✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 08, 2022: Monday

“Being grateful to our Crucified Lord, remembering that ‘PAIN PASSES, BUT BEAUTY REMAINS!'”

(Based on Ezek 1:2-28 and Mt 17:22-27 – Monday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

An incident is told about a master painter, who had a very fervent student-disciple.

The master was suffering from a severe bout of arthritis.

It was very painful for him to paint.
He had to hold his brush between his thumb and index finger.
>> And as he painted, the student-disciple often heard him crying out in pain.


On one such occasion, the student asked the old master:
“Why do you go on painting, if it hurts so much?”

The master looked up to his disciple, and with an assuring smile replied:
“Remember always, son…
… Pain passes, but beauty remains!”


Every selfless act of suffering and struggle indeed leaves an imprint of lasting beauty and splendour.

In the canvas of Salvation History, the Son of Man indeed had to go through much suffering…
… but the painting finally reveals the Great Truth: “PAIN PASSES, BUT BEAUTY REMAINS!”


The painting of salvation indeed displays immense Generosity and magnanimous Mercy of the Lord, Who paid a “ransom” to save His people

He spared no efforts in getting His people released…
… by suffering on the Cross
… shedding His Blood
… giving up His life
… and rising from the dead

Have we fallen in love with this MASTER Who gave Himself up for us?
>> Are we willing to live our life in obedience, and in imitation of the command of Him, Who ransomed His life for us?


The Gospel of the Day presents an interesting, yet a ‘not-too-familiar’ passage of Jesus and His disciples being asked to pay the Temple tax.
“When Jesus and His disciples came to Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax approached Peter and said, “Doesn’t your Teacher pay the Temple tax?” (Mt 17: 24)


What was this Temple tax?

The Temple tax was …
… a symbolic gesture in gratitude for what the people of Israel owed to God, for their redemption from slavery in the land of Egypt.

It was a Jewish tax with its origins seen in Ex 30: 12-16:
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel… The half-shekel shall be an offering to the LORD.”

This offering was to be an “atonement money”, which would be used for the service of the meeting tent (Ex 12: 16)


In later centuries, this half-shekel was adopted as the amount of the Temple Tax – the one that all Jews were supposed to pay once a year for the upkeep and maintenance of the Jerusalem Temple.

The Temple Tax was thus an “atonement” money
>> It was a “ransom” money!


It is fascinating to note that the incident of this “ransom/atonement” money is mentioned immediately after Jesus spoke of His Passion and Death.

Jesus told His disciples in Mt 17:22-23:
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day”


The incident of the Temple tax, which is the atonement/ransom money, is mentioned…
… immediately after Jesus speaks of His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

Is there any connection between these two incidents?


The Temple tax was in gratitude for the redemption of Israel from slavery
… Jesus would now free all people from the slavery of sin by His Death and Resurrection

The Temple Tax was paid as “ransom” money…
… The Blood of Jesus would now be the “ransom” that will be paid for redemption of humanity.


Jesus did not resist His disciples from paying the Temple Tax…
… as we would see in the incident of the miraculous catch of the fish with a coin in the mouth (Mt 17: 27)


But the perfect payment of the “tax”…
… would be done by Jesus Himself – by His Sufferings, Death and Resurrection!

Jesus would not just pay the tax…
… He would also give Himself in complete obedience to the Father

Thus, He would becoming the “tax” – the ransom and the atonement money!

1 Tim 2:6 says, “Jesus gave Himself as a ‘ransom’ for all”
>> Mk 10:45 says “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ‘ransom’ for many”


It is interesting to also note that this incident of the Temple Tax brings reminds us of the former occupation (trade) of two of the disciples of Jesus:

1. Matthew… who was a tax collector (Mt 9:9)
(Probably that explains why this incident is mentioned only in the Gospel of St Matthew)

2. Peter… who was a fisherman (Mt 4:18)
(That’s why Jesus asks Peter to “go to the sea, take the first fish that comes up, and open the mouth to find a coin…”)
Matthew and Peter could represent any of us…


Maybe, like Mathew – the Tax Collector…

We are collecting a lot of things in life…
… but still not finding peace in life!
We are occupied with material dimensions at our “own tables”…
… or find ourselves at the receiving end of not being accepted and being looked down by others.


