REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 27, 2021: Monday

“Giving heed to the call of the Lord and seeking to grow, by humbling oneself!”

(Based on Zech 8:1-8 and Lk 9:46-50 – Monday of the 26th in Ordinary Time)

“O Master, grant that I may never seek!

So much to be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love with all my soul…”

This chorus from the Hymn of Peace, “Make me a channel” is known to most of us.

However, in our daily life, the chorus we sing is perhaps quite the opposite…
“O Master, help that I may always seek for more…

So much to be comforted, but not to comfort others…
To make sure that I am well understood, even if I misunderstand others…
To receive an abundance of love, even if others are ignored in the process!”

Very much, true isn’t it?

We love to give…
… but expect to be returned back in equal or more terms.

We love to donate…
… but expect to be acknowledged & given due consideration.

We love to offer…
… but expect to get back something more in return.

The “I” factor often dominates many of our thoughts, our words and actions

We are people, who tend to have our self-desires to be in the forefront!

Such a generally-found characteristic…

Desiring to be great
Wanting to have the first place
… is on display in the Gospel of the Day.

This passage Lk 9:46-50 is the last glimpse of the ministry of Jesus in Galilee.

From Lk 9: 51, Jesus would begin another journey: To Jerusalem – where He would be finally exalted!

The Gospel passage begins with the verse:
“An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.” (Lk 9: 46)

Just a couple of verses before, Jesus had instructed the disciples very strongly using the words:
“Let these words SINK into your ears…” (Lk 9:44)

Thus saying, Jesus had spoken of how He would be handed over to men.

It was the prediction of His Passion.

The words “sink into your ears” was a strong exhortation by the Lord…
… to understand that the way to be exalted is only by being humiliated on the Cross!
… to realise that the pathway to glory is always laid low in the valley of struggles and hardships!

Humility is the key virtue to be a member of the Kingdom of God!

None can be a disciple of Christ without being humble
It would be impossible to call oneself a Christian if one is unwilling to let go of self-desires

But the disciples failed to grasp this fundamental truth.

The recounting of the Passion prediction by Jesus, probably brought in them thoughts…
… about how their Master would reign as the King!
… about how each of them would probably get an important ministerial berth!

It was this “building of castles in the air” that was the background for the Disciples to argue “who is the greatest among them” (Lk 9: 46)

Jesus’ message of the Cross was neatly avoided…
… and only the Crown was given prominence!

Jesus’ warnings about being ready for the Way of the Cross was sidelined…
… and only the dream of a ‘bed of roses’ was discussed!

Hence, the Lord uses the opportunity to remind His close ones on the need to “grow in humility”…
… with the example of a child (Lk 9: 47)

The Gospel says, “Jesus, realised the intention of their hearts…” (Lk 9: 47)

The Lord knows the hearts of all…
… He knows our hearts as well

And so, He looks deep into us, and invites to examine our motives and attitudes…
… Am I a person willing to humble myself?
… or am I a person, swelling in pride?

This aspect of pride could be perhaps manifested in us, subtly, in many ways…
… maybe in my words, the word “I” often appears – thus projecting myself more over others!
… maybe in my actions, I do things to show others – thus wanting self-attention and praise!
… maybe in my thoughts, I often think of my desires – thus disregarding the needs of others!

The tendency to self-project oneself is seen in many of us

But the Lord, who Himself lowered and humbled Himself…
… challenges us time and again, “He who wishes to follow me, must deny oneself, take up one’s cross and follow me!” (Lk 9:23)

The process of doing away with pride and growing in humility…
… is a slow and painful process!

The key to root out vices, is by building up virtues!

There is a need to grow in acts of humility…
… encouraging and appreciating others
… willing to do the “less flashy and glamorous” roles
… realising that the source of all what I do and achieve, is ultimately the Lord

St Francis de Sales says, “Certainly all virtues are very dear to God…
… but humility pleases Him above all the others!”

Let us give heed to the call of the Lord…
… seeking to grow, by humbling oneself!

May we truly pray and live…
… that we may never seek…

To be consoled, as to console!
To be understood, as to understand!
To be loved, as to love with all our souls!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME

In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfils the plan of the Father’s loving goodness.
With and through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the Son of God. By the Holy Spirit’s power and her faith, her virginity became uniquely fruitful.
In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin.
She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, she makes the Word visible in the humility of His Flesh.
It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes Him known.
Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God’s merciful love, into communion with Christ.
The humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the first disciples.
At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve (“mother of the living”), the mother of the “whole Christ.”

