were astonished at His teaching, for His Word was with authority” (Lk 31b-32)

Therefore, when the man who was possessed by the evil spirit, encountered Jesus, “he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” (Lk 4: 34)

Yes, Satan trembles at the glorious presence of our Blessed Lord.

Evil cannot stand Holiness!
Wickedness cannot tolerate Goodness!

As followers of our Blessed Lord, we too are called upon to become “people of authority and holiness”

Can I seek to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord…
… so that my Spirit-filled presence will cause the demons of “filthiness, lust, corruption and injustice” to tremble and be cast away?

Can I make efforts to co-operate still more with the Grace of the Lord…
… so that my life-in-Jesus, will cause the demons of “wickedness, indifference, hatred and pride” to shiver and be chased away?

There is a beautiful hymn, known to many of us, “Are you washed, in the blood of the Lamb?”
When we are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, we have the power to stand before the forces of evil When we are purified by the cleansing might of the blood of Christ, we have the grace to challenge the pressures of Satan

May our lives, washed in the Blood of our Blessed Lord, be a “red spot” which would distort every wicked plan of Satan to conquer this world…
… and may we shine forth, in brightness and holiness, radiating the Authoritative Presence of Christ to all!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

It was above all on “the first day of the week,” Sunday, the day of Jesus’ resurrection, that the Christians met “to break bread.”
From that time on down to our own day the celebration of the Eucharist has been continued so that today we encounter it everywhere in the Church with the same fundamental structure.
It remains the center of the Church’s life. (CCC #1343).

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 29, 2022: Monday

“Constantly seeking to have the ‘beautiful ring” of our conscience in tune with God’s Will!”

(Based on the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist )

There was a certain king who possessed a magic ring.

This ring, looked like any of the other rings that the King wore, except the fact that this ring had some influential powers.

Whenever some evil thought would cross across his mind, or if he was tempted to do some wrong thing, this ring would press painfully on the finger!

This would make the King realize that he was on the wrong track, and would quickly become aware of the paths of danger.

Perhaps, many of us – especially with the ease with which we often slip into the slush of sin – would wish that we too could possess such a ring…
… a ring that would prick us painfully, so that we become aware of the wrong we do
… a ring that would act as a reminder to prevent us from treading on the thorny tracks of sin

But how many of us do realize, that all of us have been blessed and adorned with this beautiful ring?

Perhaps, some of us are ignorant of it…

Perhaps, some of us have lost touch with it…
Perhaps, some of us have forgotten its presence…

This ring is nothing else but our ‘Conscience!’

Am I aware of the voice of the Conscience prompting me with its timely warnings and admonishing…?
… or have I lost awareness of the Conscience, by my constant rejection and frequent refusal of its still, gentle voice…?

The Gospel of the Day (Mk 6:17-29) is the dramatic re-telling of the story of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist – a victim of a “Deadened Conscience!”!

One of the important focus subject of this “soul-stirring and heart-gripping” incident is the aspect of Conscience.

Conscience is the inner guide to determine the right from wrong.

The Catholic Church, in her teaching on the Conscience says: “Deep within his conscience, man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey.

Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment.
For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God
His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary.
There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths. (CCC #1776)

The education of the conscience is a life-long task.

However, as a person grows up – going through various experiences in life – there can be…
… errors that creep into the conscience
… areas in the conscience that are never informed

Hence, the formation of the Conscience is to be of utmost importance in the moral life of a person – a formation that has the Word of God as the light for our path!

In the Gospel, we encounter King Herod, who failed to give heed to the Word of God, prophetically spoken by John the Baptist.

The Word of God was directly addressed to him…
… but he chose to reject it.
The Result: His conscience became subdued and the voice of his own personal desires grew louder in the depths of his heart!

The Word of God was put forward to him and challenged his moral integrity and his lustful life…
… but he failed to give any heed to the call to repent or change.
The Result: His conscience was stifled and its gentle voice was drowned in the ocean of adulterous appetite and carnal cravings.

This danger is a possibility in so many of our lives too…

We hear God’s Word telling us not to do certain things, or forbids us from following a particular lifestyle…
… but often, we don’t give any consideration to it, and live life “bindaas” – without any fear!