Maybe, like Peter – the fisherman…

We are fishing in the waters of life for contentment and satisfaction…
.. but fail to have a catch!
We are putting in a lot of effort to fish for success, yet finding none…
… or find ourselves drowning in a sea of sin, hopelessness or despair


Whoever we are…

The Lord extends His loving invitation…
… to leave our “tables of collection” and follow Him!
… to cast away our “nets of fish” and follow Him!


He has become the “Ransom”…
… in Whom we can find the ‘collection’ of all joys and contentment of life!
… in Whom we can witness the ‘great catch’ of salvation and redemption!

By this great act, He gave the “Ransom”…
… for our freedom from captivity!

By His humbling sacrifice, He paid the “Atonement money”…
… for our salvation for eternal life!


Let us fall in love with the Man Who gave Himself up for us!
>> Let us be willing to live our life in obedience and imitation of His commands Who ransomed His life for us!


When our Christian witnessing takes us through struggles and pains, let’s be grateful to our Crucified Lord, remembering: “PAIN PASSES, BUT BEAUTY REMAINS!”


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
>> Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit – his actions, his gifts, and his biddings…
… in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life.
>> To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community.
>> The latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands. (CCC # 1309)
——————————-

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 07, 2022: Sunday

“Keeping ourselves fit, healthy and ready – not just physically – but much more spiritually, for the Kingdom of God!”

(Based on Wis 18:6-9, Heb 11:1-2,8-12 and Lk 12:35-40 – 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

Bob, a fitness trainer was sharing his experiences to a group of Christian youngsters.
>> As a fitness trainer, Bob would spend hours at the gym – himself working out, and helping others to obtain good health

However, this workout and spending time at the gym, did not prevent him from his Christian obligations…
… he was regular for all the Sacraments
… he had a good personal prayer life, with daily reading of the Bible.

Talking to the youth, Bob said, “My young friends!
God wants fit, healthy and ready people for His Kingdom!
>> This fitness and readiness is not just about our physical bodies, but much more about our spiritual body!”

And then he added, “Remember always the words of St Paul in his letter to Corinthians:
All who compete in the games use strict training.
>> They do this so that they can win a prize—one that doesn’t last…
… but our prize is one that will last forever!”


Do we keep ourselves fit, healthy and ready – not just physically – but much more spiritually, for the Kingdom of God?


The Gospel of the Day gives an exhortation to be prepared, and arm ourselves for the coming of the Lord:
“You must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour, you do not expect” (Lk 12:40)

The Greek word used for the term “ready” is “hetoimos”… from a noun “heteos” which means to be fit….
>> It has a connotation of being prepared and seeking for fitness!


In today’s modern world, a lot of emphasis is placed on being health-conscious and maintaining oneself to be fit and fine.

As followers of Christ, we need to remember that this aspect of being healthy is to be extended beyond the physical body, to also the spiritual dimension of our lives.
>> One needs to be not just physically fit, but also be spiritually strong.
>> One needs to be not just bodily healthy, but also be spiritually tough.

It is this spiritual strength & toughness that will help us to be always ready to be prepared for the coming of the Lord.


There are several factors which affect the fitness of our physical bodies…
… and perhaps the similar factors could also be applied to the fitness for our spiritual lives.

1. Faulty food affects the fitness of our physical bodies

Proper food plays a vital role in having a healthy body.
>> It is very important to regulate the intake of our food and to have a check on the type of food.


We need to apply this same principle to our spiritual lives as well…

What is the type of food that I am feeding for my spiritual life?
>> Do I lavish myself on unhealthy thoughts of lust and desires, harmful words of indecency and lewdness and dangerous actions of immorality and wickedness?
>> Do I feed myself with the precious Word of God and nourish myself with His inspirations and wisdom?
>> Do I nourish myself with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist?