As such, she was present with the Twelve, who “with one accord devoted themselves to prayer,” at the dawn of the “end time” which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church. (Cf. CCC # 723-726)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 26, 2021: Sunday

“Plucking out sin at the very first instance of its appearance, and cooperating with the Grace of God to live in holiness!”

(Based on Num 11:25-29, Jas 5:1-6 and Mk 9:38-43,45,47-48 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

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

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

The question interested the students, and they keenly listened to the teacher, as she continued:
“Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside?

No!

Scientists have discovered that the worm comes from the inside.”

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

The teacher with a smile said, “Simple!
An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom (bud).

Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple…
… then eats his way out.”

She then continued: “Children, remember….
… Sin, like this worm, begins in the heart and works out through the person’s thoughts, words and actions.

That’s why make sure you root out sin at its very beginning…
… and pluck it out, at the very first instance of its appearance!”

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus making a strong exhortation on the dangers posed by sin…
… and the intense need to overcome anything that comes in the way of holiness.

Jesus says, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off…

If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off…
If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it off…” (Mk 9: 43-47)

These are very strong and powerful words of our Blessed Lord.

Our Lord came to the World as a Saviour – to redeem the world from sin.

It is sin that causes separation of human beings from God.

Therefore the Lord clearly asks to us make choices and radical decisions to let go of anything that can cause us to sin or move away from His Holy Will.

We need to examine our lives and check…

… My hands:

Do I engage in activities which are uncharitable and which causes pains and hurts to others?
Do I fail to extend my hand to those in need and those whose lives can be bettered by my helping hand?

… My feet:

Do I stray away into paths of immorality, injustice and indifference?
Do I fail to direct my ways on the path of righteous living, holy conduct and true worship?

… My eyes:

Do I direct my eyes into things which are unbecoming of my way of life and with an intention to fulfil my sinful inner cravings?
Do I move away from seeing the suffering and miseries in the world and become closed to discover the spark of Divinity in the other?

Jesus wishes that our Christian lives, not become a scandal or a stumbling block to the other…
… Rather, He desires that we be honest to our calling as a Christian
… and walk firmly and with courage, in the path of perfection with Him and towards Him!

Are there sins in our life that are occupying large areas in our hearts?

Are there tendencies that are causing us to move away from a life of holiness?

The Lord says, “Have the courage to root them out completely!”

To cut off from sin…
… will surely be difficult
… will indeed be hard

But if we are ready to cooperate with the Grace of the Lord, then our Blessed Saviour will root them out completely from our hearts!

What is needed is our “readiness to pluck out sin completely!”

As the Psalmist prayed, we need to echo the phrase: “Create in me a clean heart, O God!”

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

Lets make sure that we root it out at its very beginning…
… and pluck it out, at the very first instance of its appearance!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time.
For the first time in the plan of salvation and because His Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where His Son and His Spirit could dwell among men.
In this sense, the Church’s Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary.
Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the “Seat of Wisdom.”
In her, the “wonders of God” that the Spirit was to fulfil in Christ and the Church began to be manifested
The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by His Grace.
It was fitting that the mother of him in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” should herself be “full of Grace.”
She was, by sheer Grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty.
It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the “Daughter of Zion: Rejoice.”

It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within Her the Eternal Son. (Cf. CCC # 721-722)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 25, 2021: Saturday

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

(Based on Zech 2:1-5, 10-11a and Lk 9:43-45 – Saturday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

“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.

The 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?)

“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?

Do I betray the Lord with my words of unpleasantness, judgmental nature and destructively critical?
Do I betray the Lord by being unkind, unforgiving and harbouring grudge by my actions?
Do I betray the Lord 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.

Like St Philip Neri, may we too 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 SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME

John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.”
In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets.
John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.
He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming.
As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.”
In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfils the longing of the angels.
“He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God… Behold, the Lamb of God.”

Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of “the Divine likeness,” prefiguring what he would achieve with and in Christ. John’s baptism was for repentance; baptism in water and the Spirit will be a new birth (Cf. CCC # 719-720)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 24, 2021: Friday

“Turning towards the Lord, like the sunflower that follows every movement of the sun, and walking with joy, and radiating his Love!”

