CELEBRATING CHRIST, THE WORD!


(A journey through Verses from the Bible – with practical applications – to Love Jesus & Live Jesus!)

DAY 01: GOD IS CALLING YOU!

BIBLE VERSE
(Lk 1:26) “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth”

CONTEXT OF THE BIBLE VERSE
The Angel Gabriel comes to Mary – seeking Her consent – to allow Heaven to dwell in Her Womb, and to become the instrument of giving birth to the Salvation of the World!

WHAT IS CHRIST SPEAKING TO ME THROUGH THIS BIBLE VERSE?

Am I ready to say Yes to the call of Jesus and “give a place for Heaven to dwell” in me?
Am I ready to be an instrument of “giving birth to Christ” in the situations of my life?

HOW CAN I CELEBRATE CHRIST, THIS CHRISTMAS?

Listen to the voice of Jesus, calling you to live in holiness – and say Yes to Him!
Pick one virtue you need to grow in – and “give birth to this Virtue” in the real life situation

LET’S PRAY
Lord Jesus – like Mamma Mary – help me to listen to Your Voice and to respond to Your call with a firm and joyful Yes, Amen!

Let us celebrate Christ, this Christmas, and live like Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

CELEBRATING CHRIST, THE WORD!

INTRODUCTION

The month of December is here.

The last month of the year, with its good news of festivities and joys.

Today, we enter into a journey – of 25 days – 25 Days of preparation for Christmas!

This journey is an invitation…
… to experience God’s continual Presence in our life – despite the struggles we face
… to see the Hand of God at every stage of our life – including our apparent failures and setbacks
… to renew our commitment to the Lord and His Kingdom – to imitate Christ in our life!

I welcome all of you to this exciting journey titled, “CELEBRATING CHRIST, THE WORD!” – a journey through Verses from the Bible – with practical applications – to Love Jesus & Live Jesus!

Venerable Fulton Sheen beautifully reminds us: “There are two births of Christ…
… one unto the world in Bethlehem
… the other in the soul, when it is spiritually reborn.

People think of the former much more than the later, and celebrate it every year…
… but the spiritual Bethlehem is equally momentous!

THIS… SECOND BETHLEHEM… [IS]… THE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP OF THE INDIVIDUAL HEART TO THE LORD CHRIST!”

Let us celebrate Christ, the Word, this Christmas, and live like Him!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Dec 01, 2022: Thursday

“Having the courage to walk the teachings of Christ in our day to day life!”

(Based on Is 26:1-6 and Mt 7:21, 24-27 – Thursday of the 1st Week in Advent)

A Christian who was converted from Judaism was sharing his testimony.

As he shared his views on various preachers whom he had met during the course of conversion, he made a comment:
“The sermons of some preachers used to be magnificent…
… but their life would be so inconsistent and incompatible to what they spoke from the pulpit!

This would make me think about these preachers in my mind in the following way:
‘When they were at the pulpit, I wished they would never leave it!

But when they were out of the pulpit, I wished they would never enter it again!”

That’s why, when I decided to become a Christian, I took a resolution:
‘My Halakah (Jewish term to describe one’s way of “walking”) should always follow my Haggadah (Jewish term to describe ‘the teaching”)!

What about us?

“Does our Halakah follow our Haggadah?”

Life judges us, on the basis of how well does our preaching and practicing co-ordinate & complement each other.

Life challenges us to bridge the gap between the two essentials of life – one’s talking and one’s walking the talk!

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to reflect on the words of Jesus:
“Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the Will of My Father, Who is in heaven” (Mt 7:21)

Our Christian Life is often an experience…
… where we find many professing the faith, but failing to practise!

How often does this situation arise in our own lives and situations too…
We pledge ourselves at trendy events, for the cause of the poor…but we fail to help…

Many other people remain quite unnoticed…but become forerunners for the cause of the poor!

We make a big show and be popular as a helpful person…but we fail in some genuine needs..

Many other people remain quite unnoticed…but are present with their full force to render help!

