✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Oct 01, 2022: Saturday

“Being inspired by St Therese of Child Jesus – the Li’l Big Saint – to love deeper the Big Big God of Love!”

(Based on Job 42:1-3, 5-6, 12-17 and Lk 10:17-24 – Saturday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2 – Feast of St Therese of Child Jesus)

“Yes, I have discovered my vocation! In the heart of the Church, I will be love”

  • From the “Story of a Soul” – the Autobiography of the Little Flower

These words of great joy and exhilaration exhibit the essence of a Grand Discovery.
A Young Person had discovered her grand vocation!

The Church had discovered a grand saint!

Grand was the life that was lived.

Grand still more were the graces that followed…

A grand saint enshrined in a quiet life but adorned with much love and affection…

A saint who inspires many…
A saint who is loved by many…
A saint who induces much joy…
… St Theresa of Child Jesus – popularly known as the Little Flower of Liseux.

We live in an age that relishes and appreciates insights related to growth, maturity, accountability and responsibility.

There is a love to hear “high” theology….
There is a craze to talk “systematic” thoughts…
There is an interest to discuss “complex” spiritualties…

Not that these are bad or not to be promoted…but these “mature” talks ought not to take one away from the basic aim of true spirituality: Love God and Loving Neighbour!

There is a tendency that these “advanced” talks get jammed with only peripheral talks…
… and fail to translate into true action & deeds.

It is here, that our Little Saint of the Day – St Therese of Child Jesus (popularly known as the “Little Flower’) invites us to find a new freshness and sparkle in Spirituality.

She is the Little Saint who dared to love the Big God!
She is the Big Saint who presents to us the Little Way!

This Little Way of the Big Li’l Saint resonates with the Gospel of the Day (Lk 10:17-24) when Jesus invites and declares that…
….”I give You praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth… you have revealed them to the childlike” (Lk 10: 21a)’

For a child, everything is big!

The toys that one plays…
The food that one eats…
The houses that one sees…

Even the ones who take care… and especially, the ones closes to the child – probably, the parents – are very big too!

They mean everything to the child.
They signify the ultimate for the Child.

This is the child-likeness to which ‘The Little Flower’ grew.

Her child-likeness had God as the Centre of her world…

God meant everything for this Little Saint.
God signified the ultimate for this Little Saint!

She saw herself as ‘a child’ but energized by God who directed her journey in faith.
Her child-likeness does not promote childishness or immaturity or passivity.

Her child-likeness, instead encourages deeper trust and maturity and enthusiasm.

This spirituality of the Little Way sounds too simple….and too little…

But in fact and in practice, is a highly challenging one!
This is the spirituality of ‘child-likeness’: To have at the Centre and as the Ultimate, the One who can provide everything – God!

Is God the centre of my world…
… when I get drunk with a sinful and immoral life?
… when I get over dependant on my material riches?
… when I bank upon my own wisdom in my works?
… when I insist on doing my will, over the Will of God?

Little Therese of Child Jesus, the Little Saint is also the Big Saint of Love!

After a period of great inner trial and turmoil, she discovered her vocation to be love!

All her actions were laced with love.
All her words were filled with love.

The Little lover of God invites us…
…. to adorn all our words with love
… to embrace all our actions with love
… to beautify all our thoughts with love…

It could be…
… speaking with friends
…interacting with fellow workers
…discussing some business matters
… enjoying with family members..

It could be…
… doing household works
… handling massive finances
… studying various subjects
… performing some spiritual activities

It could be…
… thinking some philosophical views
… reflecting about some people
… considering about some situations
… imagining some circumstances
… dreaming some visions

Whatever be our words..or actions…or thoughts….let them be embellished in LOVE!

The Little Way… Sounds simple, but not so simple in practise, right?

Yet, there is much simplicity…
… ‘cos God remains at the centre of every effort and attempt!

There is much sentimentality, no doubt.

There is much simplicity, no doubt.

But with or without all those feelings, the Little Way simply tells us to have God at the Centre of Everything…and do all in Love!

Love demands a fidelity in the countless mundane ‘little’ things of daily life

The Little Way doesn’t eliminate Heroism, rather it’s brought within the reach of the poor.

The rains of love showers every aspect of ordinary everyday life.

The Little Flower dares to throw “petals” at the Loving Lord…

These petals are even considered “worthless petals” by the world – a little sacrifice, a gentle smile, a kind word, an appreciative action!

Sometimes, these “worthless petals” are nothing more than a faithful effort.

But this fact of “having tried”, a good will “to do good”…. all these petals please the Lord!

Let us join the Little Saint to tread the Little Way.

She promised to “shower roses” on the way to those who dare…

As we enter into the new month of October – the month of the Holy Rosary – as a child, let us hold the hands of Mamma Mary…
… and be inspired by St Therese – the Li’l Big Saint – to love deeper the Big Big God of Love!

Let us “live Love to give Love!”!

Let us “live Jesus to give Jesus!”

Happy Feast of the Beautiful Little Flower!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit

The mode of Christ’s presence under the Eucharistic species is unique.
It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.”
In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.”