(Based on Hag 1:15b-2:9 and Lk 9:18-22 – Friday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

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 understanding of the Real 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!

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

May we, “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 SPIRIT OF CHRIST IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”
John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” by Christ Himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to His people.
John is “Elijah (who) must come.”
The fire of the Spirit dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord.

In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of “[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Cf. CCC # 717-718)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 23, 2021: Thursday

“Having the courage to unload every burden of guilt, by walking on the path of goodness!”

(Based on Hag 1:1-8 and Lk 9:7-9 – Thursday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

An incident is narrated of a man who brought a package of supplies from a trading shop.

On reaching home, to his surprise, he found a silver coin inside the package.

Something troubled him.

He came back the next morning to the trader and handed him back the silver coin.

The trader was amused and surprised and asked him: “That’s interesting to see that you have returned back the silver coin!”

The customer replied: “Well, I got a good man and a bad man in my heart!

The good man said, It is not yours’; the bad man said, ‘Nobody will know’. The good man said, ‘Take it back’; the bad man said, Never mind’.”

And so thinking, I went to bed…
… but the good man and the bad man talked the whole night and troubled me.

Next morning, I decided…
… to unload the burden of my guilt, by returning to the path of goodness!”

The conscience of the man caused him disturbance, because of the fault that he was supposedly in…
… and made him to yield to its goodness!

Each of us, at every moment, have our conscience speaking to us…

Do we listen and give heed?
Or do we silence the voice of the conscience and allow our guilt to rotten up our minds, and dirty our actions?

The Gospel of the Day presents the intense ordeal faced by King Herod who failed to give consideration to the voice of conscience…

And instead had his mind corrupted and his actions dirtied…
… by falling into the trap of guilt and shame.

King Herod had exercised his authority and sinfulness by beheading John the Baptist. (Mt 14:1-12; Mk 6:14-27).

The demon of guilt and shame of that inhuman murder kept bothering him.

In this scattered state of mind, King Herod hears about the deeds and wonders of another man, Jesus.

His guilt-filled and confused mind is unable to grasp the identity of this new man who works marvels and so he asks: “I had John beheaded; WHO IS THIS MAN about whom I hear such wonders?”(Lk 9:9)

The king harassed by sin and shame failed to grapple the mystery of the Son of God, the King of kings!

Herod’s question is perhaps, one the most important question ever asked or answered:
“WHO IS THIS MAN?”

Being confused about Who Jesus is, was not new trend, especially in the Gospel of St Luke.

In Lk 5:21, at the healing of the paralytic, the Scribes and Pharisees begin to ask, “WHO IS THIS who speaks blasphemy?”

In Lk 7:19, the disciples of John the Baptist question Him, “ARE YOU THE ONE WHO IS TO COME, or should we look for another?”

In Lk 7:49, after the pardon of the sinful woman who washed His feet, the others, who were invited for the meal commented, “WHO IS THIS who even forgives sins?”

In Lk 8:25, after witnessed the calming of the sea and the storms, the disciples inquire, “WHO then IS THIS, who commands even the winds and the sea, and they obey Him?”

In Lk 9:20, Jesus Himself asks His disciples, “WHO do you say AM I?”

In Lk 20:2, the chief priests and scribes question Jesus, “By what AUTHORITY ARE YOU doing these things? Or who is the one WHO GAVE YOU AUTHORITY?”

In Lk 22:70, the council of elders and the chief priests and the scribes question Jesus, “ARE YOU then THE SON OF GOD?”

The persona of Jesus surpasses great minds and cannot be arrested by hardened hearts!

The character of Jesus baffles proud mentalities and cannot be captured by cynical spirits!

King Herod was greatly disturbed with a guilty conscience and a sinful heart.

He felt greatly challenged and threatened by Jesus, Who was being considered as a King.

The sinful and corrupt Kingdom of Herod was faced with an opposition from…
… the pure and holy Kingdom of God!

We need to examine our lives and conscience and check…

Am I, like King Herod, filled with fear and doubts because of my sinful conscience and guilty mind?

Am I eager, like King Herod to see some miracles of Jesus, just to satisfy my curiosity, but not for repentance?
Am I hesitant to encounter the Lord, because that could mean having a transformation and renewal of my life?