We are informed by people who care for us, on the need to mend our ways or to live a life which is more disciplined or oriented towards our faith…
… but sometimes, we just don’t bother about it, or pretend as if “We know to live our lives, without anyone’s advices”

We come to know of the many wrongs that we indulge ourselves in, or are made aware of the sinful paths that we may be treading across…
… but quite often, we sink into the waters of lethargy or indifference or climb up the mountain of pride and arrogance

The Result?

Our conscience becomes weakened… fails to become a forceful power in our lives… and slowly, stutters towards a crippling death!

The powerfully intense story of the Beheading of John the Baptist is a mighty call for us to give greater heed to the formation of our conscience.

Can we take some practical resolutions (just to mention a few) to help towards the same…

Making a daily examination of conscience (ideally twice a day – noon and night – or at least at the end of the day)
… consciously going through each activity of the day
… thanking the Lord for all His blessings at every step of the day
… discovering the moments when we have strayed away from His paths and failed to do His Will
… make deliberate and practical decisions to amend them, and to foster actions of goodness

Reading the Word of God – seeking to assimilate and moulding one’s lives as per the Sacred Will of God
… setting apart, strictly, at least a few minutes of the day ( Let’s not forget that “a day consists of 1440 minutes… 86,400 seconds!!) to spend time with the Word of God

Seeking to spend more time in personal prayer (ideally and whenever possible, before the Most Blessed Sacrament)
… The conscience derives strength, clarity and cleansing, when presented before its Creator!

Strengthening our Sacramental life especially in the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Confession
… making it a point to participate in the Holy Eucharist more often (with wholehearted preparation and due reverence)
… resolving to make a Confession at very regular times (probably, once in a month), realizing that Confession is not only for “forgiveness of sins” but also “for grace to be stronger and courageous in one’s spiritual life)

May we constantly seek to have the ‘beautiful ring” of our conscience in tune with God’s Will…
… and thus help us to live a life of complete commitment and courageous passion, like St John the Baptist.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

From the beginning the Church has been faithful to the Lord’s command. Of the Church of Jerusalem it is written:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts. (CCC #1342)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 28, 2022: Sunday

“Doing acts of goodness and charity without seeking any appreciation or favours!”

(Based on Sir 3:17-18,20,28-29, Heb 12:18-19,22-24a and Lk 14:1,7-14 – 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Sir Isaac Newton is considered to be one of the greatest scientists of all time.

It was Newton who had discovered the Laws of Gravity which caused great advancements in the field of astronomical studies.

But there was another person, who had greatly helped Newton to climb this ladder of success…
… and of fame and popularity.

But he mostly remains unknown!

His name is Edmund Halley.

It was Halley who corrected some of the mathematical errors committed by Newton.
It was Halley who prepared geometrical figures to support his discoveries.
It was Halley who edited and supervised the publication of his great work, “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”
It was also Halley who financed its printing even though Newton was wealthier and easily could have afforded the printing costs

These acts are considered to be among the most selfless ones in the history of science.

But, Halley hardly received any prominence or recognition.

He is, of course, known for the discovering a comet named the “Halley’s Comet”
… which (ironically!) appears briefly every 76 years.

But it was recognized only after his death!

Halley is stated to have said that he didn’t care who received credit for discoveries…

His single mission in life was to advance the cause of science…
… and he did it!

To do an act of goodness and charity, without…

Wanting appreciation…
Seeking recognition…
Desiring applauds…
… though, a mighty challenge, is at the same time, a Christian demand!

The Gospel of the Day is a call from Jesus to examine our attitude towards others…
… and grow in this tremendous dimension of the Virtue of Humility!

We are in the 14th Chapter of St Luke.

Jesus has been invited for a dinner to the house of a leading Pharisee on a Sabbath Day.

He has just cured a person with dropsy…
… a disease wherein water gets retained in the body

He also tried to cure persons with hypocrisy…
… a disease wherein duplicity gets retained in the mind!

And now He seeks to cure the attitude of the people who have a false understanding of giving.