“This presence is called ‘real’ – by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be ‘real’ too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present! (CCC #1374)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 30, 2022: Friday

“Using the Gift of God’s Grace to gain life, blessings and happiness!”

(Based on Job 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5 and Lk 10:13-16 – Friday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2 – Founder’s Day of the MSFS Congregation)

The year 1821.

The Parish of Le Chatelard, in the Archdiocese of Chambery.

Two fervent and austere priests, spent a week in praying, preaching and inviting people for a Mission Service.

But the parishioners remained indifferent.
There was an air of unwelcome apathy.

The people misused the freedom of salvation that was offered to them.

The two priests, however, had to make a choice: Of either continuing preaching or of “shaking off the dust!”

The priests – who were hopeful, zealous and committed – set out, in imitation of Jesus, their Master, to the foot of the mountains to pray for the conversion of people.

“They have gone to pray & fast for your conversion” was the reply the curious parishioners received on enquiry of their whereabouts.

Grace worked…
Intercession proved powerful!

The two saintly priests were called back by the people…
… and the mission in the Parish resumed with much deep fervour and enthusiasm!

One of the two missionaries was Fr Peter Marie Mermier
(the other was his missions companion, Fr Joseph Favre)

Fr Peter Marie Mermier is the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS)…
… known as the Fransalians!

This daring founder – a dynamic missionary – had many incidents in his life, which made him to experience the power and presence of the Spirit in the missions.

As it is said, “Problems love to haunt missionaries, but Providence lures them to depend on Him, for healing!”

“When the world says, “Give up”, hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time!’”

Yes, nothing can shake a Missionary who is firmly grounded on Jesus, the Rock and has eyes gazed on the Jesus, the Crucified!

Today – on the Founder’s Day of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS) – the death anniversary of the Venerable Servant of God, Fr Peter Marie Mermier (Sep 30, 1862)…
… the Gospel of the day is a call to use every opportunity that is provided by the Lord – before judgement is pronounced on us!

The Gospel speaks about how the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were given the freedom and the choice to become part of the Kingdom of God…
… but they chose to reject and refused the Saving Message.

And Jesus has harsh words reserved for such kind of an attitude – “WOE TO YOU!“

The word “woe” in Greek is “oh-hoo-aai” or “ouvai!”

The figure of speech is onomatopoeia – it means what it sounds like.

It is a word of pain!
It is the sound someone makes when they are hurt or are grieved.

When the Lord proclaims a WOE over these cities, there’s a great deal of anguish amplified with a sense of pain.

The Lord was pained that these cities received wonderful opportunity to hear God’s saving message…
… but failed to turn to God in repentance.

The Lord was pained that these cities received great chances to see God’s miraculous deeds and wonders…
… but failed to turn to God in penance.

The Lord was pained that these cities received exclusive occasions to receive God’s salvific graces…
… but failed to turn to God in humility.

The Lord today challenges us to make an examination of our lives:
God lavishes many graces on me through regular chances to hear God’s word through the Bible, retreats, recollections, talks, spiritual magazines etc…

Am I using these chances to grow in my spiritual life?
… or am I wasting away many of such chances?

Is freedom used?

Or misused?

God showers many opportunities for me to avoid sin…
…. by giving me inspiring and holy thoughts
… by a constant urging to be good through my parents, superiors, family and community members and other people in my life…

Am I using these opportunities to foster my holiness?
… or am I frittering away much of such opportunities?

Is freedom used…?
… or misused?

God bestows many occasions to become a powerful witness to His love and His Gospel through different means like…
… preaching the Word
… celebrating or participating in the Eucharist and in the other Sacraments
… helping others in their needs and difficulties, praying for various people
… living a integral life in the society based on the Gospel values etc.

Am I using these occasions to strengthen my Christian life?
… or am I throwing away many of such occasions?

Is freedom used…?
… or Misused?

The example of the three cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum is before us and the condemnation of Jesus, because of their lacklustre response is also before us.

Freedom is the great gift of God…
… and God totally respects the use or the misuse of this precious gift.

Are we going to use this Gift to gain life, blessings and happiness…?
… or are we going to misuse this Gift to receive death, curses and sadness?

Today we specially seek the intercession of St Jerome
(St Jerome who was very well-versed in Scripture, is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin – the translation that became known as the Vulgate – and his commentaries on the Scriptures.

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” are the famous words of exhortation of St Jerome, the doctor of the Church)

May his words, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best”
… be an inspiration for all of us!”

When we experience people who misuse freedom…
… let us remember that “nothing can shake a missionary who is firmly grounded on Jesus, the Rock and has eyes gazed on the Jesus, the Crucified” and always cry out, “I want missions!”

Let us also be inspired by the words of Ven. Fr Peter Marie Mermier
“The most virtuous (people) avoid sin and great faults…
… but they are careless in the practice of virtue.”

“It is not enough to avoid evil but it is necessary to do good
… The love of God is efficacious.
There is nothing as strong and as active as love. It is a devouring fire!”

And with respect to prayer…
“The ministry of a priest without prayer, is a barren ministry, without any effect, even harmful; it is a ministry of death!
… instead of enlightening, it blinds;
… instead of healing, it kills!
But the ministry of the one who prays, is a ministry of life!”