Yes, each of us, at every moment, have our conscience speaking to us…

Do we listen and give heed?
Or do we silence the voice of the conscience and allow our guilt to rotten up our minds and dirty our actions?

Purified by the Sacraments…
… strengthened by God’s Word…
… empowered in prayer…

Let us become persons who have our conscience always pure and always give heed to the voice of the Lord, “Be Holy, as I am Holy!”

We celebrate today the Feast of a modern saint…
… an exemplary and prayerful priest: St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

He inspires us today to closely follow to Lord…
through the paths of prayer, penitence and penance.
… even if it means suffering and undergoing pain for Jesus’ sake…
… even when we find ourselves rejected and misunderstood

He would say, “In all the events of life, you must recognize the Divine will.
Adore and bless it, especially in the things which are the hardest for you.

The more you are afflicted, the more you ought to rejoice…
… because in the fire of tribulation the soul will become pure gold, worthy to be placed and to shine in the heavenly palace.”

And also, “Even if the world were to capsize…
… if everything were to become dark, hazy, tumultuous…
… God would still be with us!

Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God!”

Let us seek the intercession of St Padre Pio, to always listen to our conscience…
… and have the courage to unload every burden of guilt, by walking on the path of goodness!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
EXPECTATION OF THE MESSIAH AND HIS SPIRIT
The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the promise, with the accents of “love and fidelity.”

St. Peter will proclaim their fulfilment on the morning of Pentecost.
According to these promises, at the “end time” the Lord’s Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; He will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.

The People of the “poor” – those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God’s mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah – are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit’s hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ’s coming. >> It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. >> In these poor, the Spirit is making ready “a people prepared for the Lord.” (Cf. CCC # 715-716)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 22, 2021: Wednesday

“Shaking off the dust of the past, and walking clean with our Lord and Master!”

(Based on Ezra 9:5-9 and Lk 9:1-6 – Wednesday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

Thomas Edison, the famous scientist, once worked for months to find a filament that would burn for more than a few seconds, for his incandescent light bulb.

He tried over 700 filaments and each one was a failure.

One reporter interviewed Edison and said, “It must be frustrating to work so hard and see no results.”
Edison replied, “Oh, I have lots of results. I now know 700 things that won’t work!”

The person of true research and genuine interest finds meaning even in failures and is able to cast off minor disappointments and setbacks.

The Gospel of the Day enshrines a similar message in its verses…
“And where ever they don’t welcome you, shake off the dust from your feet…” (Lk 9:5)

Dust was symbolic…

Dust was used to denote the grave (Job 7:21)
To sit in dust denoted extreme affliction (Isaiah 47:1).
To lick the dust was a sign of abject submission (Psalms 72:9)
To sprinkle dust on the head was a sign of mourning (Joshua 7:6)
To throw dust at someone was a sign of abhorrence (2 Samuel 16:13; Acts 22:23)

To shake off the dust indicated that those who had rejected the Gospel were making themselves closer to face the just judgment of God.

The context of this phrase is when Jesus summoned His twelve apostles and sent them on a mission, giving them various instructions…

Jesus warned the twelve, that in their mission, they would encounter denial and not receive a proper welcome and reception in all the places.

This is a reality with the Kingdom of God and the Message of the Gospel…

Not all take in the teaching of the Kingdom and the Gospel…
Not all understand and accept the Kingdom and the Gospel…
Not all give a good response to the Kingdom and the Gospel…

The action of shaking off the dust also meant much for the messenger or the one who had preached the Gospel.

One of the greatest realities of our life is facing rejections, refusals and failures

This aspect creeps into our spiritual lives, our ministries and in our witnessing of Christ in the society…

We may face rejection when we try extend the peace of Christ to all those, with whom we are not in good terms.
We may face refusal when we take a bold decision to not partake in some unhealthy affairs of the world.

We may face failures when we stick on to the principles of honesty and integrity and truthfulness.

We may face let-downs when we refuse to be a partaker of sinful activities and evil practices and thoughts.

Jesus told the disciples that if they were not accepted, to “shake the dust off their feet…”

The “shaking off the dust” was a symbolic way of saying, “I don’t want anything of the city to remain on me.

“I don’t want their bitterness, their rejection, and their lack of faith to remain part of me.”

Jesus didn’t want their feeling of failure to bog his disciples down.

Instead, He told them to just shake it off and move on to the next village.