2. Faulty lifestyle affects the fitness of our physical bodies.

It is important to have a disciplined and self-controlled lifestyle in order to maintain our fitness.
>> A regular habit of exercises and workouts coupled with moments for relaxation and leisure from tension-filled works is important.
>> One must also avoid various bad addictions which can hinder having a good physical shape.


We need to apply this same principle to our spiritual lives as well…

What is the type of lifestyle I am leading, with respect to my spiritual life?
>> Do I exercise myself with the daily and regular habits of prayer, Bible Reading, pious practises and devotions?
>> Do I spare time and energy to make some sacrifices and reparations for various causes, especially as a remorse for our sins?
>> Do I make constant efforts to give up on some of our bad cravings, obsessions or habits?


3. Faulty environment affects the fitness of our physical bodies.

It is also essential that one maintains a clean and good environment in order to prevent being affected by diseases or sicknesses.
>> One must also seek to avoid any harmful situations or surroundings which can adversely affect the health.


We need to apply this same principle to our spiritual lives as well…

What is the type of environment that I am providing and surrounding my spiritual life?
>> Do I keep myself away from occasions of sin and shield myself away from harmful possibilities like bad books, friends, movies or songs, jokes and other cheap entertainments?
>> Do I strengthen my spiritual life with the powerful grace that is bestowed in the Sacrament of the Confession by a regular acknowledgment of my sins?
>> Do I seek the company of good people, nurture spiritual friendships and also foster a childlike companionship with the holy saints and angels?


Christian Life is a battle and a warfare…against the forces of the Evil.

We need to arm our spiritual lives mightily with the power and strength from God.
>> It is easy to give up on fitness.
>> It is easy to live a relaxed life and take life too casually.

But such a careless life, will lead us to a tragic end as that of the Unfaithful Servant in the parable that the Lord tells in today’s Gospel (Lk 12: 45-46)


It has been recorded that a Greek commander, just before a coming battle is reported to have said: “The secret of victory is in ‘getting ready well!’”
>> Let us also seek for faithfulness in our Christian Life and as ‘ready soldiers’, let us be constantly “on the watch.”


Yes… let us keep ourselves fit, healthy and ready – not just physically – but much more spiritually, for the Kingdom of God…
… remembering that “our prize is one that will last forever!”


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
>> Although Confirmation is sometimes called the “sacrament of Christian maturity,” we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need “ratification” to become effective.
>> St. Thomas reminds us of this:
Age of body does not determine age of soul.
>> Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: “For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years.
>> “Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood. (CCC # 1308)
——————————-

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 06, 2022: Saturday

“Praying for His Grace to be truly listening and following the voice of our Master!”

(Based on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord)

George Washington was the first president of the United States and one of the founding fathers of the US.
>> He was well admired for his strong leadership skills that saw him win the first two national elections unanimously.

Once at a banquet, given to some of the officers, a distinguished French Officer asked Washington’s mother, how she had managed to rear such a splendid son.

The mother replied, “I taught him to obey!”


Obedience was the school that he had been trained in, in order to achieve excellence of life!

In Christian life too, obedience ought to be the school in which we are trained, to be effective apostles of the Lord…
… Obedience to the Voice of the Lord
… Obedience to the Will of the Lord


The Feast of the Transfiguration is an exhortation by God…
… to listen to His voice and to be obedient to Him.


The scene of the Transfiguration is indeed a powerfully visual and authoritatively impactful incident.

Jesus takes three disciples – the core team among the Twelve – Peter, James and John – and led them up a high mountain. (Lk 9: 28)


Why were these three chosen? …and not others?

Well, we can only make some guess-works… because the bottom-line is:
“They were ‘chosen'”
(Choice is always a gift, and not a merit!)