Happy Founder’s Day to all the FRANSALIANS – Missionaries of St Francis de Sales (MSFS)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit

“Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church: in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,” in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. >> But “He is present… most especially in the Eucharistic species.” (CCC #1373)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 29, 2022: Thursday

“Seeking the help of the Archangels in our spiritual life and orienting our lives more towards heaven!”

(Based on the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael – Archangels)

An elderly parish priest was walking in the portico of the Church, when he came across a couple of young boys.

They were standing in front of the mighty statue of St Michael.

As they stood admiring the majestic figure, the younger one said to his elder brother, “Hey look, what a might sword!

This is the sword, which Mummy told, with which this great saint would thrust into the devil isn’t it?”

The elder one nodded and exclaimed, “Yeah! And see how triumphantly he crushes the head of Satan! Wow!”

Seeing their excitement, the priest approached them and commended, “How wonderful to see these little boys who are well taught in the teachings of the Church!

Blessed is this family!”

The story goes on to say that the priest took them in the Church and taught them the beautiful prayer to St Michael (which he asked them to recite after the Holy Mass):
“St. Michael the Archangel, Defend us in this day of battle!
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

May God rebuke him we humbly pray,
And do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
By the Power of God, Cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits
Who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls, Amen!”

Today, the Feast of the Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael- is a reminder by the Church to learn more about our Catholic Faith and to grow in celebrating and living this faith, in our daily living.

Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels. (cf. Eph 1:21, Col 1:16)

In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.

The Feast of the Three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael is an opportunity to learn more about them and to grow in deeper devotion and fondness for them.

  1. St. Michael
    The name of the archangel Michael means, in Hebrew, “Who is like unto God?”

St Michael is known as “the prince of the heavenly host.”

He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armour, crushing the head of Satan.
He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist”

St Michael makes an appearance in the Bible on four occasions:

In Dan 10:13 and in Dan 12:1, he appears as the special guardian of the people of Israel.
In Jude 9, he appears in a dispute with the Devil.
In Rev 12:7-9, he fights against Satan and his evil forces.

What does St Michael teach us?
… St Michael teaches us to depend on the power of God in our battle against the forces of Satan
… St Michael teaches us to guard ourselves against the disguises and snares of evil forces.
… St Michael teaches us to become a guard and protector of our fellow brothers and sisters.

  1. St Gabriel
    The name of the archangel Gabriel means, in Hebrew, “God is my strength”

St Gabriel is known as a “messenger of God”

He is usually pictured announcing something and sometimes with a lily or a sceptre.
He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Baptism”

St Gabriel makes an appearance three times in the Bible:

In Dan 8:15–26 and 9:21–27, he appears to Daniel to explain his visions
In Lk 1:11-38, he appears to Zechariah and Mary to deliver the good news from God

What does St Gabriel teach us?
… St Gabriel invites us to listen to God’s voice and inspirations through various sources.
… St Gabriel invites us to find courage in situations of fear, by trusting in God’s Providence.
… St Gabriel invites us to be open to surprises and wonders the Lord works in our lives.

  1. St Raphael
    The name of the archangel Raphael means, in Hebrew, “God has healed?”

St Raphael is known as “a wonderful helper and fellow traveller”

He is usually pictured walking with a young boy, sometimes carrying a staff.
He is also known as the “Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Reconciliation”

St Raphael makes many appearance in the Book of Tobit in the Bible:

St Raphael appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of Tobias, the son of Tobit.

What does St Raphael teach us?
… St Raphael inspires us to discover God as the healing balm in our afflictions and hardships.
… St Raphael inspires us to walk boldly with God in all the terrains and valleys and paths of life.
… St Raphael inspires us to trust in God in seemingly hopeless and impossible hurdles of life.

Modern trends often seek to downplay some of the traditional Catholic beliefs…
… the belief in the Angels, being one of them, perhaps!

But, this Feast is a great reminder for us to be reminded that the Catholic Teachings (like the teaching on Angels) are…
… Scripturally rooted
… Traditionally verified
… Logically reasonable
… and spiritually nourishing!

May this Feast of the three Archangels – St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael – help us to grow in our love for our heavenly friends…
… and orient our lives more towards heaven!

The Lord wants us to grow in holiness.
The Lord wants us to be protected in His care.
The Lord wants to be fearless in being His beloved Child.

May the Archangels help us in this our journey of life.

Happy Feast of the Heavenly Protectors!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

St. Augustine admirably summed up this doctrine that moves us to an ever more complete participation in our Redeemer’s sacrifice which we celebrate in the Eucharist:
This wholly redeemed city, the assembly and society of the saints, is offered to God as a universal sacrifice by the high priest who in the form of a slave went so far as to offer himself for us in his Passion, to make us the Body of so great a head
Such is the sacrifice of Christians: “we who are many are one Body in Christ”

The Church continues to reproduce this sacrifice in the sacrament of the altar so well-known to believers wherein it is evident to them that in what she offers she herself is offered. (CCC #1372)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 28, 2022: Wednesday

“Following the Lord more sincerely and more passionately!”

(Based on Job 9:1-12, 14-16 and Lk 9:57-62 – Wednesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

An very elderly priest was celebrating his platinum jubilee of his priestly ordination.