This was a mighty invitation by the Master to His disciples to not “get fixated to the fleeting pleasures and satisfactions that this world may offer…
… rather to have the Lord as the Greatest Consolation, Treasure and Joy of Life!”

The whole world may leave or reject you…
… but the Lord promises, “if you totally depend on Me, you have no need to fear or be anxious!”

Some of us, however, continue to carry the dust of our past failures and disappointments…

We fail to shake off the dust of our guilt and shame of the past sins we have committed…

We fail to shake off the dust of our hurts and pains in some of the broken and strained relationships…
We fail to shake off the dust of our collapses and catastrophes in our works or businesses or projects or plans…

Yes, we have been rejected. We have failed. We have been crushed. We have collapsed.

But the Lord, says, “Get up, shake off the dust, and go on.”

The Book of Proverbs reminds us: “Every word of God proves true;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him!” (Prov 30:5)

Every saint has faced a rejected and a failure…

The Lord, Himself, on the way of the Cross, fell…
But They never gave up…They never called it quits!

St Paul beautifully says, “This one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…” (Phil 3:13)

Let us not spend our life sitting in the dust of devastation, crying over what went wrong.

Rather, let us shake off the dust, and walk clean, with our Lord and Master!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the “Book of Emmanuel” (Isaiah)
The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.”
These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how He will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.”

Taking our death upon Himself, He can communicate to us His own Spirit of life (Cf. CCC # 712-714)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 21, 2021: Tuesday

“Being inspired by St Mathew to go to the Lord for His Healing and Life-Saving Prescription!”

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

There are a few things which are not understood in life…
(Well, don’t worry…. we are not getting too philosophical here…!)

One among these… which has perhaps, intrigued many, is…
… a physician’s (doctor’s) medicine prescription!

(Are physicians reading this more closely now??)

The physician usually is a busy person, with many patients to be attended to and many in distress seeking his/her advice.

In the midst of this heavy work, the medical prescription is often scribbled down.

Many times their handwriting goes for a toss!

Many times the legibility of this writing is hard to decipher!

This untidily written prescription of medicines is often not much understood by the patient.

This quickly scribbled medicine prescription is often criticized by the patient’s attendants…
… “Why can’t they write neatly?
… “Who can understood this indecipherable paper?”

But the Physician is quite at ease with the prescription!

The poor writing doesn’t disturb?
The illegibility doesn’t come in the way.
The scribbled letters don’t prevent from suggesting the right medicine.

The physician’s prescription in the hands of people who do not understand and grasp, is a cause of irritation and criticism!

The physician’s prescription in the hands of person who understands them well, is a cause of life-giving medicines!

The script is the same, but…
… to the one who fails to understand, it becomes a basis of cribbing and complaining
… to the one who understands it well, it becomes the source of life and vitality

The Gospel of the Day is nice setup – a Physician, a chief patient, other patients & some complaining people! (Mt 9:9-13)

The Physician is the Lord Himself…

The chief patient is Matthew, the tax collector…
The few other patients are the other sinners and tax collectors…
The set of complaining people are the scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus, the Great Physician is out on His regular rounds…
… of nursing the wounds of people with His soothing bandages
… of strengthening the brokenness in people with His powerful words
… of touching the miseries and sicknesses of people by His healing touches

On one such round, He comes across Matthew, the tax collector (Mt 9:9a)

He sees him busy at his desk, counting the money, exchanging coins…

Jesus sees in Matthew, a man who perhaps has indulged in cheating…
Jesus sees in Matthew, a man who has been looked down badly by the local people…

The physician Jesus, sees in Matthew, a patient who is sick and in trouble.

And so, He scribbles down a prescription…”Follow Me” (Mt 9:9b)

The patient, with this prescription is happy and relieved…
… because he realises, the Physician has given him a prescription that will bring him life!

Matthew must have not understood much of this prescription…
… but he follows the great Physician!

However, the other people who watch and see this prescription… fail to understand it!

And they begin to complain and groan, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mt 9:11)

Yes, the Physician’s prescription in the hands of people who do not understand & grasp, is a cause of irritation and criticism!

The Physician’s prescription in the hands of people who understands them well, is a cause of life-giving medicines!

But Jesus, the Great Physician of Galilee, knows well & is confident of the prescription that He has given to His patient.

