Sep 19 (Lk 7:36-50)

All of us have been school kids…

And as students, one of the most dreaded…avoided…boring…(or for the really good students…one of the most exciting…scoring…loved) topics in class was Grammar!

Grammar plays a vital function in every language! >> And in grammar, Tenses play a key role…

Does the word, “Tenses” bring some tension on our face??!

Well, we are not to reflect on any boring (or exciting…either way we consider) lesson on Grammar!

But for our surprise…

… the Gospel of the Day, presents to us Jesus, the teacher!

And He is out to teach us …well, you guessed it right… Grammar!

Welcome to the Class on Grammar…by the renowned Teacher, Jesus…

The class today is in a different setting…

>> It is taking place in a house, around a dinner table!

The participants in this session are many…

>> But the attention remains focused on three persons:

1. Simon, the Pharisee

Unlike other Pharisees, this man is much more open to receive Jesus into his home.

We don’t know whether he was a die-hard fan of Jesus…but he certainly seemed not so opposed to Him!

How do we describe him?

Social Person….Diplomatic…Polished…Willing to be open…?

2. Jesus, the Guest

The Lord seems to enjoy food…!

>> But more than food, He very certainly enjoys and values the people, He eats with!

He was happy to be a guest to Simon, the Pharisee…

… He would have been happy to sup with the class of people who were highly critical of His ways of teaching!

How do we describe Jesus?

>> Friendly… Welcoming… Open-hearted…Compassionate…Gentle…?

3. The Sinner Woman

She was a prostitute lady, who lived selling her body to men.

She was a victim of the people’s duplicity & discrimination – misused as a source of pleasure yet despised & categorized as the scum of the society!

She however, feels privileged to have been able to come near Jesus, in whom she places her hope of receiving true acceptance and genuine love.

How do we describe her?   Penitent…Sorrowful…Hopeful…Courageous…Loving…?

The story is familiar to us…

Simon hosts the dinner for Jesus…

>> Meanwhile, the sinner woman approaches the Lord, and showers her love and affection.

The host Simon, gets irked by this gesture…

… and scandalized by his guest allowing her to do so!

What was Simon’s problem?

He thought he was better than the prostitute. 

>> He thought he was more righteous than the lady who sold her body!

>> He thought he was far more worthy than the woman who had no moral groundings!

And this is where, the Master Teacher…steps in….and teaches The Grammar of Life –  changing Tenses!

Simon said, “She IS a sinner.” … in the present tense!

Jesus replied, “No, she WAS a sinner.”…in the past tense!

Jesus changed the tenses in her life.

People considered her to be woman with loose morals…

>> Jesus considers her to be a woman of deep love!

People thought of her as a dirty and shameless creature…

>> Jesus thinks of her as a beautiful and precious child of God!

How often do we fall into this grave mistake of mixing up “tenses” in the lives of people…

There is a Simon, perhaps, in all of us!

A person WOULD have been known for some misdeeds…

… but we think he/she WILL always remain to be so!

A person WOULD have committed some grave faults…

… but we think he/she WILL continue to persist in them!

A person WOULD have done some wrongs in the past…

… but we think he/she WILL be always fixated in that!

A person WOULD have displayed some bad habits…

… but we think he/she WILL always have to be condemned!

We need to learn from the Master Teacher, that God can change the “tenses” in the life of people.

>> We need to be hopeful from the Master Teacher, that God can change the “tenses” in our own lives.

At the end of the incident, the Master Teacher blesses the sinner lady, again, in a grammatical style…

Jesus says to the sinner lady,

“Your SINS are forgiven”… The PAST is purified!

“Your faith has SAVED you”…the PRESENT is strengthened!

“GO in peace”…the FUTURE is blessed!

Simon deserves our empathy… perhaps, most of us also, would have reacted in a similar way, if we were to be in his place…

Imagine having the presence of a famous prostitute barging in during some family occasion!

We too would have been very scandalized…we too would have been ashamed….we too would have felt offended!

But the Lord invites us to weed off… slowly atleast.. the little SIMONness in us….

… the tendency to judge people based on their past life.

… the tendency to fail to give any room or chance for improvement.

… the tendency to not able to see the persons, however bad, as ultimately being children of God, our Father!

Jesus, the Master Teacher can change tenses in our lives, in the lives of others!