The 90-year old priest, during the felicitation program was asked:
“You have lived such an inspiring priestly life.
What advice would you like to give to the younger generation of Christians and especially priests?”

With a feeble yet firm voice, the nonagenarian replied:
“Just a simple formula…
Look to Jesus! Listen to Jesus! Learn of Jesus!”

What a lovely piece of advice, isn’t it?

Looking to Jesus…
Listening to Jesus…
Learning of Jesus….
… are simple yet effective means to follow the Lord, with deeper commitment and zeal.

The Gospel of the Day is this call of the Lord to follow Him more closely…
… and to introspect our motivations and motives in being a Christian

The Gospel passage presents three people who seek to follow the Lord.

These three, present before us…
… three aspects of hurdles/barriers in following the Lord.

These are:

  1. Comforts
  2. Convenience
  3. Distractions
  4. A “comfortable style” of following the Lord

The first person comes up to Jesus and says: “I will follow you wherever you go” (Lk 9: 57)

But Jesus reminds him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest His Head” (Lk 9: 58a)

This man had probably heard or seen the Lord…
… as a mighty miracle-worker
… as a popular preacher
… as a laudable leader

These were “comforts” that would be assured in following Jesus

And so perhaps, the man chose this “comfortable style of following the Lord!”

But the Lord prohibits from seeking Him for the sake of comforts alone!

  1. A “convenient style” of following the Lord

The second person is asked by the Lord to “Follow” Him (Lk 9: 59b)

But he replies, “Let me first go and bury my father” (Lk 9: 59b)

“Bury my father” was a Jewish (Arabic) way of saying….
… one must stay in one’s house till the death of the father and settle the inheritance of the property.

The man was yielding into to conveniences in following the Lord…
… “when I am convenient in my family, I will follow You”
… “when I am convenient in my personal life, I will follow You”

  1. A “distractive style” of following the Lord

The third person said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my home” (Lk 9:61)

But Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plough and looks to what is left behind, is fit for the Kingdom of God” (Lk 9: 62)

This person had the goodwill to follow Jesus…
… but was distracted in his motivation.

We need to introspect our motivations and motives in being a Christian…

Is my following of the Lord of a “comfortable style”…
… looking for only the comforts of prosperity and material riches…?
… being close to the Lord only in times of comfort…?

Is my following of the Lord of a “convenient style”…
… seeking to be with the Lord only when I “feel like”
… adjusting my relationship with God as per my needs and conveniences

Is my following of the Lord of a “distractive style”…
… easily straying away from the path with worldly attractions
… failing to do the Will of God owing to distractive habits and tendencies

The Lord longs to have us following Him…
… more sincerely and more passionately!

May we always….
… Look to Jesus!
… Listen to Jesus!
… Learn of Jesus!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who “have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,” so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ:
Put this body anywhere! Don’t trouble yourselves about it! I simply ask you to remember me at the Lord’s altar wherever you are.
Then, we pray [in the anaphora] for the holy fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep, and in general for all who have fallen asleep before us, in the belief that it is a great benefit to the souls on whose behalf the supplication is offered, while the holy and tremendous Victim is present

By offering to God our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, if they have sinned, we offer Christ sacrificed for the sins of all, and so render favourable, for them and for us, the God who loves man. (CCC #1371)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 27, 2022: Tuesday

“Seeking to be followers of the Zealous and Passionate Lord and being determined to have our every decision, in the spiritual realm, to be actually materialised!”

(Based on Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23 and Lk 9:51-56 – Tuesday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A classic riddle, known to most of us, goes thus….

There were 5 frogs sitting on a fence, at the edge of the river.
3 of them, decided to jump.
How many are left on the fence?

Well, the answer (without any twists or catch…) is simple…
… 5

Why 5?

Simply, because, of the 5 frogs, the 3 of them only DECIDED to jump!
It is not mentioned whether they actually jumped!

Every decision need not have to be actually materialised!

It is not necessary that every decision is really actualised!

This aspect is very true and often found in our lives, isn’t it?

Many of us at the start of the New Year, would have “decided” many resolutions…
… How many of us are fulfilling them? (Hopefully, some of us, at least remember what they were!)

At the end of a good retreat, perhaps many of us “decided” to cultivate some good spiritual practices…
… How many of are able to still say that, “yes, I am faithfully following them?”

Having made a meaningful confession, we would have “decided” to part ways with some sinful habits…
… How many of us are zealously resistant in yielding to those former ways?

We constantly find ourselves, at a loss in translating…
… our decisions into practise
… our determinations into realistic actions.

This is where, we need to look up to our Blessed Lord, Who not just “decided and was determined”…
… but also lived them – with zeal and passion!

The Gospel of the Day is this crucial moment in the life of Jesus, as described in the Gospel of Luke…
… when “he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Lk 9: 51)

Jerusalem is an important dimension in the theology of the Gospel of St Luke.