Jesus says: “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends, or your brothers and relatives and wealthy neighbours. For surely they will invite you in return and you will be repaid” (Lk 14:12)

Much of our giving is based purely on the (hidden) aspect of receiving back…

Much of our sharing is based purely on an (unconscious) agenda of getting back…

We share our time with friends…
… often expecting that they too will accompany us in our times of hardships and difficulties!

We work hard for our families..
… often expecting that they too will be with us in our moments of struggle & not leave us lonely!

We render service to many people who are in need…
… often expecting that they too will render us assistance in our difficulties!

We pray to God & make a lot of sacrifices…
… often expecting that He’ll meet all our expectations, in the way & time, we want!

We love many saints…
… often expecting that they’ll make faster intercession on our behalf and get our works done quickly.

We have, perhaps, become very business oriented:

I give, and expect returns…
I share, and expect a bonus…

But the Lord, in today’s Gospel comes down heavily on such an attitude.
“When you give, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind…because they cannot repay you” (Lk 14:13)

We are exhorted to give to those…
… who may never be able to repay back.

We are challenged to help those…
… who may never have a chance to return back the favour.

The Lord who said these words, shows us an example in the highest manner possible….

In the Holy Eucharist!

The Holy Eucharist is the best example and model…of such kind of a giving..

A giving without expecting back!
A sharing without seeking back!

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the poor…
… we who are poor in our morals and purity
… we who are poor in our commitment and dedication

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the Crippled…
… crippled with our many sins and faults
… crippled with the guilt of many past failures

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the Lame…
… lame in our longing and thirst for the Divine
… lame in our acts of self-giving and self-sacrifice

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the Blind…
… blind to the cries of those around us
… blind to see our habits which needs repentance & improvement

Jesus, who gives Himself entirely in the Holy Eucharist today challenges us to do the same:
“I give myself to you as food and nourishment…
… even though many people fail to thank me!

Can you also give yourselves to nourish the lives of others…
… even if they fail to acknowledge?”

“I give myself to you in joy, happiness and peace…
… even though many despise and mock me!

Can you also become a source of joy to others…
… even if they back-bite and spread calumny?”

“I give myself to you as a healing for sin and guilt…
… even though many hate and desecrate me!

Can you also become a healing touch to the other…
… even if it means dying slowly to yourself slowly die in the process?”

Yes, as Christians, we have to grow in humility…

Our single mission in life ought to be, the advancement of the Kingdom of God…
… and we ought to pray and work for this virtue!

As the book of Sirach says, “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.

Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favour with God!” (Sir 3:17-18)

The onus is on us…
Let us seek the grace and make the efforts…
… to do acts of goodness and charity, without…

Wanting appreciation…
Seeking recognition…
Desiring applauds…
… which, though, a mighty challenge, is at the same time, a Christian demand!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words “until he comes” does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did.

It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his Resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father. (CCC #1341)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 27, 2022: Saturday

“Investing wisely, the seeds of God’s Grace in order to derive its potential blessings!”

(Based on 1 Cor 1:26-31 and Mt 25:14-30 – Saturday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A familiar story, in various versions goes thus…

A lady came up to a shop which had the name “Everything your heart desires, is available here”

The curious lady went to the shopkeeper and asked: “I want peace of mind and love and happiness and wisdom and freedom from fear”

The shopkeeper, in return, smiled and said: “Madam, thank you for expressing your desire. But please do note: I sell only seeds, not fruits!”

Such is the logic in our Christian Life as well.

God has gifted the “seeds” of good things to all of us….

… do we “sow these seeds” to produce good fruits?
… do we “invest these seeds” in order to derive its potential blessings?

The Gospel of the Day – Mt 25:14-30 – presents before us a simple-to-understand and practical-to-follow Parable of the Lord: the Parable of the Talents!

One of the beauty of this Parable is that it is simple, clear and easy to understand.

And its lessons are hard to miss!!
This parable tells what to do while we live in this world and the need to be responsible and dutiful.

The Parable introduces the fact that the servants were judged by the way, they managed the master’s resources.

We learn a very crucial truth from this: All that we have belongs to God!

We need to underline and highlight the word “ALL”

… Belongs to GOD!

We own nothing…
We hold no space…
We possess no one…
… All belongs to GOD!

He made them…
… He gave them to us

And one day… He will take them from us again.

Even our life itself is a gift from God!