Let us learn this Grammar of Love and Mercy from the School of Jesus…

… and earn accolades in the University of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We must never undervalue any person.

>> The workman loves not to have his work despised in his presence.

Now God is present everywhere…

… and every person is his work!

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Sep 18 (Lk 7:31-35)

The General Electric Company is a multinational conglomerate company, which caters to the needs of home appliances, financial services, medical devices, life sciences, pharmaceutical etc.

>> Every year, this company uses more than one and a half million sapphires for bearings in meters and other delicate apparatus.

However, it is highly necessary that there should be a detection to separate the synthetic gems from the natural ones.

Towards this end, a cathode ray tube has been developed by a team of researchers.

>> If, in a dark room, the rays from this tube are thrown for a few seconds on a tray of stones, they all glow.

>> However, when the rays are turned off, the artificial sapphires continue to glow and may be picked out of the tray, while the natural sapphires cannot be seen.

This is an easy way of picking up the artificial ones from those which are natural.

Is not something similar that happens to our Christian lives?

The authenticity of our life is exposed and revealed when the rays of Christ’s teaching are made to fall on us!

> Some of us may be seen shining brightly and appearing to have dazzling lustre

> Some of us may be seen to be apparently very good and being seen to be externally righteous.

But when the rays of Christ’s teaching fall on us, will our hypocrisy and duplicity get exposed… ?

… or do I have the credibility and integrity, in my life, to be recognised as an authentic follower of God and an ardent missionary of the Kingdom?

The Gospel of the Day is an exposition on the attitudes of duplicity and being double-standard that can cram our Christian lives.

Jesus gives an illustration…of “children sitting in the market place and calling to one another, ‘We piped to you and you did not dance; we wailed and you did not weep'” (Lk 7: 32) 

It was a tragedy of that generation…

… that two of the great leaders – John and Jesus – though came with apparently contrasting, found themselves rejected!

… that these two great messengers of the Kingdom, met with a tragic end – one beheaded, the other crucified!

And it shows an important philosophy that underlies many lives: an attitude of indifference to the truth and an attitude of rejection of those who challenge our lives!

This tragedy affects our generation too…

We wrap ourselves often in the garment of hard-heartedness and arrogance…

… and fail to allow the message of the Truth to bring a transformation in our lives

We neatly hide ourselves in the dark shadows of indifference and apathy…

… and remain unconcerned with the workings of God’s power and grace in our hearts

But the Lord today renders a wake-up call to shake off the dusts of apathy, hypocrisy and indifference from our lives.

In the power of the rays of Christ’s teaching,  our hypocrisy and duplicity will get exposed…

… But can I seek to mould my life to possess  credibility and integrity, in order to be recognised as an authentic follower of God and an ardent missionary of the Kingdom?

May the words of St Cyprian inspire and ring the bells of true repentance and honest contrition in us:

“When once you have departed this life, there is no longer any place for repentance, no way of making satisfaction.

> Here, life is either lost or kept.

> Here, by the worship of God and by the fruit of faith, provision is made for eternal salvation.

Let no one be kept back either by his sins or by his years from coming to obtain salvation.

>> To him who still remains in this world, there is no repentance that is too late.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The world, which cannot or will not discriminate between real devotion and the indiscretion of those who fancy themselves devout…

… grumbles and finds fault with devotion, which is really nowise concerned in these errors.

>> No indeed, my child, the devotion which is true hinders nothing, but on the contrary it perfects everything;…

… and that which runs counter to the rightful vocation of any one is, you may be sure, a spurious devotion!”

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Sep 17 (Lk 7:11-17)

“Abide with me fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens, Lord, with me, abide

When other helpers fail and comforts flee; Help of the helpless, O abide with me!”

Hold thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;

>> Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”

This hymn “Abide with me”, (found in ‘Night Prayers in The Divine Office’) is one of the very heart-touching hymns…

…sung especially in times of funerals.

They stir up feelings of mourning and the pain of loss…

… they also stir up a sense of hope and trust in the Lord, the God of Life and Resurrection.

The Gospel of the Day presents before us…

… a funeral scene

… feelings of mourning and a pain of loss

… and the instilling of hope and trust by the Lord, the God of Life and Resurrection!

The Gospel reading mentions that as Jesus was journeying to a city called Nain, “a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” (Lk 7: 11-12).