PETER
Probably as the one who is the Leader
>> The one to whom the Lord entrusts to be the rock on which He would build His Church (Mt 16:18)

JOHN
Probably as the one who had an intimate bond with the Lord
>> The one who is referred to as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23)

JAMES
Probably as the one who warranted a special privilege of being the first apostle to be martyred.
>> The one who would be the first among the apostles to literally lose his life for Jesus (Lk 9:24)


These three also had a privilege of some “firsts”…
>> Peter was the “First” Pope
>> John was the “First” witness to the death of Christ
>> James was the “First” Martyr among the apostles


The choosing of the three also reflects Jesus as the New Moses!

Moses had chosen seventy (two) elders.
>> But when he went up to the mountain, there were three close men with him: Aaron, Nadab, and Abiu. (Exodus 24:1)

Jesus had chosen twelve apostles.
>> But when he went up to the mountain, there were three close men with him: Peter, James and John (Lk 9:28)


Jesus is the New Moses…
… through whom the New Covenant will be established!
… through whom the New Law will be written on the tablets of the heart!


Up on the mountain, witnessing the glorious and magnificent Transfiguration, the disciples behold their Master, Jesus in dazzling white… joined by Elijah and Moses. (Lk 9:30)

And then, they hear a voice, from the cloud…
“This is my Beloved Son! Listen to Him!” (Lk 9:35)


“LISTEN TO HIM” is the commandment that is exhorted!

The Apostles are to listen to the Beloved Son, Jesus and grasp His teachings for life
>> The Apostles are to listen to the Beloved Son’s commitment in the path of suffering.
>> The Apostles are to listen to the Beloved Son’s trust in God’s Will at every moment


The same words are today echoed boldly and loudly to each one of us: “This is my Beloved Son! Listen to Him!”


>> Life will take us through many deserts and desolations of difficulties.
>> Life will put us through various storms and hurricanes of hardships.
In all such moments, we need to be ready and open, to listen to the Voice of the Lord!


When we are in the dry deserts of life, we are asked to be totally obedient to God.
>> The Lord will take us through…
… every crisis
… every desert
… every darkness
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8: 31)

Let us grow in our efforts to be completely obedient to our Master!
>> Let us pray for His grace to be truly listening and following the voice of our Master!


Are we ready to listen and obey the voice of the Lord?


Happy Feast of the Transfiguration!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
>> For centuries, Latin custom has indicated “the age of discretion” as the reference point for receiving Confirmation.
>> But in danger of death children should be confirmed even if they have not yet attained the age of discretion. (CCC # 1307)
——————————-

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 05, 2022: Friday

“Requesting for a stop at Calvary – to embrace the Cross of Christ!”

(Based on Nah 2:1,3; 3:1-3, 6-7 and Mt 16:24-28 – Friday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Dayton Ohio in America has an elevated railway.

One of the stations of this railway was near a great Roman Catholic burial ground named Calvary Cemetery.
>> The name of this station was Calvary Station.

The unique aspect of this station was that the trains did not stop at this station, except on request.

The reason?


For several years, in that part of the town, there were many more dead than living people.

Therefore, just after leaving the nearest station, the train guard would open the door and shout:
“Next station is Calvary! Train stops on request only…
>> Anybody for Calvary?”


Perhaps this a parable of life’s train!

At all other stations, life’s train stops – market-street station, school-street station, church-street station, home-avenue station etc…
>> But only at one station, there is a stop only when someone chooses to: the Station of Calvary!


The Gospel of the Day has Jesus, the Guard of our Life’s Train echoing the invitatory words, “Anybody for Calvary?”

Jesus tells His disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after Me, must deny Himself, take up His cross and follow Me” (Mt 16:24)


One of the finest aspects about Jesus, as a Person and as a Teacher, is the clarity and precision that He maintained in all His words and deeds.

He was clear and precise of what was His Mission on the earth
>> He is clear and precise also, of what is expected of His followers.