If only our world and our generation were to grow more and more in this truth…!

How often we hold on to our possessions…
… and go bonkers in preserving and safeguarding them!

How often we seek twisted and distorted ways…
… to acquire more wealth and capture vital status and ranks!

How often we resort to disgraceful and shameful means…
… to win over positions and powers and authority!

How often we play dirty games and indulge in dreadful activities…
… to put down people and go up in dominance!

Another aspect that we find in the parable is the usage of the word “talents”.

Usually, when we hear the word “talents” in English, we tend to think of some natural abilities, like…
… playing the piano
… or being good at some sports
… or being skilled in painting or knowing how to handle computers etc….

In the time of Jesus, however…
… the ‘talent’ was referred to a huge amount of money.

One talent would represent approximately 16½ years of salary for a labourer.

To give a man two talents would equal around 33 years of salary….
To give a man five talents would be like giving him 80 years of salary to invest…

That’s indeed a huge amount, isn’t it?

Imagine, how rich would the Owner himself have been!
(This once again reminds us that the Owner – God – is the Source of ALL… everything in our life!)

What was the criteria in giving different people a particular amount of money?

Each one according to one’s ability

And who made this determination to allocate the amount of money?

The Master himself, according to His wish!

Here’s another truth: God is not obligated to treat us, like he treats anyone else.

He can give us more or He can give us less than others.

Some have more money and talent and opportunity and strength and health and relationships than others.

Others have less money and talent and opportunity and strength and health and relationships!

It’s not about being unlucky.

It’s not about our ill-fate.

The Master…
…has total sovereignty and freedom with what and how much HE wants to give to His people!

This leaves us with a choice:

  1. We can either crib and complain, gripe and grumble about our situation and make excuses and just sit idle!
  2. We can accept the given situation we are in – with gratitude – and start from where we are, and do what we can… to the best!


The Dynamics of Comparison is useless…
… the Tactic of Hard Work is amazing!

The Parable of the Talents is a very Practical Parable that the Lord has offered us!

Yesterday is past…
… tomorrow is the Future.

But Today is a GIFT…
… that’s why, it is called as The PRESENT!

Let’s make this PRESENT, a PLEASENT GIFT to the GREAT GIVER…
… by seeking His Grace and combining it with our hard works and determination!

Let us make the best use of the “seeds” of good things given to all of us and …
… sow these seeds” to produce good fruits!
… “invest these seeds” in order to derive its potential blessings!

We celebrate today the Feast of St Monica, that exemplary mother-saint, who was ever-vigilant in interceding for her child, to get back to the ways of the Lord.

She becomes an example for us to be always be focused on the Lord, be ready for His Graces always, and to wait in patience and hope!

St. Monica’s local bishop would often console her, saying:
“God’s time will come. It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.”

Her prayers, authentic Christian witness, and love for her husband and son ultimately triumphed.

Her prayers bore fruit in St Augustine, the Great Doctor of the Church

May her intercession and example inspire us to live authentic and sincere Christian lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfil what he had announced at Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood
By celebrating the Last Supper with His apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning.

Jesus’ passing over to His Father by His death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfils the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom. (CCC #1339-1340)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Aug 26, 2022: Friday

“Using every opportunity to receive God’s abundant favours!”

(Based on 1 Cor 1:17-25 and Mt 25:1-13 – Friday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

“Take time by the forelock” is a phrase that means ‘to act quickly and decisively” and “not let slip an opportunity”
(“Forelock” is the strand or cluster of hair, growing just above the forehead)

This phrase has an interesting origin…

A statue chiselled by Lysippus (one of the greatest sculptors of the Classical Greek Era in the 4th century BC) stood in one of the cities in Ancient Greece.

This statue…
… had wings
… a lock of hair on the forehead
… and was bald at the back of the head

Underneath this statue, was engraved the following conversation, in a question-answer format…
“Who made thee?”

“Lysippus made me.”

“What is thy name?”

“My name is Opportunity.”

“Why hast thou wings on thy feet?”

“That I may fly swiftly over the earth.”

“Why hast thou a forelock?”

“That men may seize me as I come.”

“Why art thou bald on the back of thy head?’?