We make many resolutions on new year days or birthdays…but fail to materialize them…

Many other people remain quite unnoticed…but are able to make many amendments and changes!

We make many promises to the Lord during feast days or novena times…but fail to live up…

Many other people remain quite unnoticed… but render much love to the Lord through the year!

We all experience this “I will do”…
… but “I did not do” experiences in life.

Am I also part of this category of “Nominal” Christians?

On the personal Faith Level, this trend is seen more distinctly and vividly…

People claim themselves to be Catholics…
… but appear in church only on grand feast days!

People appreciate the Catholic teaching…
… but support moral laws which go directly against!

People assert having dedicated their lives to God…
… but fail to find time for God and prayer!

People declare loving God above all…
… but fail to reject pleasures which hurts and pains Him!

People profess and make vows to God…
… but neglect to even try to keep up those promises!

But the Lord clearly declares, on Who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven: “he does the Will of my Father“

Therefore, the proposition is clear:

It is not pompous words that will grant life, but carrying out the Will of the Father!
It is not fancy talk that will confer true happiness, but practising the Will of the Father!
It is not flowery language that will accord blessings, but fulfilling the Will of the Father!

How are we to observe the Will of the Father?

St. Paul explains how we should set about trying to do the Father’s will:
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 2:5)

Like Christ…
… when we dare to be merciful and compassionate, we can do the Father’s Will
… when we prioritize other’s interests over selfish ones, we can do the Father’s Will
… when we empty ourselves and became obedient, we can do the Father’s Will

It is not only good news “proclaimed” but good news “practiced”…
… that will win others to the glorious freedom of forgiveness of sins!

Let us examine sincerely in this Season of Advent…
… and wherever needed, amend our lives

Let us have the courage to take and practise the resolution:
‘My Halakah (one’s way of “walking”) should always follow my Haggadah (“the teaching”)

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF FORGIVENESS

The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church expresses the essential elements of this sacrament: the Father of mercies is the source of all forgiveness.
He effects the reconciliation of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit, through the prayer and ministry of the Church:
God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and the resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,

and I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (CCC #1449)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Nov 30, 2022: Wednesday

“Like St Andrew, may we too, become people who “Introduce many to Christ!”

(Based on the Feast of St Andrew, the Apostle)

“I command you for the last time…make your sacrifice to our gods” yelled Aegeas, the pagan judge.

“Certainly no!” was the reply back, “I sacrifice daily to The Almighty God, the one and true God.

Not the flesh of oxen and the blood of goats do I offer, but the unspotted Lamb upon the altar.

All the faithful partake of His flesh, yet the Lamb remains unharmed and living!”

Exceedingly angered by that adamant refusal, the judge commanded the rebel to be thrown into prison.

The supporters of the rebel, who stood outside the judging quarters, raised an uproar to free him.

But the one who was punished, personally calmed the mob, and earnestly pleaded with them to desist…
… as he was hastening towards an ardently desired crown of martyrdom.

When he was led to the place of martyrdom, on beholding the cross from far, he cried out:
“O Good Cross… so long desired and now set up for my longing soul, I confidently, with rejoicing come to you!

Exultingly receive me, a disciple of Him who hung on you.”

Within a few moments, he was tied to the cross – an X-shaped Cross!

For two days, he hung there, alive…
…. unceasingly proclaiming the Teachings of Christ, until he passed on to Him, whose likeness in death, he so ardently desired!

This brave martyr of Christ was St Andrew, the Apostle of Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today.

A few years back, this valiant martyr, St Andrew, had received the call of the Lord, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4: 19)

The name “Andrew” in Greek means “manly” or “a person of valour”.

St Andrew was from Bethsaida, in Galilee.

He was a fisherman, by trade and a former disciple of John the Baptist.

St Andrew is said to have been martyred at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the shape of an “X”.

This type of cross has long been known as “St Andrew’s cross.”
St Andrew’s Cross, is depicted, on the national flag of Scotland.