Life can sometimes be filled with extremely cruel feelings and blunt experiences, isn’t it?

This incident is a clear example of that…

>> A funeral in itself is an extremely sorrowful occurance

>> Add to it, it is that of the only son of a woman

(‘Only son’ meant…

… ceasing of the family generation

… termination of the family’s hopes and aspirations of the future)

>> To top it all, the woman is a widow

(‘Widow’ meant…

… there would be none to support her or to provide for her sustenance

… it was a double heart-break for a woman who had already suffered death once!)

This was a harshly unique situation:

As per the custom of the time, the bereaved mother walks in front of the bier

>> The dead son was being carried to the grave

…and the “dead” widow was walking towards her grave of utter hopelessness and inconsolable grief

A mother had to literally see her child from the “womb to the tomb!”

It was in this painful situation, that Jesus encountered the funeral procession!

The Lord, Who knows everything…

… seeing that tragic procession would have probably had a flash of what would be soon a reality in the future:

>> He Himself would be the “dead” Child…

… and His Beloved Mother, Mary would be the “dead” Widow!

This funeral procession of the “only son” of the “widow”, was a reflection of the scene on Calvary…

…. of Jesus, the “Only Son” of Mary, the “Widow”!

It is also heartening to note that this funeral procession took place in a city named “Nain” (or “Naim”)

This Hebrew name “Nain” has meanings such as…

… sweet, good, lovely, pleasant and delightful!

“Nain” is the word used to describe…

… the quality of Israelities as being the “favoured ones” (2 Sam 23: 1)

… the beauty of music especially the “sweet” sounding harp (Ps 81:2)

… the “pleasant” taste of bread (Prov 9:17)

… the “beauty” of the land (Gen 49:15)

The Psalmist also uses this word “Nain” and its derivatives, to describe…

… the beauty of the Lord (Ps 27:4)

… the favour of the Lord (Ps 90:17)

… the graciousness in worshipping the Lord (Ps 135:3)

It appeared to be a total contradiction that a city with such beautiful expressions and meanings…

… was facing the tragic situation of immense pain and loss and mourning

>> Sweetness and goodness seemed to have been replaced with pain and mourning!

>> Loveliness and pleasantness seemed to have been overtaken by misery and lament!

But Jesus, the Lord of Life and Resurrection…

… transforms the feelings of sadness and helplessness into sentiments of relief and hope!

The Gospel says that:

Jesus “was moved with pity for the woman and said to her, ‘Do not weep’…

… and touching the coffin, He said, “Young Man, I tell you, arise!” (Lk 7: 13-14)

>> Tears were halted…and life was restored!

>> Mourning was terminated…and life was celebrated!

Do we not face situations…

>> When life seems to be filled with extremely cruel feelings and blunt experiences…?

… death and separations in the family and relations

… loss of hope at workplaces and areas of labour

… feelings to ‘quit and give up’ as life loses meaning

In all such “dead” situations, the Lord encounters us in our journey of life, and…

>> Comforts  us: “Do not weep!”

>> Restores us: “I tell you, arise!”

We need to trust in Him

>> We need to be willing to encounter Him

>> We need to hold on to Him in our journey of life!

Our God is indeed the God of Life and Resurrection…

… and He seeks to instill hope and trust in Him!

May we always pray, “Lord, abide with me”…

>> And thus with hope and trust, even in the ‘dead’ situations of our life, cry out:

“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away!

Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Have Jesus always for your patron, his Cross for a mast on which you must spread your resolutions as a sail.

>> Your anchor shall be a profound confidence in him, and you shall sail prosperously!”

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Sep 16 (Lk 7:1-10)

A standing ovation is a form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding…

… after extraordinary performances of particularly high acclaim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Centurion was an unusual person…

A Centurion was a person who worked for the Roman Empire and were Gentiles.

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

This was rare indeed!

In the Roman Empire, slaves had no rights.

>> They could be mistreated and even put to death.

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

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

2. 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…

3. The Centurion received an unusual response

This tremendous expression of faith was enough for Jesus to admire and appreciate Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>> When we have confidence in our love for God, we receive ovations and admiration from Him

>> When we remain strong in our Hope in God, we receive ovations and approval from Him.

In the Acts of the Apostles, we read, that when St Stephen was at the verge of death, after his powerful witness, he saw, “Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56)

>> The Courageous Faith of St Stephen was rewarded with a “standing ovation” by the Son of God!