“Because, when I am gone, none can lay hold of me.”

Opportunity is like this bald-headed man with only a patch of hair right in front.
One has to grab that hair, grasp the opportunity while it’s being confronted…
… else, one will be grasping a slick bald head!”

Is my Christian Life characterized by an enthusiastic response to the many opportunities for blessings that God offers me…?
… or do I ‘doze off’ in lethargy and laziness, letting away many wonderful opportunities and squandering many chances of God’s abundant favours?

The Gospel of the Day presents the Parable of the Ten Virgins, with a strong warning to “make use of every opportunity that life offers” and “to be ever-prepared” in receiving the coming of the Lord.

The parable of the Ten Virgins has its setting in a Jewish Wedding.

In the time of our Blessed Lord, the wedding was probably one of the greatest events in a typical Palestinian village or an Israeli town.

This was a time of great social celebration!
All got together…
… friends, relatives, villagers..

It was a time of great festivity, abounding happiness and overflowing celebrations.

The climax of the wedding festivity was when the bridegroom went to get his bride.

This was done in a grand procession through the village, so that all in the village could be part of this festivity.

The ten virgins (or bridesmaids) who are mentioned in the Gospel Passage, had the role of performing one of the acts of entertainment.

They would have to perform a wedding dance – “torch dance” around the bride and the groom, holding torches.
It would symbolize the light of their love, wishing them a luminous future.

Then the wedding party would go into the house, and the celebration would last for seven long days!

In the parable, it is mentioned that “since the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and
fell asleep” (Mt 25: 5)

It was only when the call that the Bridegroom had arrived was given, that five of the Virgins realized, that “they brought no oil with them” (Mt 25: 3)

It’s so ironical that the wedding which was such a well-prepared and a long-awaited event, had these five virgins who were so unprepared and so unequipped for the grand moment!

The story of these five virgins who were unprepared (whom our Blessed Lord calls as ‘foolish”) could well be our own stories too…

How often are we too unprepared and unequipped… missing out on opportunities….
… The Lord gives ample opportunities to get back our life on track, through various Biblical inspirations, talks, retreats, literatures etc.

… There are so many occasions that are provided for us to grow in our virtues, to learn deeper the mysteries of heaven and to illumine ourselves with holy knowledge

… We also get so many chances to build our relationship with one another, to grow in appreciation and praise of other and to discover and nurture the goodness in others

Do we make good use of all such opportunities or do we squander them away?

Let our Christian Life be characterized by an enthusiastic response to the many blessings that God offers me…
… and use every opportunity to receive God’s abundant favours!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of the Eucharist
St. John, for his part, reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the bread of life, come down from heaven. (CCC #1338)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 25, 2022: Thursday

“Making ourselves worthy and prepared, to allow the Lord to enter into our hearts and homes!”

(Based on 1 Cor 1:1-9 and Mt 24:42-51 – Thursday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Let’s get into some visual imagination to help today’s reflection process…

Imagine a Person comes into the room of your heart, this evening.
He is charming…
He is there with a purpose…
He is imposing with His charisma…

As this Fascinating Person approaches the door of your room, ready to step-in, some flash thoughts pass through your mind…

“The magazines and the books on my table…

Do I need to hide them or keep them away, so that He doesn’t feel shocked at the kind of materials I read?

The wallpaper on my laptop and mobile, and the pictures that are pasted in my room and stored in my phone…

Do I need to change them or dispose them off, so that He doesn’t realise the ‘visual food’ that is often fed to my mind?

The music that is blaring in my room, and to which I tap my feet…

Do I need to put it off and plunge the room into a silent mode, so that He doesn’t feel offended by the ‘audio junk’ that I dance to?

The websites that I browse through, the chats that I engage in and the jokes that I think of…

Do I need to forcefully shut-down my system or delete all the unnecessary files, so that He doesn’t come to know the ‘e-waste’ that I bombard my life with?”

Well, the time is too short…’cos He is fast approaching me!

Have I made a mess of my life…
… filling it with filth or unwanted aspects of life…?
… missing out on opportunities to do good or render service…?
… engaging in activities that are just not worth being exposed to…?

The Charismatic Person is all set to enter my room…
Have I made myself worthy and prepared, to allow Him to enter…?