And so He boldly proclaims, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt 9:12)

Is any of us sick among us?

Spiritually sick… with crisis with God or difficulties in prayer life or a standstill in faith?

Emotionally sick… with hard feelings hitting our life or unable to handle various moods?

Physiologically sick… with painful diseases and ailments or troubling aches, hurts and ills?

Financially sick… with businesses and jobs going down the drain and no hopes seen ahead?

Socially sick… with ill-acceptance by others and painful rejection by those whom we love?

Then the Great Physician is out here… to heal and touch us!

No matter whether the prescription…
… is not understood by us
… is criticized by other people

It makes perfect sense to the One who has prescribed it!

It makes perfect sense to the One who is to give the medicines!

The Great Physician is available…

Come, let us go to Him for His Healing and Life-Saving Prescription!

Happy Feast of St Matthew!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
EXPECTATION OF THE MESSIAH AND HIS SPIRIT

“Behold, I am doing a new thing.”
Two prophetic lines were to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing to the announcement of a new Spirit.
They converge in the small Remnant, the people of the poor, who await in hope the “consolation of Israel” and “the redemption of Jerusalem.”
We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfils the prophecies concerning himself.

We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly. (Cf. CCC # 711)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 20, 2021: Monday

“Letting the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!”

(Based on Ezra 1:1-6 and Lk 8:16-18 – Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the beautiful hymns known to many of us is: “Shine Jesus Shine!”

One of the stanzas in this very popular hymn states:
“As we gaze on Your Kingly Brightness
So our faces display Your Likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here, may our lives tell Your Story
Shine on me, shine on me!”

Yes, each one of us are expected to “mirror the Light of Christ, by our lives!”

Is my life mirroring the Light of Christ to others?

In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus tells to His disciples:
“No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people coming in may see the light…” (Lk 8:16)

This passage in the Gospel of St. Luke is just preceded by the Parable of the Sower (Lk 8: 4-15).

The parable of the Sower beautifully illustrates the various modes of reception of the Word of God.

When the Word of God is welcomed and received with an open heart, one is able to bear fruit…fruit in abundance.

A person, who receives God’s Word with an open heart and a receptive mind, is able to reflect it in one’s life.

And this is where, a Christian Life resembles a magnifying glass which allows God’s Word to pass through and kindles others with the fire of His love!

We need to be an open and active medium allowing God to permeate through us, in order to let others experience His Love!

Do I…
… allow God’s word to work in me, so that the depressed may experience God’s light of joy and happiness?
… sanction God’s power to direct me, so that the suffering humanity may experience God’s light of healing?
… permit the seed of God’s word to take root in me, so that the sinful may experience God’s light of mercy?
… agree to the authority of God to control me, so that the weak may experience God’s light of strength?
… let God’s commandments to guide me, so that the wayward may experience God’s light of acceptance?

Jesus says, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed…”

Times have changed drastically however…

Earlier times, one used to be proud to call oneself as a Christian and witness boldly to be known as one.

Today, perhaps, many of us feel a tweak and go a bit uncomfortable when called publicly as a Christian!

What was a matter a pride some years has today possibly become a matter of awkwardness and uneasiness.

How well do I witness the Light of Christian Faith to the world outside?

There are many tiny yet significant gestures and practical actions by which we may be hiding the Christian Light in us, with a bowl, and not allowing it to shine forth…

Feeling ashamed to bow publicly before the Blessed Sacrament or as we enter a Church…
Feeling uneasy to make a sign of the cross or say prayers before meals when many are there…
Feeling embarrassed to be called a Christian or a Consecrated person in a secular surrounding…

Feeling disinterested to carry a Bible or wear a crucifix around the neck or hold on to a rosary etc…
Feeling strange to either wear or avoid certain dresses or habits, especially thinking what will others feel…
Feeling awkward to say about Jesus or the Gospel virtues to our friends, thinking that our thoughts are naive…
Feeling bored to participate in the Sacraments and show no interest in making extra efforts to prepare for them…

There are many more occasions wherein we may be losing out a chance to witness Christ and His Love!

The nature of the sun, is to shine upon and enliven the whole earth.

But if one puts a magnifying glass in the rays of the sun over a paper, this light of the sun will turn into fire.

The nature of God’s Love is to shine upon and enliven the whole universe.