There is no pretense or deception in His talks.
>> There are no loopholes or strings attached in His demands

He makes it precisely clear that the one who follows Him must fulfil the three basic conditions:
Denying Oneself
Taking up the Cross
Following Him


1. Denying oneself – demands that one is willing to entrust the reins of one’s life totally to the Master.
>> It means a priority of the highest order that is reserved for the Lord and His Kingdom
>> It means a constant rejection of desires that cause the self to be greater than the Lord

2. Taking up the Cross – demands that one is wholeheartedly and readily willing to do one’s duty as a Christian, joyfully and steadily
>> It means an availability to be at the service of the Lord and His Kingdom at all times
>> It means a seeking and an acceptance of the Will of God at every moment of life

3. Following Him – demands that one keeps a steadfast focus on the Lord alone and keeping away anything that would cause a distraction
>> It means a faithful and an unflinched commitment to walk only on the path that the Lord demands
>> It means a radical letting go of anything that can be contrary to the Gospel ways and the Kingdom values.


But very often we find that these things are easier said, than done…

We wish to deny ourselves.
>> But too often….
… our selfish desires dominate over us and we get disillusioned
… we give in to making excuses or dilute the seriousness of our call

We wish to take up our cross.
>> But too often…
… we feel ourselves overburdened with responsibilities
… we fear the hardships of disciplining ourselves and shy away from it

We wish to follow Him.
>> But too often…
… worldly distractions and human affairs preoccupy us and our hearts get divided in our loyalty to the Lord
… our enthusiastic hearts get weighed down by scandals or lack of motivations or even opposing forces.


Prophet Nahum strongly reminds us of the danger of straying away from the known and revealed paths of the Lord – just like the city of Nin’evah had failed to have a ‘sustained turning away from sin’…
… “I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt, and make you a gazingstock.
>> And all who look on you will shrink from you and say, Wasted is Nin′eveh; who will bemoan her? Whence shall I seek comforters for her?” (Nah 3:6-7)


Yes… the Lord, through today’s Gospel gives a call once again – to embrace a life of the Cross!

The way of the Cross is the only true path for a Christian.
>> That was the way of the Lord.

That is to be the way of each follower too.


As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian says, “To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ”.

A life embracing the cross is the hallmark of a Christian – in self-denial, in total commitment and with complete sincerity.

It’s a stumbling block for the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks (1 Cor 1:23)
>> But to those who believe, it is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1: 24)


As our life-train chugs on, Jesus, the Guard echoes the call, “Anybody for Calvary?”

Are we willing to request for a stop at Calvary – to embrace the Cross of Christ?


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
>> Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation.
>> Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that “the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time”…
… for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete (CCC # 1306)
——————————-

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 04, 2022: Thursday

“Being enriched by Jesus, the humble Carpenter of Nazareth… just like St John Maria Vianney!”

(Based on Jer 31:31-34 and Mt 16:13-23 – Thursday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2 – Feast of St John Maria Vianney, Patron Saint of all Priests)

A beautiful write-up found on the entrance wall of a library goes thus:

“Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40 and Jesus for only 3 years.
>> Yet the influence of Christ’s ministry…
… infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined years of teaching from these greatest of philosophers.

Jesus painted no pictures…
… yet some of the finest artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him.

Jesus wrote no poetry…
… but Dante, Milton and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him.

Jesus composed no music…
… still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the music they composed in His praise.

Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.

ARE YOU READY TO BE ENRICHED TOO?”

The quality of our Christian Life, indeed, depends on the quality and understanding our relationship with our Blessed Lord!

The more we deepen our relationship with the Lord…
… the greater we will be able to radiate His Love and Goodness in our life!

The more we grow in our understanding of the Lord…
… the deeper will be the nourishing and enrichment that we will experience by His Grace!

The Gospel of the Day invites each one of us, to examine:
Am I understanding the Lord – and thus, is He a strength to me?
… or am I misunderstanding Him – and thus, is He a stumbling block to me?

Understanding or Misunderstanding Jesus will play the pivotal role in our daily spiritual existence!

On reaching Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:13), Jesus poses a dual question to His disciples…
Who do people say that He is … and who do the Disciples say that He is.