Well, no prizes for guessing who this Mysterious Person is, that we are imagining about…
… Yes, JESUS – the Lord and Saviour, and the Judge who is coming into this world!

Is my heart ready to receive Him?

The Gospel of the Day is a powerful preaching by Jesus on the need to remain ready for His second coming.

Chapter 24 of the Gospel of St Matthew…
… begins with Jesus addressing His disciples on the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple(Mt 24: 1ff)
… and continues, with Jesus further explaining the forthcoming persecutions and calamities that were to befall

With this background, Jesus speaks of the need to be “watchful” at all times (Mt 24: 42) and explicates it, with the help of the Parable of the Unfaithful Servant (Mt 24: 45-51)

One of the important realities of human life is “unexpectedness”

“Unexpectedness” strikes at many turns of life…
… an unexpected sickness or disease which pushes people into the pit of anxiety and worry
… an unexpected misunderstanding which damages and crushes our relationship with one another
… an unexpected financial crisis which drowns individuals or families into the sea of hopelessness

This “unexpectedness” can also strike our spiritual life!

And this is the danger, that to which the Lord raises our attention towards, by means of the parable of the Unfaithful Servant.

In the parable, the servant was entrusted with the duties of the household, while his master was away.

But when the worm of wickedness crept into the mind of the servant, he said, “My Master is delayed” (Mt 24: 48)

This is very much possible and practically happening in many of our lives.

As Christians, our Blessed Lord, the Great Master has entrusted many responsibilities and duties, to us, His servants.

But often times, we tend to live in the comfort of telling ourselves that “My Master is delayed” or that “My Master is not watching me”

This feeling of the “Lord not being around me” makes us to somehow get into activities and engage in pastimes that are not worthy of our lives…
We let our moral lives be loosened..
We allow our prayer lives to be haywire…
We permit our sacramental life to be lethargic…
We enable our social life to be without the power of the Lord…

But the consequences of such “letting loose” can be disastrous, as the parable teaches us.

What is needed therefore….
… is a constant vigilance and a relentless perseverance in being faithful
… is an unfailing performance of our duties and being on the guard at all times

St Paul reminds us of the Faithfulness of the Lord, through his letter to the Church at Corinth: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord!” (1 Cor 1:9)

The Lord is knocking at the door of our hearts (Rev 3:20)

Is my life neat and clean enough to allow the Lord to enter in…?
… or do I need to make suitable alterations and necessary repentance so that the Lord may find me worthily waiting and He may dine with me?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end.
Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love.

In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; “thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament. (CCC #1337)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 24, 2022: Wednesday

“Letting go our life into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God, the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future!”

(Based on the Feast of St Bartholomew)

An elderly person sat under a mango tree in his garden in the noonday heat.

As he sat, he looked at the pumpkin vines that were growing nearby, and said to himself: “How foolish God is!

Here he puts a big heavy pumpkin on to a weak vine branch and so can’t do anything, but simply lie on the ground!

And then He hangs these small little mangoes on a huge tree which can actually hold very heavy objects!
If I were God, I think I could do better than that!”

Just then, a bit of breeze came up…
… and knocked a loose mango off the tree.

It fell right on the man’s head…
… causing a little bump on his head!

This made him sadder… but wiser, and he quipped:
“Oh! Suppose if that had been a pumpkin! Gosh!!”

And he went on to say:

“Never again will I try to plan the world for God.
Instead I shall be thankful to Him, for He has done so well…
… He knows what’s best for me, every time!”

The knowledge and wisdom of God is indeed incomprehensible…
… In His Wisdom, He has created all things good
… By His Knowledge, He has fashioned all things for the best use

Are we ready to let go our life into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God…
… the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future?

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Bartholomew…
… who experienced this great Knowledge and Wisdom of the Lord in his encounter with Jesus

And surrendered his life, to follow the Master, till the end – faithfully!

When we compare the Gospels, we notice something interesting…

Bartholomew is not mentioned in the Gospel of John – but Nathanael is!
Nathanael is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels (Mathew, Mark and Luke) – but Bartholomew is!