One of the wonderful things that we learn from St Andrew is his wonderful quality of being a “Introducer to Christ”, as seen in the various instances of the Gospel

It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, his brother Peter (Jn 1: 40-42)
“We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to his brother

It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, the little boy with the five loaves and two fish, which would be later, multiplied for five thousand men! (Jn 6: 5-13)
“There is a little boy, who has five barley loaves and two fish?” (Jn 6:9) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to the little boy

It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ” the Greeks who had come up to worship at the feast, at the request of Philip (Jn 12: 20-23)
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12: 23) were the words with which Jesus reacted when he was introduced to the Greeks.

Thus, we see that St Andrew became an instrument and an active medium of “Introducing to Christ”
many people.

As a Christian, this ought to be one great quality and duty that we ought to follow – “Introducing to Christ” many people, like St Andrew.

We are on the last day of the month of November, and as we enter into December…
… this can be one of the beautiful practical resolutions, that we can, do, all the 25 days of this Advent Season, in preparation for the Birth of Christ, into our hearts and life

“Introducing to Christ”

How can I take up this task of “Introducing to Christ”?

Many around us long to hear a word of encouragement in their brokenness, receive a word of consolation in their struggles and encounter a smile of hope in their helplessness

Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His love, to His message of hope, to His treasury of providence?

Many around us have immersed themselves into the murky waters of sin, immorality, injustice and insensitivity to people and nature

Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His ocean of mercy, to His fountain of justice and to His abundance of warmth?

Many around us have separated themselves and live in isolation – from people in relationships, from the Church and Her teachings, from the responsibilities and duties of their works and the society.

Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His dimension of wholeness in relations, to His Life-giving Sacraments and to His instruction of being faithful?

St Andrew heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

He was touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master

He was zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus
He was even willing, to lay down his life, in imitation of his Master, for love of Him

We too, have heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”

Are we touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master?

Are we zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus?
Are we also, willing, to lay down our life, in imitation of our Master, for love of Him?

May St Andrew intercede for us and inspire us, by his tremendous love for the Master…
… And may we too, like him, become people who “Introduce many to Christ!”

Happy Feast of St Andrew, the zealous Apostle who “Introduced many to Christ!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF FORGIVENESS

Beneath the changes in discipline and celebration that this sacrament has undergone over the centuries, the same fundamental structure is to be discerned.
It comprises two equally essential elements: on the one hand, the acts of the man who undergoes conversion through the action of the Holy Spirit: namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction; on the other, God’s action through the intervention of the Church.
The Church, who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him.

Thus the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion. (CCC #1448)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Nov 29, 2022: Tuesday

“Singing with joy, even when the clouds of hardships pour down its rains!”

(Based on Is 11:1-10 and Lk 10:21-24 – Tuesday of the 1st Week in Advent, Year 1)

A lady, who was known to be a devout Christian, was undergoing a long time of suffering.

As she was visited by some of her friends who came to console here, she was heard to be commenting:
“I have a beautiful robin that sings outside my window.

This bird strengthens me.”

Then with a bigger smile, she continued:
“I like him, because he sings in the rain!
When the storm has silenced almost, all other birds…
… the robin sings on!
And that’s how my life is!”

The lady – who herself was suffering and going through the storms of life – found great inspiration in the robin…
… the one which sings, even in any storm or rain!

That’s the life of a Christian!

Anyone can sing, when its sunshine…
… but when the clouds of hardships pour out the rain, can we sing?

The Gospel of the Day, presents Jesus Who is rejoicing in the Spirit…
… “In the same hour, Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank you Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth..’” (Lk 10: 21)

Jesus always displayed a great sense of joy and enthusiasm

He was a picture of calmness and serenity.

This was owing to His intimate relationship with His Father – His Abba!

He, of course, had His Own struggles…
… Rejection by His own people at Nazareth (Lk 4: 28-29)
… Very often facing the criticism of the people (Lk 5:30)
… Constantly being put under the scanner with questions (Lk 5:33)
… Facing the wrath of many religious leaders (Lk 6: 7, 11)

But none of these “storms” or “rains” prevented the Lord from singing the praises of His Father…
… and rejoicing in the Spirit

And He invites His disciples to also understand the great privilege they have received to experience the Love of the Father:
“Blessed are the eyes which see what you see…” (Lk 10: 23)

As followers of Jesus, we are also given the privilege to always be “people, who rejoice in the Spirit”…
… “people who can sing, even when it’s raining or in the midst of a storm!”