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

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

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not become upset when difficulty comes your way.

>> Laugh in its face…

… and know that you are in the Hands of God!”

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Sep 15 (Lk 15:1-32)

Little Nancy was a very happy child.

She was happy going to the Church and saying her daily prayers.

>> She would often tell, “I am so happy because Jesus is with me and I want to share His love to many others.”

This 6 year old girl would also try to help others, in the little way, she could, whenever possible.

Seeing her joyful student, the English teacher in school, once remarked about her:

“Joy in her,” she said, “is the flag that is flown from the castle of the heart, when the King is in residence there!”

The teacher recognized and acknowledged, that the joy in the little girl…

… was because of the presence of Jesus in her heart!

Joy abounds… in heaven and in one’s heart…

… when one is in closer communion with the Compassionate and Merciful Lord.

              

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation to a life of discovering God’s love and living a life in repentance and thus sharing in the joy that heaven celebrates!

>> “There is much rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine who need no repentance” (Lk 15: 7)

The Fifteenth Chapter of St Luke is an amazing revelation of God’s tremendous love, mercy and longing for each one of us.

We have the Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son.

>> In all the three parables, lost ones are found

>>  In all the three parables, there is great celebration at the end.

>> In all the three parables, an emphasis is laid on hope for the lost.

This chapter is a contradiction of many Human thought-patterns and an affirmation of many Divine thought-patterns…

>> There is a contradiction of the Human thought-pattern of thinking of things in terms of monetary rate and financial gain…

… there is an affirmation of the Divine thought-pattern of acknowledging the deeper value and worth of objects and people

>> There is a contradiction of the Human thought-pattern of giving up on things that are lost and not being bothered about it…

… there is an affirmation of the Divine thought-pattern of desperately going after the lost and being in painful agony until found!

We are invited to shed the selfish Human thought-pattern and embrace the selfless Divine thought-pattern.

For our Gospel reflection, today, we shall consider the first two parables: The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Parable of the Lost Coin.

A shepherd had a hundred sheep.

>> During the count as he gathers the sheep at day’s end, the shepherd notices that one is missing.

The sheep needs to be found; otherwise it may be permanently lost or attacked by hungry predators.

>> The Shepherd takes the risk of leaving the rest behind, and goes out in search of the lost one.

The second parable parallels the first….

Here a silver coin has been lost.

>> It’s probably a drachma, which equals a denarius–a day’s wage for the average worker.

The coin needs to be found; else a day’s wage would be lost and would to the already existing financial burden.

>> The woman takes the hard trouble and effort, to sweep the house, in search of the lost coin.

In both the cases…

>> The search yields successful results…the lost sheep and the lost coin is found.

>> The success leads to a great celebration… the shepherd and the woman rejoice and party

In both the cases…The cost of the celebration far exceeds the actual price of the thing lost!

Why such a sentimentality?

>> Why so much of economic waste?

The only logic behind it is: the Experience of Joy.

The Shepherd feels tremendously happy in getting back his lost sheep.

>> The woman feels tremendously happy in getting back her lost coin.

And this spurs them to forget all economics, and mathematics and tally and calculations…

Joy surpasses them all.

>> Joy overcomes them all.

>> Joy overtakes them all!

Joy is the flag that is flown from the castle of the heart, when the King is in residence there!

Jesus compares this same joy in heaven at the repentance of a sinner!

Am I similar to a Lost Sheep?                                                       

>> Lost in the thickets of materialistic living…

>> Lost in the valleys of doubts and rejections and failures…

>> Lost in the bushes of excessive pride, prestige and power….

>> Lost in the wilderness of hopelessness and meaninglessness in life…

Am I similar to a Lost Coin?

>> Lost in the corners of abuses and misunderstandings and false judgements…

>> Lost in the darkness of bad luck and unfair treatment by life…

>> Lost in the dust of corruption and malicious situations…

>> Lost in the shadows of addictions and bad habits…

The Lord doesn’t abandon us…

>> He comes in search of us.

We ought to…

… hear His voice and respond.

… allow ourselves to be found.

… let Him take us on His shoulders.

… permit Him to take us in His hands. 

God comes looking for us.

We are the ones that God spends hours and hours, walking miles and probing all areas, in search.