All the events in the life of Jesus are oriented towards this city – the city of His ancestor David

The whole Gospel begins and ends in Jerusalem…
… begins in the Jerusalem Temple (Zechariah meeting Angel – Lk 1: 5ff)
… ends in the Jerusalem Temple (Apostles continually in the Temple – Lk 24:53)

The infancy story of Jesus in the Gospel, also begins and ends in Jerusalem…
… begins in the Jerusalem Temple (Zechariah meeting Angel – Lk 1: 5ff)
… ends with Joseph and Mary finding Jesus in the Temple ( Lk 2:42-52)

The Temptations of Jesus in this Gospel (unlike in St Matthew) ends in Jerusalem (Lk 4: 9-13)

The whole public ministry of Jesus, in this Gospel, is a “journey towards Jerusalem”…
… culminating in His passion, death and resurrection!

Why is ‘Jerusalem’ so central to St Luke?

One of the reasons, was because, this Gospel was primarily written for the Gentile Christians (non-Jews).

(Historically, it was a time of persecution, with the Jerusalem Temple being destroyed)

Jerusalem was the centre of the Jewish religion!

God had promised many blessings to the Jewish nation.
But now, even the centre of the religion – Jerusalem – had been under persecution!

What message where the Gentile Christians drawing from this “unfortunate” incident of Jerusalem being captured?

Has God forgotten His promises to the people of Israel?
Were the people of Israel abandoned by the Lord Yahweh?

It is in this context, that St Luke places “Jerusalem” at the centre of his message.
And tells the people…
… that God has not abandoned His people
… that God’s ways though not understood, are always for our good!

And thus, we see Jesus marching, with “determination and decisiveness” towards Jerusalem!
His “determination and decisiveness” was not merely in words…
… instead, was lived out with zeal and passion!

The message of the Gospel is powerful and vivid before us….
Just like the city of “Jerusalem”, we may often find ourselves to feel…
… that my life is full of suffering and struggles
… that my life has no future or is hopeless
… that I am abandoned by everyone, even perhaps by God, in my difficult moments

But the Lord, invites and challenges us, to move…
… with “determination and decisiveness” towards this “Jerusalem” of our life!

Jesus did not shy away from the hard way of life…
… and He expects, all of us, His followers to also imitate Him!

It’s easy to take decisions….
… but we need to translate them into concrete expressions!

Let us seek to be followers of the Zealous and Passionate Lord….
… and be determined to have our every decision, in the spiritual realm, to be actually materialised!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice.

In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ. (CCC #1370)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Sep 26, 2022: Monday

“Firmly trusting and relaxing in the arms of our Caring and Loving Heavenly Father!”

(Based on Job 1:6-12 and Lk 9:46-50 – Monday of the 26th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A little boy once came to his Daddy, one night.

He confessed a mistake that he had done during the course of the day.

Then kneeling at Daddy’s feet, the child, with hands folded, prayed with tears:
“Dear God, make me a man – like Daddy – wise and strong.
I know You can!”

This innocent gesture touched the father very much.
He had a profound realisation of his deep limitations and the child’s high expectations

Then when the child had slept, the father knelt beside his bed.

Confessing his sins, and praying with a low-bowed head, made this prayer:
“O God, make me a child – like my sweet child here – pure, guileless, trusting in You with a faith sincere.
I know You can!”

We all grow up in life – physically, socially, psychologically etc…

But sometimes this “growing up” fails to preserve the “growth” that is already witnessed in little children – openness, sincerity, trust and spontaneity.

Can we dare, as adults, to “grow” into being a Child?

The Gospel of the Day is an elegant presentation by Jesus on the “necessary attitude” that is required for a valid entry into the Kingdom of Heaven: a child-like nature.

Jesus says, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (Lk 9: 47)

In the Gospel of Mathew, we read, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 18: 3)

One of the grave dangers in the process of “growing- up” is the tendency to lose our “natural child-like” traits.

A child is someone who is born with many inherent qualities.

But in the process of “becoming an adult,” we abandon many of those.

This ‘abandonment’ could be because…
… of the upbringing in the society or the culture we live
… or the various experiences that we go through as we grow up

As a child, we would be free to express our emotions
… but as we grow up, we tend to hold them up all within (only to burst out one day!)

As a child, we would trust and depend easily on those who care for us
.. but as we grow up, we become fearful or disbelieving towards those same persons

As a child, we would be eased to live in the present moment, enjoying and relaxing
… but as we grow up, we fall into the trap of the past and cringed with the fear of the future.

The Lord invites us to have a “renewal of our minds” and to retrieve back the ‘lost’ child-like faith and trust.

It takes courage and dare to make efforts to let go of our “matured egoistic” tendencies in order to depend more on our Heavenly Father.

The process usually is encountered by resistance…

Why should I depend on someone…
… I am mature enough to think for myself

Why should I become humble…
… I have my own desires to be satisfied to

These could be some of the thought-patterns that one stumbles into, in giving heed to the call of the Lord to “be like a child”.