Are we often spending our days in sadness and complaint?

Or can we also become conscious of the many blessings, God showers on us… and thus rejoice!

Are we constantly looking for the negatives in our relationships?

Or can we also seek to treasure people, just for who they are, and begin to love them more!

Are we feeling that life is a burden and thus fail to have peace of mind and lightness of heart?

Or can we also begin to understand that as a Christian, we have the privilege to understand how God mightily works in our life, and is constantly showering His Love and Mercy on us!

Let us learn to imitate, Jesus, our Master, Who constantly “rejoiced in the Spirit”
… and thus make our Christian Life, a beautiful witness of God’s Love and Compassion.

Let’s listen to the words of St Mother Teresa of Kolkatta:
“Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls!”

Yes…
Anyone can sing, when its sunshine…
… but can we still sing when the clouds of hardships pours down it’s rains?

As we continue to nourish our spiritual lives in this Season of Advent, let us make a conscious choice to rise above our depressive and anxiety-filled situations…
… and to make our lives, a truly joyful one!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF FORGIVENESS

Over the centuries, the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably.
During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation.
To this “order of penitents” (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime.
During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the “private” practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church.
From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest.
This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament.
It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration.

In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day. (CCC #1447)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Nov 28, 2022: Monday

“Glorifying God – with deep faith and trust – wherever we live, work and move about!”

(Based on Is 4:2-6 and Mt 8:5-11 – Monday of the 1st Week in Advent, Year 1)

A young man – new in town – was visiting a nearby church.

As he looked at the various art works, paintings and statues…
… his eyes chanced upon a stained-glass window.

The glass had a phrase written on it: “Glory to God in the Highest.”

However, the man also noticed…
… the part of the glass window that had the letter “E” in the word HIGHEST was broken and so missing.

Thus the phrase read instead: “Glory to God in the High st!”

When he saw that phrase, something greatly stuck him…
… High St was the name of the place where he was living – High Street!

And he nurtured this feeling within him:
“This is a clear message from the Lord to me, as I come to this new town

I need to Give Glory to God in the HIGH ST…
… the place where I am living – HIGH STREET – is where the Name of God needs to be glorified!”

The man realized that the way to Glorify God would be to Glorify Him in the place where he was…
… Glorify God – with Deep Faith and Trust – wherever we live, work and move about!

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful account of a man who “Glorified God – with Deep Faith and Trust – by translation his faith into living and concrete action …
… and Jesus expressing His admiration for the person of Faith!

As we enter into the Season of Advent, we are presented with the incident of the healing of the Centurion’s servant.

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

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

  1. The Centurion was an unusual person…
    As the name suggests, a Centurion was a person with a hundred soldiers.

They worked for the Roman Empire and were Gentiles.

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

This was rare indeed.

In the Roman Empire, slaves had no rights.

They could be mistreated and even put to death.

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

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

  1. The centurion showed an unusual faith…
    The Centurion came to Jesus asking and pleading for help.
    But when Jesus said that He would come to his house and heal him, the centurion was quick to answer him, “I am not worthy to have you under my roof” (Mt 8:8)

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

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

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

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

And so a word was enough for the healing to take place…
An expression of approval was good enough for the miracle to happen…

  1. The Centurion received an unusual response
    This tremendous expression of faith was enough for Jesus to admire and appreciate Him.
    Jesus was astonished by this wonderful demonstration of confidence and belief: “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel, have I found such faith” (Mt 8: 10)

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

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

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

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

In a situation…
… when we are surrounded by sicknesses of negativity and discouragement,
… when life-threatening moments of crushing-failures and despair encircle us,
… when we get depressed by the various day to day problems of life,

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

As a famous saying goes, “It is easy to praise the Lord…
… But it really is a challenge to receive praises from the Lord!”