This two-fold question of Christ… evokes two answers…
1. The Opinion of Jesus as being only Human
>> The people understand Jesus as John the Baptist, or Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets (Mt 16: 14)

2. The Opinion of Jesus as being only Divine
>> St Peter, as the Captain of the Group, with a heavenly revelation, declares Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God! (Mt 16: 16)

It’s interesting that after this question-answer session, the Lord Himself chooses to give an answer on who He is!

And this answer of the Lord is a key to our understanding or misunderstanding Jesus.

Jesus declares that He would be a suffering God….
He would be the Man to undergo many persecutions! (Mt 16: 21)
>> He is not only Human.
>> He is not only Divine.
… He is the Suffering God-Man!

Am I able to accept this reality dimension of Jesus?

He is amazing in His Human teachings… He is wonderful in His Divine Deeds.
>> But He is also the Afflicted, the Maltreated, the Victimized and the Wronged.

He is classic in His Human examples… He is awesome in His Divine miracles.
>> But He is also the Suffering, the Persecuted, the Sacrificed and the Tortured.

>> He is not only Human.
>> He is not only Divine.
… He is the Suffering God-Man!

And like Peter, perhaps some of us shy away from accepting this Painful Reality of the Lord…
… “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you” (Mt 16: 22)


We love to follow Him in His exhortations…
>> We love to be enamoured in His wondrous doings.

But we back off…at the mention of His pains, difficulties, persecutions and anguish.

>> We like a Sociable Christ…
… One Who gives equal status to all in the society and breaks sociological barriers

>> We like a political Christ…
… One Who is fearless to challenge the political corruption of the society

>> We like a Revolutionary Christ…
… One Who demands to go beyond the comfort zones of our life

But do we embrace the Suffering Christ?
>> Do we accept the “Saviour” Christ?

Do we consent to the Crucified Christ?

It’s easy to misunderstand Jesus as only a mere human hero.
>> It’s easy to misunderstand Jesus as only an awesome Divine entity.
But it’s not so easy to understand and accept Him as the Heroic and Awesome and Suffering God-Man!

Understanding or Misunderstanding Jesus will indeed play the pivotal role in our daily spiritual existence!

Today, let us seek for the grace to accept and understand truly the Person and Divinity of Jesus.

Let us make Him the true strength of our lives.
>> Let us behold Him in the Eucharist.
>> Let us encounter Him in prayer.
>> Let us recognize Him in the Word!

Every sphere of human greatness has been greatly enriched by the humble Carpenter of Nazareth.
>> Let us also be ready, to be enriched by Him!


Today we celebrate the Feast of St John Maria Vianney, the patron saint of all the priests!

May the words of the Saintly Priest motivate us:
“You cannot please both God and the world at the same time; they are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions.”

“I tell you that you have less to suffer in following the cross than in serving the world and its pleasures.”


Let us also pray specially for Priests all over the world, that their Patron Saint – St John Maria Vianney – may intercede, to help all priests…
… to be more holy and faithful to their Noble Vocation
… to be more zealous in administering the Sacraments and giving His Word
… to be more passionate in Loving the Lord and bringing many more to His Love!


Happy Feast to all the Priests!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
>> This “character” perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism…
… and “the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (CCC # 1305)
——————————-

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 03, 2022: Wednesday

“Seeking the Grace of God, to remain ever-faithful to our Blessed Lord – the God of all peoples!”

(Based on Jer 31:1-7 and Mt 15:21-28 – Wednesday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Years back, in the late 1900’s, engineers were asked to give their opinions on a possible railroad through the Andes Mountains

(Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world; it passes through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina)

They concluded that the job would be an impossible one.

However, as a last resort, an engineer from Poland named Ernest Malinowski was called in.

Malinowski’s reputation as an engineer was famous, but he was in the aging sixtieth year of his life at that time.
The authorities feared to impose such a rigorous task on the old man.

Malinowski, however, assured the representatives that the job could be done.

The railway began to worm its way across the Andes from Peru with sixty-two tunnels and thirty bridges along its way.

One tunnel ran up to 4,000 feet in length, 15,000 feet above the level of the sea.
On two occasions, revolutions in some of the countries through which the railroad passed, held up construction.
Once Malinowski had to even flee to Peru and remain in exile for a time

But nothing could prevent the old man in completing the engineering feat.