>> We are the ones that God spends hours and hours on hands and knees sweeping and searching for.

And when God finds us…He called together all the saints in heaven, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my beloved sheep, my precious coin that was once lost.”

Are we – You & I – ready to give heaven a reason to celebrate, by repenting of our sins & living a life, in accord with God’s Holy Will?!

It is only this recognition and acknowledgement of the presence of Jesus in our hearts

… that makes us joyful!

Yes, Joy abounds… in heaven and in one’s heart…

… when one is in closer communion with the Compassionate and Merciful Lord!

Today, Sep 15, we commemorate our Blessed Mother of Compassion – the Mother of Sorrows..

… The Patroness of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales.

This feast is characterized by the commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of our Blessed Mother…

… seven major events, evoking compassion, in the life of “Mater Dolorosa” (Mother of Sorrows).

Let us hold the hands of our Blessed Mother of Sorrows – always trusting in the Will of the Lord -and experience His saving power and presence…

… and thus allowing the Lord, to always find us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The world, looking on, sees that devout persons fast, watch and pray, endure injury patiently, minister to the sick and poor…

… restrain their temper, check and subdue their passions, deny themselves in all sensual indulgence, and do many other things which in themselves are hard and difficult.

But the world sees nothing of that inward, heartfelt devotion…

… which makes all these actions pleasant and easy!”

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Sep 14 (Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross – Jn 3:13-17)

The first quarter of the year 1984 saw a lot of political unrest in Poland…

… with the government banning the display of crucifixes (= a Cross with the figure of Christ on it)  from factories, hospitals, schools and other public institutions.

No heed was paid to the strong waves of anger and resentment, all across the nation!

In a certain town in Eastern Poland – Garwolin –  a very zealous Communist administrator, one evening…

… removed seven large crucifixes from the classrooms of a school

A few days later, some parents entered the school and hung more crosses

>> But even those were taken down!

The following day, nearly 2/3rds of the school’s six hundred students staged a protest.

>> When heavily arm-laden police arrived, these students were forced into the streets.

Then they marched to a nearby Church…

… with crucifixes held high!

They were joined by 2,500 other students from nearby schools…

… for a prayer meet, in support of the protest.

Soldiers surrounded the Church..

… but the students remained undeterred, inside, and held on to the proclamation of the faith.

The following day, the world had taken notice of this bold protest…

… with many newspapers flashing the following headline:

“Clutching Crucifixes, students proclaim – There is no Poland without a Cross!”

Yes, this, indeed, is the truth of Christian life…

“Clutching Crucifixes, we need to proclaim – There is no Christianity without the Cross!”

This is the message being proclaimed by the Church – loud and clear and without any compromise – today, on this Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Every religion and every ideology has its own symbol.

But what makes the symbol of Christianity – the Cross – so unique is that…

… Its founder transformed this instrument of shame into the sign of salvation!

… Its founder not just preached about the symbol, but even embraced it , in obedience and love!

The Cross had cast its shadow on the life of Christ all through…

>> Wood (symbolic of the ‘Wood of the Cross’) was part of the life of Christ all through…

… the Babe Jesus was laid on the ‘wood of the manger’ by his beloved Parents

… the Boy Jesus worked with ‘wood in the workshop’ of His carpenter father, Joseph

… the Brave Jesus would use the ‘wood of the boat’, as His Pulpit to preach the Word of God

>> The Beloved Jesus would finally be laid on the “wood of the Cross” in total obedience to His Father!

This is what the Lord foretold Nicodemus…

… as we see in today’s Gospel Passage: ” And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (Jn 3: 14)

Jesus makes a reference to the Old Testament incident as found in the Book of Numbers (Num 21: 4b-9)…

>> The people grew disinterested and dissipated by their journey and began to grumble

>> Their sin of disobedience and lack of trust in God’s Will  caused them to be punished

>> However, God in His mercy, offered a bronze serpent, mounted on a pole…

… for deliverance from the punishments of their sin

This bronze serpent would be a typography of the Cross of Christ!

Just as the bronze serpent came to the rescue of the people of Israel, the Cross of Christ comes to our rescue…

… but with a much greater reward – of salvation!

… with a much greater consolation – of the peace of Christ!

We too, often grow disinterested and dissipated in our journey of life and begin to grumble

>> Our sin of disobedience and lack of trust in God’s Will,  brings us punishments of various kinds.