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

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

Let us realize that that the way to glorify god would be to glorify Him in the place where we are and in the situation we are in…
… Glorify God – with deep faith and trust – wherever we live, work and move about!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF FORGIVENESS

Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin…
… and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion.
It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification.

>> The Fathers of the Church present the Sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace” (CCC #1446)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – November 27, 2022: Sunday

“Making this Advent a time of true preparation with repentance, and with growth in holiness!”

(Based on Is 2:1-5, Rom 13:11-14 and Mt 24:37-44 – 1st Sunday of Advent, Cycle A)

A story is narrated of a group of students who were taken around
different places in a village.

They came upon an orange orchard,
where an irrigation pump had broken down.

The climate was unusually dry and many of the trees were
beginning to dry and die, for lack of water.

The man who was guiding the tour – himself a farmer – then took
the students to his own orchard.

The students were surprised to see the green trees in this
particular fruit garden.

To know the reason, one of the students enquired the guide:
“How is it that trees in your orchard are so fresh and green; you
are not even using irrigation!

Whereas, most of the trees in this vicinity are dying!”

“These trees could go without rain, even for another two weeks!”
answered the guide…
… “You see, when these trees were young, I frequently and
systematically, kept them away from water for some time.

This hardship, caused them to send their roots, deeper into
the soil, in search of moisture.

Now my trees are the deepest-rooted trees in this area!

While others are being scorched by the sun…
… mine are finding moisture at great depth
And thus, they remain fresh and green!”

The early schooling in hardship…
… helped the trees to find strength in difficult times

And thus remained fresh and green!

Christian Life calls for a life of endurance in faith

It is this endurance that will help one to remain ever faithful,
ever alert and ever ready in the service of the Lord.

The Gospel is a call to avoid all complacency and lethargy…
… and to be ever fresh and green in our faith, so as to be always
ready for the Advent of the Lord!

We begin today – on this First Sunday of Advent – with a new
Liturgical Year.

A Liturgical Year begins on the First Sunday of
Advent and ends on the Solemnity of Christ the King.  

Each year is made up of six seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent,
the Sacred Paschal Triduum, Easter and Ordinary Time.

St Augustine teaches us that “the perfection of religion is to
imitate the One Whom we adore!”

The Liturgical Year is a beautiful journey into the mysteries
of Christ with emphasis on the fundamental truth that Jesus has redeemed us by His Passion, Death and Resurrection
… it is from this truth, that love flows – and in turn, we are
empowered and encouraged to imitate Christ! 

The Season of Advent is presented to the faithful as a time of
waiting, conversion and of hope!

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church guides us, “When
the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes
present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah…
… the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming.
(Cf. CCC, #524)

We are reminded that Christ comes to us…
… in History – as we celebrate His Birth at Bethlehem
… in Mystery – as we celebrate His Presence in the Sacraments,
prayer and our daily life
… in Majesty – as we prepare ourselves – in hope – for His Glorious
Second Coming!

At the start of this new Liturgical Year and as we commence our
preparation for Christmas, we are presented with (interestingly)
a Gospel passage that speaks about the end of the world!

We are very strongly exhorted about the need to be ever ready
and prepared for the coming of the Lord…
… and to avoid every tendency to be complacent and lethargic!

An impactful reminder given by Jesus is about the days of Noah:
“As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of
man… they did not know until the flood came and swept them
all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.” (Cf. Mt 24:37,
39)

While Noah was patiently building the ark and warning people
of the impending judgment, they laughed, “It will never happen.”

Very similarly, we too live in an age where there is much casualness,
lethargy and indifference concerning matters of spiritual life!

There is often a lot of disdain towards a life of holiness!

As Christians – as followers of Christ – we need to be alert,
enthusiastic and enduring in our faith and pursuit of
holiness.

Faithfulness, ought to become the hallmark of our lives!
Endurance in works of love, ought to become our lifestyle!
Readiness to be ever focussed on being holy, ought to be our
goal!