By 1880, work was completed on what, till recent times (2006), was the highest railroad in the world.

Malinowski had many barriers towards the achievement of this grand feat…
… The problems arising out of old age
… The challenging mountainous terrains
… The impossibility expressed by many other engineers

However, nothing of it could deter his determination in achieving what he wanted!

Life rewards abundantly, those who are willing to challenge the barriers and be persistent in overcoming them!

The Gospel of the Day presents the beautiful story of a mother who dared to “break through” the mountainous terrains of religious prejudices, social ignominy and personal misery to bridge blessings from God for her precious daughter.

Jesus had withdrawn to the district of Tyre and Sidon (Mt 15:21)


In the Old Testament times, this region was better known as the area of the tribes of the Canaanites.

Over the years, the land had grown in paganism as well as corruption.

Their presence was a strong threat to the purity of Israel’s religion and morality.

Therefore, there was a long history of spiritual and military clashes between the Israelites and Canaanites.

It was in this place that Jesus meets one of them – a woman, whose daughter had been “severely possessed by a demon” (Mt 15:22b)

The presence of “that” woman, however, made the disciples of Jesus, to complain to their Master, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us” (Mt 15: 23b)

At this juncture, we hear two cries…

One – the cry of the woman
The other – the cry of the disciples

The woman cried out of helplessness and out of deep misery – for the “unclean” demon to be cast away from her daughter

The disciples cried out in wretchedness and disgust – for the “unclean” woman to be cast away from their presence

It’s interesting to note the wordplay in Greek, in the words of the disciples and those of the woman…

The disciples uttered, “APOLYSON – send her away”
The woman cried, “KYRIE ELEISON – have mercy, Lord”

These two similar-sounding yet contradicting choruses were ringing in the air – “Apolyson – Kyrie Eleison… Apolyson – Kyrie Eleison”

The Master then stepped in to say, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel… It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs” (Mt 15: 24, 26)

Perhaps the addressing of Jesus as a “dog” would have come as no surprise to the Canaanite woman.

It was a reminder of the sharp distinction that existed, historically, between the Blessed Israelites and the Cursed Canaanites.

The Jews “were” considered as the “children” and the Canaanites (Gentiles) “were” considered as “dogs”

And in every house, the children get fed first… not the dogs!

But the figurative tone set forth by Jesus, found its amazing reply in the words of the Canaanite woman, “Yes, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters” (Mt 15: 27)


Here was a glorious acknowledgement by the woman…
“Yes, I am a Canaanite, and considered to be a dog.
I do acknowledge that Israelites have a special privilege in the order of God’s grace.

But we too, deserve the Grace of God that is due to all people, in general!”

I demand not the privileged bread that is reserved to the mighty….
But, just the crumbs of Your grace will suffice in healing my ailing daughter!”

That was an amazing reply of persistent faith!

The mountainous terrains had been broken!
No religious prejudices, no social ignominy or no personal misery could prevent the bold faith of the woman to bridge the blessings of God’s healing!

Yes, life rewards abundantly, those who are willing to challenge the barriers and be persistent in overcoming them!

With immense pride, the Lord proclaimed, “O Woman, great is your faith” (Mt 15: 28)

Do we also seek to possess such kind of a tremendous faith and unperturbed persistence?

Sometimes we hear – like the cries of the disciples – discouraging voices and refraining chants…
Sometimes we have to encounter the agonizingly painful and silent response of the Lord…
Sometimes we have to bear humiliating challenges to our prayers and even disturbing answers from the Divine..

Yet, like this wonderful mother, who was determined to break down every “mountain” of barrier, for the sake of a miracle for her daughter…
… do we remain courageous, firm and bold in our faith and trust in the Lord?


St Francis de Sales says, “when you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them; try to bend them with gentleness and time.”


Let us seek the Grace of God, to remain ever-faithful to our Blessed Lord – the God of all peoples…
… with firmness in our faith
… perseverance in our piety
… and courage in our convictions!