In the Gospel of John, Nathanael is mentioned in connection with Philip
In the Synoptic Gospels, Bartholomew is mentioned in connection with Philip

Thus, based on these aspects along with the ancient tradition of the Church, Bartholomew and Nathanael are identified as the same person.

The Gospel of the Day (Jn 1:45-51) on this Feast Day is the call of Nathanael from the Gospel of St John.

The Gospel says that when Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him:
“Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him” (Jn 1: 47)

On hearing this, Nathanael said to Jesus: “How do You know me?” (Jn 1: 48a)

This question – How do You know me?” – is indeed worth reflecting on.

From a peripheral look, we observe…
… This was probably the first time Jesus was meeting him, so Nathanael naturally was wondering how he was known.
… Nathanael also did not have a very high opinion regarding Nazareth, the place where Jesus came from and so would have wondered how a Person from there, knew him.

On a deeper level, we also observe…
… Nathanael was probably feeling within himself, “Does He really know who I am and what are the thoughts and desires of my heart?”
… He perhaps, was also wondering, “Would He also be knowing my past and perhaps even have an idea about my future?”

“How do You know me?” – the question by Nathanael to Jesus is a query asked by us too…
… perhaps in various forms..

“How do you know my past?”
Do you really know, O Lord, my past…
… the struggling times that I have gone through?
… the bad childhood, perhaps, or the disturbing experiences as I grew up in life?
… the hurts and the wounds and the injuries that I still carry in my heart and causes me pain?

“How do you know my present?”
Do you really know, O Lord, my present…
… the manner in which I am not accepted by others?
… the ways in which success evades me, despite the hard efforts I put in?
… the daily grinds of life to which I often have no solution and thus totally discouraged?

“How do you know my future?”
Do you really know, O Lord, my future…
… the anxieties of my unclear future and the fear of which direction I need to go ahead?
… the feeling of “I am lost” while taking decisions and unsure if I am walking the right path?
… the tension I go through on what will happen to me and my loved ones in the days to come?

But the Lord, Who answered Nathanael…
… had the knowledge of his past… his present… and his future

The Present: “Here IS a true Israelite. There IS no duplicity in him” (Jn 1:47)
The Past: “Before Philip called you, I SAW you under the fig tree” (Jn 1:48b)
The Future: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, you WILL see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (Jn 1:51)

Turning His gaze on each one of us…
… with tenderness and love, the Lord tells us:
“I know you, My Child!
I know your past…your present… and your future”

Psalm 139 very beautifully speaks of how…
… the Lord intimately knows us!
… the Lord is clearly aware of all our thoughts and movements!
… the Lord is very personally with us in every situation of our life!

This Lord, Who knows our everything – beyond the borders of time – invites us…
… to trust in Him more
… to be aware of His Providence guiding us always!
… to give ourselves entirely to Him in love and obedience!

Many times, we might feel things are not okay with us…
… we might even complain against God and have an attitude: “If I were God, I think I could do better than that!”

But those could be moments, when we are given a gentle reminder by the Lord…
… through perhaps, some difficulties or troubles in life…
Which ought to make us realize:
“Never again will I try to plan the world for God.
Instead I shall be thankful to Him, for He has done so well…
… He knows what’s best for me, every time!”

May St Bartholomew (Nathanael) intercede and inspire us:

To let go our life into the Hands of this Wise and Knowing God…
… the One who is aware of every moment of our life – our past, our present and our future!

Happy Feast Day to you!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks.
It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. “Will you also go away?”

The Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has “the words of eternal life” and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself. (CCC #1336)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 23, 2022: Tuesday

“Seeking to live authentically and sincerely, realizing always “that only is important, which is eternal!”

(Based on 2 Thess 2:1-3A, 14-17 and Mt 23:23-26 – Tuesday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)
In Milan, Italy stands a cathedral featuring a wonderful entrance, in which one has to pass through three doors, in succession.
Each of these doors has an arch, with an inscription.

Over the first door is carved a beautiful wreath of roses.
Underneath is written, “All that which pleases, is but for a moment”

Over the second door, is sculptured a cross.
Underneath is written, “All that which troubles, is but for a moment”

Over the third door – which is the great entrance to the main isle, is written:
“That only is important, which is eternal!”