But if we act as a magnifying glass, united with Jesus, our Lord, this light of God’s Love will turn to fire!

Let us follow God’s Will deeply and closely in our lives…
… and let the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!

Shine, Jesus, Shine!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD’S SPIRIT AND WORD – IN THE KINGDOM AND THE EXILE

The Law, the sign of God’s promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham’s faith gave birth.
But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations.
The Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David, would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit.
The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the mysterious fidelity of the Saviour God and the beginning of a promised restoration, but according to the Spirit.
The People of God had to suffer this purification.

In God’s plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church. (Cf. CCC # 703-704)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 20, 2021: Monday

“Letting the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!”

(Based on Ezra 1:1-6 and Lk 8:16-18 – Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time)

One of the beautiful hymns known to many of us is: “Shine Jesus Shine!”

One of the stanzas in this very popular hymn states:
“As we gaze on Your Kingly Brightness
So our faces display Your Likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here, may our lives tell Your Story
Shine on me, shine on me!”


Yes, each one of us are expected to “mirror the Light of Christ, by our lives!”

Is my life mirroring the Light of Christ to others?


In the Gospel of the Day, Jesus tells to His disciples:
“No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lamp stand, so that people coming in may see the light…” (Lk 8:16)


This passage in the Gospel of St. Luke is just preceded by the Parable of the Sower (Lk 8: 4-15).
>> The parable of the Sower beautifully illustrates the various modes of reception of the Word of God.


When the Word of God is welcomed and received with an open heart, one is able to bear fruit…fruit in abundance.
>> A person, who receives God’s Word with an open heart and a receptive mind, is able to reflect it in one’s life.

And this is where, a Christian Life resembles a magnifying glass which allows God’s Word to pass through and kindles others with the fire of His love!


We need to be an open and active medium allowing God to permeate through us, in order to let others experience His Love!

Do I…
… allow God’s word to work in me, so that the depressed may experience God’s light of joy and happiness?
… sanction God’s power to direct me, so that the suffering humanity may experience God’s light of healing?
… permit the seed of God’s word to take root in me, so that the sinful may experience God’s light of mercy?
… agree to the authority of God to control me, so that the weak may experience God’s light of strength?
… let God’s commandments to guide me, so that the wayward may experience God’s light of acceptance?


Jesus says, “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed…”

Times have changed drastically however…

Earlier times, one used to be proud to call oneself as a Christian and witness boldly to be known as one.
>> Today, perhaps, many of us feel a tweak and go a bit uncomfortable when called publicly as a Christian!

What was a matter a pride some years has today possibly become a matter of awkwardness and uneasiness.
>> How well do I witness the Light of Christian Faith to the world outside?


There are many tiny yet significant gestures and practical actions by which we may be hiding the Christian Light in us, with a bowl, and not allowing it to shine forth…
>> Feeling ashamed to bow publicly before the Blessed Sacrament or as we enter a Church…
>> Feeling uneasy to make a sign of the cross or say prayers before meals when many are there…
>> Feeling embarrassed to be called a Christian or a Consecrated person in a secular surrounding…

>> Feeling disinterested to carry a Bible or wear a crucifix around the neck or hold on to a rosary etc…
>> Feeling strange to either wear or avoid certain dresses or habits, especially thinking what will others feel…
>> Feeling awkward to say about Jesus or the Gospel virtues to our friends, thinking that our thoughts are naive…
>> Feeling bored to participate in the Sacraments and show no interest in making extra efforts to prepare for them…

There are many more occasions wherein we may be losing out a chance to witness Christ and His Love!


The nature of the sun, is to shine upon and enliven the whole earth.
>> But if one puts a magnifying glass in the rays of the sun over a paper, this light of the sun will turn into fire.


The nature of God’s Love is to shine upon and enliven the whole universe.
>> But if we act as a magnifying glass, united with Jesus, our Lord, this light of God’s Love will turn to fire!


Let us follow God’s Will deeply and closely in our lives…
… and let the light of Christ’s Love to burn and blaze like a radiating fire through our lives!
>> Shine, Jesus, Shine!