As we enter into this hallowed time of preparation for the Coming
of Christ, let us be alert to live a life of endurance in faith…
… knowing that it is this endurance that will help us to remain
ever faithful, ever alert and ever ready in the service of the Lord!

Let these days of Advent truly become days of preparation – not
just externally with decorations, sweets and festivities…
… but much more with repentance, and with growth in holiness!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
RECONCILIATION WITH THE CHURCH

The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God…
… whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his.

Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God (CCC # 1445)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – November 26, 2022: Saturday

“Being spirited and passionate people for God and His Kingdom!”

(Based on Rev 22:1-7 and Lk 21:34-36 – Saturday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

All of us have had the experience of utilizing certain things or products which work quite fine for some time….but as time passes, becomes less effective or less efficient.

A ceiling fan/ table fan, after few months or years, tends to be less forceful…
A fast-processing computer after few months of years, tends to slow down…
Colourful clothes after a few washes or usage, tends to lose their initial glean and shine…

This is called as “Dissipation”.

A similar aspect could be visible in our spiritual lives as well!

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder to examine this aspect in our lives…
… and to make amends, in order to revitalise and revive our lives.

The Gospel begins with the verse “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation…” (Lk 21:34)

Dissipation is strong word which could have several parallel understandings…

With respect to morality:

Dissipation refers to an overindulgence in sensual pleasures.

With respect to behaviour:

Dissipation refers to a conduct that shows one is interested only in pleasure, money, etc.

With respect to economics:

Dissipation refers to an act of using all or a lot of money, time, etc., in a foolish way.

With respect to physics:

Dissipation refers to a physical process by which energy becomes not only unavailable but irrecoverable in any form.

Dissipation is a tendency…
… to squander away enthusiasm because of allowing monotony to creep into life.
… to lose vitality as a result of being indulged in continuous immoral behaviours
… to leak-out the energy and vigour in oneself, in small amounts and thus become lifeless
… to become disinterested and dispirited due to constant exposure to luxury and comforts

Dissipation is a terrible malady that has badly affected many people in the Bible…

The people during Noah’s time were dissipated with eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, although God had sent out a warning of their destruction through Noah.

The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were dissipated with extremely immoral and corrupt practices, even though the people were given a forewarning of their possible.

The people of Israel were dissipated with frustration and dissatisfaction while travelling in the desert and failed to understand the providential hand of God.

The disciples of Jesus were dissipated with sadness, shattering of hopes and brokenness after the death of Jesus and failed to believe and trust in His great promises.

We have a call to examine our lives and check whether we too have fallen into a state of “dissipation”…

Maybe my prayer life is “dissipated” due to various distractions, excuses of lack of time, complaints of being tired or just simply a lack of interest…

Maybe my personal intimacy with God is “dissipated” since I don’t experience any joyful or experiential feelings or because some of my expectations of God are not met…

Maybe my relationships with people is “dissipated” due to some friction or misunderstanding or an indifference that has sneaked in without any particular reason.

Maybe my family/community life is “dissipated” because I feel disinterested or not so enthusiastic in going beyond some of my personal comforts or I feel lonely in not feeling accepted or loved.

Dissipation can be a tendency that can steal into our lives very stealthily and can drain away much of our energy, eagerness and passion.

In the book of Revelations, the Lord has this complaint, “…I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent and do the works you did at first” (Rev 2:4-5)

Let us seek to renew our initial fervour and zeal.

Let us challenge ourselves to revive our zest and interest.

The Lord deserves not “dissipated” people, but “spirited” and “passionate” people!

Today we are concluding this Liturgical Year…
… and stepping into the New Liturgical Year – with ‘Year A’ Readings on Sundays and ‘Cycle 1’ for the Weekdays

This Liturgical Year has taken us through various phases in our life of faith…
… with the Readings constantly reminding us that, that “God is with us!”