Do thoughts of eternity, permeate us and cast its radical influence in our every belief and action?
… Or am I stuck to being busy with the affairs of external trifles and obsessed with being engaged in only the ‘peripherals’ of life?

Am I a person plagued with only the “external” fantasies of life…
… Or am I growing to be a person making the right ‘priorities’ in life and choosing to make choices for a hopeful eternity?

The Gospel of the Day presents our Blessed Lord lashing out at the Scribal and Pharisaic attitudes of “being obsessed with the mere unimportant aspects of life” and instead, invites us to “being interested in the real necessities and true essentials of life”

Jesus, in today’s Gospel passage makes a two-pronged attack on the religious leaders of His time:

  1. “… tithing mint and dill and cumin and neglecting the weightier matters of the law – justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23)

Mint was a garden herb which had a fragrant smell. It was used to sprinkle the floors of the houses and synagogues.
Dill, also known as Anise, was a plant used as a spice and in medicine
Cumin, was a plant with seeds that have a bitter warm taste and an aromatic flavour

The Jewish Law required that a “tenth of the produce of the earth” be given as tithe (Lev 27:30)

This ‘produce of the earth’ was generally considered only to be limited to the common grains and items like corn, oil, wine etc.

Tiny garden herbs were not considered part of it.

However, the religious leaders, in their over-zeal to keep the law, made it a point to include even the minutest herbs, in their ‘tithing custom’.

Unfortunately, this over-zeal for the “peripheral and externals” of the law, made them to completely neglect the more important requirements of the law…
… the fragrant ‘mint’ of “justice” was denied to those in need
… the spiced ‘dill’ of “mercy” was not offered to those suffering
… the aromatic ‘cumin’ of “faith” was not displayed in situations where it mattered most

Transient aspects of life had far-overtaken their priorities over the eternal truths required from life!

  1. “… cleansing the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside being full of extortion and rapacity” (Mt 23: 25)

The Jewish oral law gave rules and regulations with respect to washing and cleansing – of oneself and of the vessels used.

However, the religious leaders, in their “strict external observance” of the Law, completely missed in having also an internal purification…
… the washing of the ‘dirt’ on the outside failed to wash the ‘dirt’ of greed and avarice from their minds
… the cleaning of the ‘stains’ on the external were unable to cleanse the ‘stains’ of materialism and covetousness in their hearts

Transient aspects of life had far-overtaken their priorities over the eternal truths required from life!

And so the Lord charges them with “a vocabulary of strong condemnation” – ‘Hypocrites’ – in order to make them realize their mistake.

Theirs was a case of misplaced priorities of life

Theirs was a case of pursuance of wrong goals in life

Are we in the same boat as that of these Pharisees and Scribes?

Are we also people who invest a great deal on the “externals and peripherals of life”, but fail to give any priority or importance to the “true, real and eternal aspects of life?”

I may be a person who, perhaps, spends a lot of time on prayer, reading the Bible, engaging in devout activities etc.
…. But do these pious actions also make me to become a person of “humility, service and grow in genuine relationships with one another?”

I may be a person who likes to participate in Church Fests and engaging in a lot of works for the Church and even contributing materially much
…. But do these ‘great actions of charity’ also help me to grow in my love for the Lord, personally and also help me to reach out to the poor and needy, in their craving for love and acceptance?

I may be a person who treasures having the statues and relics of saints, garlanding holy statues and offering them flowers, collecting exquisite rosaries, medals and other religious articles etc
…. But do these ‘external objects’ help me to look deeper into myself so that I too may grow deeper in serving the Lord with a spirit of self-sacrifice and dependence on God?

The Lord does not object to any of our “external” actions of piety or devotions.

But He certainly challenges and indisputably impels us to ‘grow beyond the peripherals’ and to focus on the ‘weightier aspects of our faith in Him’

This ‘focus on the greater essentials’ will definitely…
… cause inconvenience in our comforts
… and challenge us to be humbler

It is, however, this “proper prioritizing” that our Blessed Lord demands of us!

Let us seek to live authentically and sincerely, realizing always…
… “That only is important, which is eternal!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist.
The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus’ glorification.

It makes manifest the fulfilment of the wedding feast in the Father’s kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ. (CCC #1335)