Our Lord Himself is the greatest model and example in learning to have a “child-like” faith…

St Paul tells in his letter to the Philippians, ” … though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, a thing to be grasped.
Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8)

A child-like faith also prompts to place one’s trust totally in the Lord, knowing that He is the Source and End of all…
… as beautifully displayed by Job, during his great ordeal, when he exclaimed: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return;
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

May we be privileged to be graced with the gift of being “like children”…
… and thus be able to firmly trust and relax in the arms of our Caring and Loving Heavenly Father
… and live a life of humility and trust!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

The whole Church is united with the offering and intercession of Christ.
Since he has the ministry of Peter in the Church, the Pope is associated with every celebration of the Eucharist, wherein he is named as the sign and servant of the unity of the universal Church.
The bishop of the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest presides…
… the bishop’s name is mentioned to signify his presidency over the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the assistance of deacons.
The community intercedes also for all ministers who, for it and with it, offer the Eucharistic sacrifice:
“Let only that Eucharist be regarded as legitimate, which is celebrated under [the presidency of] the bishop or him to whom he has entrusted it.”
Through the ministry of priests, the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator…
… which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests’ hands in the name of the whole Church

… in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord himself comes. (CCC #1369)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 25, 2022: Sunday

“Seeking to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!”

(Based on Amos 6:1a, 4-7, 1 Tim 6:11-16 and Lk 16:19-31 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

Schindler’s List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama film, which received 7 Oscar awards.

This movie is based on the true story of a Catholic businessman, Oskar Schindler, who lived in Poland during the 2nd World War.

After a life of initial notoriety, in which he made a lot of money, by betraying his own people, Schindler, later realized the horrors of the Nazi rule.

He began to use his wealth and influence…
… to save Jews from the holocaust.

By the end of the war, he was reduced to having very little money
But in the process, had managed to save hundreds of Jews from being killed.

The last scene of the movie depicts, Schindler being thanked by the people whom he had saved.

But suddenly, Schindler began to weep!

Looking around at the people who were rescued, he exclaimed: “I could have done so much more!”

Holding up his gold watch, he moaned, “This could have bought someone’s freedom!”

He wished that he could have started sooner in helping people so that many more could have been rescued!

His self-centeredness had caused failure in saving many more people!

It was an agonizing experience of the negative effects of “indifference in life” and the “sin of omission!”

We need to examine our life and check:

Am I a person who misses out on doing the good we can?
Do I fail to reach out to the needy, even though I am able?
Has self-centredness become a way of life for me?

The Gospel of the Day is a powerful message to look deeper into these aspects of our life…
… and seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!

The parable of the rich man “who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day,” and of Lazarus, “full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores” (Cf. Lk 16:19-21)
… is a remarkable story that challenges us to get out of our “zones of comfort and indifference!”

The ways of the world constantly allure us…
… to be “clothed in purple and fine linen” (Lk 16:19) and to be self-centred: An attitude of just going about with our business and not considering other’s needs
… to be “feasting sumptuously” (Lk 16:19) and to look to only one’s own comforts and needs: An attitude of not caring about others, when I have my own cares to be attended to!
… to be neglecting “a poor man, lying at the gate” (Lk 16:20) and to avoid the cry of the needy: An attitude of wilfully rejecting the ones who extend their hands for help and assistance!

But the Christian way of life is a challenge to this “rich man’s style of living”

There can be no excuse given to us…
… if we miss out on doing the good we can!
… if we fail to reach out to the needy, even though we are able!
… if self-centeredness has become a way of life for us!

Time is short, and our life is limited!

Prophet Amos, in the First Reading, very powerfully warns and reminds all those who are complacent and lethargic: “Woe to the complacent in Zion!

Lying upon beds of ivory…
… stretched comfortably on their couches
… they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!” (Amos 6:1a)

And as St Paul exhorts, let us always pursue righteousness and holiness of life:
“But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called…
… when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Tim 6:11-12)

Let us begin today, with no further delay…
To do the good we can…
… in the best way we can!
… to all the people we are able!
… in every situation that is possible!

So that we would not have to regretfully say “I could have done so much more!”

Let our lives be totally offered to the Lord, Who alone is the source of every Goodness and Mercy.

Let us seek to be more other-centred and heaven-oriented!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church.
The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head.
With Him, she herself is offered whole and entire.
She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men.
In the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body.
The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value.
Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with His offering.
In the catacombs, the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position.

Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through Him, with Him, and in Him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men. (CCC #1368)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Sep 24, 2022: Saturday

“Asking the Grace to remain ever faithful to the Lord and be loyal to His Love and His Kingdom!”

(Based on Eccles 11:9-12:8 and Lk 9:43-45 – Saturday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

“Julius Caesar” is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare.

It is one of several plays written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history.

The life of Julius Caesar engrossingly proceeds with placing a great trust in his best friend Brutus.
Brutus, though his closest and most trusted friend, was albeit a misled man.

Therefore, among the conspirators who finally assassinated the Roman leader on March 15, 44 was Brutus as well.

Caesar had not only trusted him, but also favoured Brutus as his own son.

Roman history tells that Caesar had first resisted the onslaught of his assassins.

But when he saw his beloved Brutus among them, with his dagger draw, the Roman Emperor ceased to struggle and withdraw every attempt of resistance.

He pulled the top part of his robe over the face and asked the infamous question, “Et tu, Brute?”
(You too, Brutus?)