However, God in His mercy, offers us Christ Crucified, mounted on the Cross…

… for deliverance from the punishments of our sin!

All those who looked at the bronze serpent had lived…

>> All of us, who will look at Christ Crucified on the Cross, will live forever!

Our modernistic world has notoriously and pragmatically misuses the Cross:

>> Fashionists have the symbol of Christianity stylishly displayed all over themselves..

… as jewellery hanging round their necks, ears, wrists etc

… as tattoos imprinted on the various body parts

… as drawings on various objects of worldly use

The Cross is often found to be degraded and despised as merely…

… an ornament of show

… a pattern of beautification

… a statement of raging and crazy style

But the Cross of Christ transcends all these…

And, we Christians, today, need to be zealous, to restore the Cross, the Symbol of Christianity to its original sense…

… The Symbol of Hope and Salvation

… The Symbol of Unconditional Love

… The Symbol of Unfathomable Mercy

Yes, may this Feast Day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross…

… remind and revive in us, its message: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have Eternal Life!” (Jn 3:16)

>> And may we hold firm to the truth of Christian life…

“Clutching Crucifixes, we need to proclaim – There is no Christianity without the Cross!”

Happy Feast of the Holy Cross of Christ!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “If you wish to learn how to love God, come to Calvary.

>> Jesus Christ on His Cross will teach you!

Mount Calvary is the Mount of lovers!

>> All love which does not take it’s origin from the Passion of the Saviour, is foolish and dangerous!

Love and death are eternally blended together in the Passion of the Saviour!”

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Sep 13 (Lk 6:39-42)

In a particular town, there lived a cobbler, who was unable to make a living by his trade.

Driven to despair by his poverty, he accommodated himself in another far-away town, and began to practise medicine.

He sold a drug which he claimed to be an antidote for all sorts of poisons.

>> Towards this end, he also created a great popularity campaign through advertisements and boastful proclamations.

Unfortunately, in a short period of time, the cobbler himself happened to fall sick to a serious illness.

The ruler of the town sought this as a nice chance to test his medicine’s capability and the man’s genuineness.

For this, the ruler called for a cup, and filling it with water, pretended to mix poison with the cobbler’s antidote…

… commanding him to drink, with a promise of a handsome reward.

The sick cobbler, overcome with much fear and trembling, confessed that he had no knowledge of medicine!

The ruler then called the people of the town and addressed them:

” Oh how foolish are you!

You have not hesitated to entrust your heads to a man, whom no one could employ to even make shoes for their feet!”

Often times, perhaps, it so happens that we too…

… get fooled in life

… get led by people who are incapable

… get ourselves to be a slave to things which are unbecoming

We become blind…. and perhaps, we also lead others to stumble!

Our Blessed Lord in today’s Gospel invites us to deep examination of the quality of our lives and our credibility in being a leader.

Jesus says, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” (Lk 6: 39)

This verse is a reference to two sets of people: one, the guide.. second, the one who is led.

We could find ourselves in either of these categories or sometimes even both.

>> We could be a guide or one who is guided or both – a guide as well as one who is guided.

In any of the cases, one needs to examine one’s quality of life.

Am I shrouded in the darkness of being in ignorance and apathy…

> disinterested to learn and be willing to know more…?

> causing others to be misled and creating confusions and misunderstandings…?

Am I a person who is sunk into the dark abyss of being prejudiced and unforgiving….

> unwilling to be open to the truth and adamant in considering to even review or re-examine my own viewpoints…?

> blinded to accept differences and failing to cherish diversity and thus constantly being at loggerheads with others…?

Am I constantly veiled under the dark shades of being unjustly critical and judgemental…

> full of pride and being unable to let go of my own selfish interests and self-centred wants…?

> enamoured by a pleasure in looking for opportunities and means to put down others or find faults with others…?

Our Blessed Lord invites us to make an honest review of our lives and to be constantly willing to ring in positive transformations.

May we seek to put into the practise the beautiful saying:

” If you use the head with which you reprove others to reprove yourself, there will be fewer faults;

>> If you use the heart with which you forgive yourself to forgive others, there will be perfect friendship”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Refrain from imputing imaginary faults to your neighbour…

… from revealing those which are secret

>> And from exaggerating those which are obvious!”

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