Let us thank the Lord for this Liturgical Year – for all His Blessings, Graces, Protection…
… and as we start a New Year in our Life – Liturgically – let us surrender ourselves totally to the Providence of our Loving Lord, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother
… as we continually give heed to the words of our Lord, “And behold, I am coming soon!” (Rev 22:7)

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
RECONCILIATION WITH THE CHURCH

In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church.
This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

“The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head. (CCC # 1444)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Nov 25, 2022: Friday

“Seeking to win the Christian test of Endurance by throwing ourselves into the Enduring Power of God’s Word!”

(Based on Rev 20:1-4,11-21:2 and Lk 21:29-33 – Friday of the Last Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

“Endurance” is the name of an American reality television program.

Contestants of Endurance live in a remote location and participate in various mental and physical challenges.

The outcome of the competitions determines which players are eliminated.

The winners receive an all-expenses paid vacation package to an exotic location as the prize.

Christian Life is also a test of Endurance!

Unlike a reality show, it is real life…

There are various mental, spiritual, emotional and physical challenges

Unlike an-all expenses paid vacation package as a prize…
… the Christian test of Endurance rewards Eternal Life.

Are we ready to rise to the challenge of this Christian Life of Endurance?

In this life of bravery and dare, we have the strength of an Enduring Factor – God’s Word!
“Heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will endure forever” (Lk 21: 33)

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation to being committed to the Christian Life of Endurance by trusting always in the Enduring Word of God!

Words have immense power and potential.
They can cut
They can hurt
They can heal
They can build
They can make
They can break
They can crush
They can console

And God’s Word has ultimate control and infinite power.

God’s Promises through His words are forever.

This is clearly manifested when we travel through the pages of the Bible…

Abraham was called to a distant and unknown land.

He was promised descendants as many as the stars of the sky and the sand on the shore.

But nothing worthwhile seemed to be happening…
… God’s word seemed barren and infertile.

Yet, the enduring faith and the enduring trust of Abraham prevailed at the opportune time…

God’s Word came to fulfilment and great completion

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

Moses was called to become the liberator of a nation.

He was promised complete guidance and absolute direction from God.

But often during the journey of liberation, Moses had to face the ire of the people.
… God’s word seemed empty and betraying.

Yet, the enduring conviction and the enduring confidence of Moses got him through…

God’s Word displayed great glory and a mighty witness.

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

Job was blessed with immense comforts and vast riches.

He was however permitted to be tested by Satan and lost much of his security and wellbeing.

Hopelessness and wrenching despair seemed to be his best companion…
… God’s Word seemed to be abandoning and deserting him.

Yet, the enduring tenacity and the enduring perseverance of Job prevailed to the end…

God’s Word showered him with great and marvellous riches.

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

What is my faith, trust and hope in God’s Word?

In moments of life-crushing events and soul-hurting situations…

Do I endure and trust in the enduring and eternal power of God’s Word?

In times when the asteroids of bad luck crash against the surface of my life…

Do I endure and remain firm in the enduring and everlasting strength of God’s Word?

In times when my family, community and my world gets reduced to total splinters…

Do I endure and be positive in the enduring and emphatic might of God’s Word?

The Lord has promised each one of us, immense blessings and graces through His Word.

At times…
… there are delays in the fulfilment of God’s Word, as in the case of Abraham
… there are frustrations in the following of God’s Word, as in the case of Moses
… there are misunderstandings in the listening of God’s Word, as in the case of Job

But the Lord invites us to remain Faithful, Trusting and Patient!

Let us seek to win the Christian test of Endurance by throwing ourselves into the Enduring Power of God’s Word!

Yes, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but His words will endure forever”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
RECONCILIATION WITH THE CHURCH

During his public life Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: he reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them.

A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at his table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God’s forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God. (CCC #1443)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Nov 24, 2022: Thursday

“Trusting in the Power of the Lord, knowing for sure that He will never let us fall down!”

(Based on Rev 18:1-2, 21-23, 19:1-3 and Lk 21:20-28 – Thursday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A simple but effective test that is often used in psychological group-dynamics is called as the “Trust Fall” Exercise.

(N.B.: We can try doing this exercise with our friends…
… of course, with care and caution!)