… A question which cuts across the marrows of the bones and the pierces the depths of the heart, to express disgust and contempt of the deadly human vice of betrayal!
… A question which cuts across civilizations and generations, to show forth the abhorrence and the detestation of the wicked trait of disloyalty!

The Gospel of the Day presents a mighty warning by Jesus on the danger of we becoming betrayers to Him and His Love!

Jesus tells His disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands!” (Lk 9: 44)

Jesus gives a forewarning to His disciples on the sword of betrayal that would be his painful lot.

This betrayal had to be faced on different levels..
… an act of betrayal through a kiss by Judas Iscariot
… acts of denial by Peter, His close disciple
… acts of abandonment by His other disciples
… acts of rejection by the chief priests and elders
… acts of passivity by the people for whom He had served

Today our Lord poses the same question: Am I betraying Him in my acts and deeds?

Is the Lord, calling us by name, asking us, “Et tu,_ ? “You too, ?”

Do I betray the Lord…
… by failing to avoid occasions of sin and constantly moving away from doing His Will?
… with my words of unpleasantness, judgmental nature and destructively critical?
… by being unkind, unforgiving and harbouring grudge by my actions?
… by causing harm to others and being insincere in my works?

Let us ask the Grace to remain ever faithful to the Lord and be loyal to His Love and His Kingdom.

As St Philip Neri, let us also pray:
“Watch me, O Lord, this day; for, abandoned to myself, I shall surely betray thee.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The Victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.”

“In this Divine Sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.” (CCC #1367)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 23, 2022: Friday

“Turning towards the Lord – the Sun of our life – and walking, with joy, looking to Him, and radiating His Love!”

(Based on Eccles 3:1-11 and Lk 9:18-22 – Friday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Nature teaches and inspires us!

One of the beautiful lessons we learn from nature is from one of the most amazing flowers – The Sunflower!

The Sunflowers literally ‘follows the sun!’
(Technically, it is called “heliotropism” i.e. ‘sun turning’)

They turn to the sun, following it all day…
… from its rising in the east to its setting in the west!

It is even found that on a cloudy day…
… if any glimpse of the sun appears, the sunflower finds and follows it!

The sunflower is a beautiful symbol of our spiritual journey…
… of how, we need to constantly ‘look to the Lord’, the Sun of our Life!
… of how, we need to always ‘follow the Lord’, the Sun of our existence!

This “looking to the Lord” and “following the Lord” finds its practical expression…
… in a life of prayer!

The Gospel of the Day presents before us with St Luke’s version of the familiar passage, of Jesus asking His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”…
… beginning with “Jesus praying in solitude…” (Lk 9:18)

The Gospel of Luke is also known as the Gospel of Prayer.
He highlights the aspect of Jesus spending time in prayer….

At the time of His Baptism, Jesus prays (Lk 3:21)
At the time after a ministry of healing, Jesus goes to pray (Lk 5:16)
At the choosing of the Twelve, Jesus spends the night in prayer (Lk 6:12)
At the time of the Transfiguration on the mountain, Jesus was praying (Lk 9:28)
At the request of His disciples, Jesus teaches them the ideal and the model prayer (Lk 11:1)
At the garden of Gethsemane, before being led to His passion and sufferings, Jesus prayed (Lk 22:41)
At the final breath, in the agony and pain of His imminent death on the Cross, Jesus makes a prayer (Lk 23:46)

The ‘Praying Master’ through the ‘Gospel of Prayer’ exhorts us to some crucial and practical aspects of our life:

Do I spend special time in prayer…
… before important and critical times and decisions of our life?

Do I enjoy spending time in prayer…
… and seeking to grow in my relationship with God, our Father?

Do I cling to God in intense and deep prayer…
… in our time of suffering and pains?

Do I make prayer a way of life and rhythmic…
… with every moment of my day?

It is only when we build a strong rock-solid foundation of prayer that we can be bold in witnessing our faith!

The world may have varied responses to the question, “Who do people say that I am?”

Many saw only the zeal and fiery exhortations on repentance…
… and identified Him with John the Baptist
Many saw only His mighty acts and deeds…
… and considered Him as Elijah
Many saw only His authoritative power in preaching…
… and considered Him a Prophet
But they failed to see Jesus truly as the One He really was – The SON OF GOD!

It is only when we are in prayer that we can know the Lord more… and deeper!

The deeper understanding of Jesus can be experienced only through our moments of prayer.

How is our life of prayer?
… Personal
… In the Family/Community

Personally, we must make it a point to spend at least sometime, daily, in prayer

As a family/community also, we must make a priority, daily, to come together in the presence of the Lord!

Personally, we will have a lot of activities and feelings to keep us away; but we must still be faithful to our time of prayer

As a family/community also, there would come many things to give us excuses; but we must still be insistent on having our time of prayer together!

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us of the need to be aware that there is a “time for everything in life”…
… and invites all of us to find the beauty of life, by knowing the mind of the Lord deeper: “He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end!” (Eccles 3:11)

This discover of the beauty of life is augmented by a life of prayer!

Today we also seek the intercession of St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina and be inspired by his words:

“Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God.”
“Let us glance at the Divine Master who prayed in the Garden and we will discover the true ladder which unites the earth to Heaven…
… We will discover that humility, contrition and prayer make the distance between man and God disappear, and act in such a way that God descends to man, and man ascends to God, so that they end up understanding, loving and possessing one another.”