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD’S SPIRIT AND WORD – IN THE KINGDOM AND THE EXILE
>> The Law, the sign of God’s promise and covenant, ought to have governed the hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham’s faith gave birth.
>> But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations.
>> The Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David, would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit.
>> The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the mysterious fidelity of the Saviour God and the beginning of a promised restoration, but according to the Spirit.
>> The People of God had to suffer this purification.
>> In God’s plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church. (Cf. CCC # 703-704)
——————————–

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 19, 2021: Sunday

“Humbling ourselves before the Immense Presence of God – like a child – and entrusting our cares to the Lord!”

(Based on Wis 2:12, 17-20, Jas 3:16-4:3 and Mk 9:30-37 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A young American student, on a visit to the Beethoven museum in Bonn, became fascinated by the piano on which Beethoven had composed some of his greatest works.

(Beethoven is one of the most famous and influential music composers of all-time)

She asked the museum guard if she could play a few musical pieces on it.

She accompanied the request with a lavish tip (a gift/money)…
… and the guard agreed!

The girl, excitedly went to the piano and tinkled out the opening of the Moonlight Sonata (a famous musical composition of Beethoven).

She was greatly thrilled that she could play on the same piano as that of the music legend.

As she was leaving she said to the guard, with a great sense of exhilaration: “I suppose all the great pianists who come here, want to play on that piano.”

The guard shook his head.

Then he gave a reply which shocked the girl: “Padarewski [the famed Polish pianist] was here a few years ago…
… and he said he wasn’t worthy to touch it.”

The Great Polish pianist felt himself unworthy to play on the piano, which was played the Legendary Beethoven…
… whereas the girl (a novice in piano), took false pride and gratified her vanity!

Great people realize the significance and prominence of others…
… and in humility, lower themselves in rightful acknowledgement!

How many of us dare to humble ourselves, especially before the immensity of God?

How many of us choose to walk the path of humility, and be willing to follow the Ways of God?

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortatory teaching of Jesus on the importance of His Followers to be immersed into a life of humility.

Jesus was walking with His disciples, teaching them on the way….

He began to speak to them of how, He – the Son of Man “would be delivered into the hands of men, and they would kill Him…” (Mk 9:31)

Jesus was the epitome of self-emptiness and total self-giving

He expected His disciples to also learn from Him (Mt 11:29) and follow His lifestyle

St Paul in his letter to the Philippians speaks of this self-emptying (“kenosis”) of the Lord:
“He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave….He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 7-8)

And so Jesus tells His disciples of how He would be handed over to human hands and suffer death

He was teaching them…
… how He had to enter into the waters of Humility – in being handed over to human hands
… how He had to pass through the valleys of Humbleness – in suffering death on the Cross

But, sadly, the disciples were able to give little heed to these “Acts of Humility” of the Lord
… They were busy discussing who would be the Greatest among them
… They were occupied in arguing who would be the First among them (Mk 9:34)

And so the Lord gives them the thumb rule to be His Follower: Humility of Heart – “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all” (Mk 9:35)

Humility…
… was to be the sole stepping-stone to greatness in the Kingdom of God
… was to be the lone way to be considered worthy in the Divine Way of Life

We need to examine our lives: Am I living a life of humility?

Do I try to always have it “my way” and insist solely on feeding my ego and my pride?
Am I willing to let go of my cravings for position and fame, and embrace a life of service?

Ralph Emerson, an essayist and poet once said, “A great man is always willing to be little”

Every Christian is expected to follow the Way of Humility – which was the Way of Christ!

He humbled Himself – and expects each of us to live in humility
He came to serve, and not to be served – and challenges us too, to be so
He let go of His personal glory and self-desires – and dares us to “let go” and “allow God!”

May we humble ourselves before the Immense Presence of God… like a child…
… and entrusting our cares to the Lord, find Him supporting… strengthening… and lifting us up! (Cf. Ps 54:23)

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
GOD’S SPIRIT AND WORD – IN THEOPHANIES AND THE LAW

Theophanies (manifestations of God) light up the way of the promise, from the patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the visions that inaugurated the missions of the great prophets.
Christian tradition has always recognized that God’s Word allowed himself to be seen and heard in these theophanies, in which the cloud of the Holy Spirit both revealed him and concealed him in its shadow.
This Divine Pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law.
God gave the letter of the Law as a “pedagogue” to lead his people towards Christ.
But the Law’s powerlessness to save man deprived of the divine “likeness,” along with the growing awareness of sin that it imparts, enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit.

The lamentations of the Psalms bear witness to this. (Cf. CCC # 707-708)