The test comprises of two people – one standing in front of the other.

The task consists in the one who is standing in front…
… gently falling back, with both the feet – without bending – held firm on the ground
… while the partner at the back, supports the person – preventing from falling.

Initially, the partner “who is falling”, finds it extremely difficult to fall back…
… for fear of falling down.
(There is fear writ all over the face…
… there is a sense of panic, that is experienced deep within!)

But as they repeat this exercise…
… the trust level increases
… the confidence factor grows

And the person feels, at ease, to fall back, without any fear!

(There is a sense of positive feeling…
… trust and reliance is built up gradually!)

This “Trust Fall” is an group -dynamics exercise to grow in the aspect of trusting one another and believing in each other’s capacity.

Such a “Trust Fall” happens with our God as well, isn’t it?

When we go through struggles and problems of life…
… we often fall back!

If we don’t trust Him enough, we are afraid that we will fall down!
But, if we trust in His power, we are sure that the He will never let us fall down!

The Lord, through the Gospel of the Day, invites us, with strong vibes of positive feelings, “… stand erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand” (Lk 21: 28)

The Gospel of the day is a continuation of the talks on the coming of the Son of Man.

Jesus reminds his disciples of the many signs and terrors that will be manifest in the world and persecutions that will befall on His followers.

He invites His disciples to remain firm in perseverance and faithful commitment.

The Gospel of the Day brings out a clear contradiction in the stance and approach of the “people of the world” and “people who trust in Him”…

Lk 21: 26, “…people will die of fright…” (“people of the world”)
Lk 21: 28,”…stand erect and raise your heads…” (“people who trust in Him”)

Dying of fright and collapsing is a sign of absolute despair and hopelessness.

When someone is in great tension, his/her physical structure reflects it…
… one tends to stoop low
… one tends to put down one’s head…

The worry in the mind makes the face a sorry affair!

The tension in one’s life robs the spirit of joy in living!
Faces turn pale…smiles go wry… body starts sagging!

But the Lord of the Universe today strongly exhorts us to not remain stooped-down

He challenges us to “stand erect and raise our heads…”

The Lord makes people to stand on their feet as a sign of feeling protected and strong…

The boy possessed by a demon was “held by the hand, raised up and made to stand” by Jesus (Mk 9:27)
Jesus held the hand of the daughter of Jairus and “helped her to stand” (Mk 5:41)
Peter and John took up the crippled beggar at the Temple gate “by the hand and raised him up…and he leaped up, stood and walk around…walking and jumping” and praising God (Acts 3: 7-8)

The Lord loves to help people to stand erect and hold heads high in firm faith and trust in Him.

Is my life today shattered and collapsed?

Am I unable to stand firmly in faith and in trust?

When difficulties and problems arise in life…

Do I stoop down and get fixated on the worries…
… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in confidence of the Providence of God?

When calamities and unsolvable crises hits my family or community life…

Do we stoop down and get lost in despair….
… or do We “stand erect and raise up our heads” in hope of the Power the Lord?

When hopes get shattered and the future appears very blurred…

Do I stoop down and get stuck in hopelessness and desolation…
… or do I “stand erect and raise up my head” in deep faith in the Guiding Hand of the Lord?

Some of us live with much negativity and pessimism…

Life most of the time appears to be dark and depressing and dismal!

But the Lord today asks us to live our lives with more positivity and optimism

Life is in fact much more bright and beautiful and brilliant!

The “Trust Fall” is an exercise, that we go through continually in our life of Faith!

When we go through struggles and problems of life…

If we don’t trust God enough, we lose heart…
… and we are afraid that we will fall down!

But, if we trust in His power, we can stand firm…
… and we are sure that the Lord will never let us fall down!

Are we ready to have the “Trust Fall” Exercise with the Lord?

Be assured… He will hold you firm!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION

Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood.
But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the “ministry of reconciliation.”

The apostle is sent out “on behalf of Christ” with “God making his appeal” through him and pleading: “Be reconciled to God.” (CCC #1442)