The Lord encounters each one of us today personally and puts forward the question,
“Who do YOU say that I am?”

Let us, “like the sunflower, that follows every movement of the sun”…
… turn towards the Lord and walk, with joy, looking to Him, and radiating His Love!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:
[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer Himself to God the Father by His death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption.
But because His priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when He was betrayed,” [He wanted] to leave to His beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands)…
… by which the bloody sacrifice which He was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world

… and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit (CCC #1366)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Sep 22, 2022: Thursday

“Radiating the Mighty Presence of Jesus in our lives!”

(Based on Eccles 1:2-11 and Lk 9:7-9 – Thursday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Fred Bock was one of the most renowned, recognized and respected Christian music composers, arrange, studio musician, organist, pianist, choral director and music publisher.

One of his famous write-ups (read and known to many of us) titled “One Solitary Life” goes thus…
“Born in an obscure village, He was the child of a peasant woman.
He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty years old, and then for three years He travelled around the county…
… stopping long enough to talk and to listen to people, and help where He could.

He never wrote a book
He never had a hit record
He never went to college
He never ran for public office
He never had a family or owned a house.
He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but Himself.

But when He was only thirty-three years old, the tide of public opinion turned against Him, and His friends rejected Him.

When He was arrested, very few wanted anything to do with Him.
After the trial, He was executed by the state along with admitted thieves.
Only because a generous friend offered his own cemetery plot was there any place to bury Him.

This all happened nineteen centuries ago, and yet today HE is the leading figure of the human race, and the ultimate example of Love.

Now it is no exaggeration to say that all the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever set sail, all the rulers that have ever ruled, all the kings that have ever reigned on this earth…
… all put together have not affected the life of man on earth like One Solitary Life!”

Undoubtedly, we know on whom is this write- up on…… Jesus, of Nazareth!

A Man who was hidden in the shadows of ignorance…
… yet enjoys the title of being the Most Famous Person in the World!
A Man who sought fame from His works…
… yet enjoys the privilege of being the Most Impressive Person in the World!

Do we know Him?
Do we REALLY know Him?
… or do we, like King Herod, in the Gospel of the Day, end up asking, ” Who then is this about Whom I hear such things?” (Lk 9:9)

When we scan through the pages of the Gospel of St Luke from Chapters 4-9, we find that Jesus was acquiring new heights of fame, popularity and public acclaim.

His words and teachings were…
… ringing in the bells of transformation
… challenging the integrity of the religious leaders and civil authorities
… providing a cushion of hope and encouragement to the lost and the marginalised

His acts of wonders and powers were…
… instilling excitement in the lives of people
… causing the people to have reminiscences of the great prophets of old

As a result the people began to discuss and to say, “John has been raised from the dead; Elijah has appeared; one of the ancient prophets has arisen” (Lk 9:8)

Such rumours, reports and recounts caused a lot of worry for King Herod.

The flames of anxiety were scorching his mind…
The waves of guilt were drowning his heart…

And therefore, with a highly guilty conscience, in fear and trembling, King Herod puts forward his theory on the Dilemma of this Mysterious Divine Person, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about Whom I hear such things?” (Lk 9:9)

The enigmatic personality of Jesus was casting clouds of fear and guilt over King Herod!

The charismatic work of our Blessed Lord was plunging King Herod into the ocean of haunting and forgettable memories!

Yet, King Herod failed to establish a relationship with our Blessed Lord.

His mind failed to move beyond the realms of wonder and amazement, to wanting a bonding with the Messiah!
His heart failed to cut across the barriers of doubts and anxiety, to forge a yearning to receive a touch of the Saviour!

Is our life also sadly moving along the same lines, as that of King Herod…?

Is our life of sin and our life of not wanting to take the risk of trusting Him, just like King Herod, causing us to miss out on cherishing a relationship with our Blessed Lord?

To King Herod….
… Jesus only remained a mysterious and stupefying character
… Jesus only remained a person who disturbed his conscience

King Herod was unable to…
… accept Jesus as His Saviour
… accept Jesus as the Lord of his life

We also have surely heard a lot about this wonderful Divine Person named Jesus.
… But has He been able to capture our minds and hearts and do we co-operate with Him to be possessed by His love?

We also have had ample opportunities to grow in our spiritual life and to be receiving a number of teachings on His Divine Word
… But has the Word of God truly become the rule and the guiding principle of our life?

It’s nice to be attracted to the power of God…
… to praise His wonders
… to be amazed at His awesome deeds.

But it’s just not enough to remain at this peripheral level.

Our Blessed Lord came…
… not to simply amaze, but to attend to our sins and failures
… not to simply charm, but to challenge our lethargic lives

He wishes that we truly embrace Him…
… as the Lord of our lives
… as our Personal Saviour and Master

Jesus who lived a “Solitary Life” has made a great impact on the world

May our personal life also give testimony to this fact…
… and let us truly radiate the Mighty Presence of Jesus in our lives!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

Because it is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice.
The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which is given for you” and “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.”

In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (CCC #1365)