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
>> Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once…
… for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,”…
… which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be His witness. (CCC # 1304)
——————————-

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 02, 2022: Tuesday

“Firmly securing and being safe with JESUS, the ROCK!”

(Based on Jer 30:1-2,12-15,18-22 and Mt 14:22-36 – Tuesday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Creation around us – created by our Good God – has many lessons to teach us.

One such lesson is mentioned in the Book of Proverbs, where it speaks about a small animal named badger

Prov 30:26: “The badgers are a people without power, yet they make their homes in the rocks!”

The badger is a weak, timid little animal – like a rabbit or hare.

It has no means of defense in itself
Though it like a rabbit, it can’t run like one.
Though it resembles a mole, it can’t dig deep like one.

So when it’s foes – the vulture or the eagle comes in sight…
… it realises it cannot fight back in defense or run away fast!

So what does the badger do to find safety and protection?

Knowing that it is a “feeble fold,” it rushes straight to the rocks!

The badger repositions itself among the rocks, to remain safe and secure!

The badger lets the rocks to defend it…
… and the foes fight a miserable fight against the rocks
… and leave the badger in peace!

How beautiful a lesson is this to all of us, who often get attacked by the “foes of troubles, distractions, temptations and despairs of life!”

Weak as we are…
… we can find our refuge, protection and strength if we go straight to our Rock – JESUS!

Have we learnt this method of facing the challenges of life, by taking refuge in Jesus…
… especially in the “trying” moments of life?

The Gospel of the Day is a reminder and a lesson on this beautiful aspect of trusting and depending on the Lord – in every situation of life.

After the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus dismissed the crowds.
He made the disciples to get into the boat, while He went up to the mountains to pray (Mt 14: 22-23)

Here is a great lesson that Jesus teaches us…

There will be many success stories that would be woven in life.
• Yet, all those occasions ought to lead us closer to God – the source of every success.

Every success in life ought to, not make us proud – instead, in humility, lead us to grow closer to God – in gratitude and for greater strength.

There will also be times when the sun shines bright and there are many admirers thronging our life.
• Yet, all those occasions ought to make us realise that in God alone ought to be my true joy and satisfaction.

Every joy of life ought to, not make us lose ourselves in the thickets of achievements – instead, in meekness, help us to depend more on God – in trust and for greater faith.

As the disciples were lost on the sea, with the winds and waves turning against them, they saw Jesus walking on the sea (Mt 14: 25)

However, Jesus sought to drive away every ‘ghostly fears’ and assured them of His presence.

Peter, however, the leader of the gang took the initiative of going towards Jesus and walking on the water.

He even made his first steps on the waters.

However, when he saw the mighty winds, he got frightened and cried out, “Lord, save me” (Mt 14: 30)

Immediately, the Gospel says, “Jesus stretched out His Hand and caught him and said to him ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (Mt 14: 31)

Here was life throwing a mighty challenge to Peter:

Whether he could trust in God or not…
Whether to continue ahead in life or not…
Whether he could have his focus on God or not…

As long as he had his focus on the Lord, things were fine

But the moment, he wavered in this “focus”, Peter began to sink

The boats of our Christian lives often pass through the stormy waters of problems and difficulties.

There will be many moments when our faith makes attempts “to walk on the waters” with the Lord.

• As long as we keep our focus on Him, things would be fine.
• As long as we don’t look at the waters and instead look on to Jesus, things would be good.

But the moment there is a “deviation” in this focus – there will be the “sinking” experience!

Can we grow in our trust… in being always focussed on the Lord?

In the face of many challenges of life, we often are rendered to be a “feeble fold”

But let’s never lose heart!

As Prov 30:26 reminds us: “The badgers are a people without power, yet they make their homes in the rocks!”

Let us take refuge in Jesus, the Rock of our life!

When attacked by the “foes of troubles, distractions, temptations and despairs of life”…
… let us find refuge, protection and strength, by going go straight to our Rock – JESUS!

Are we ready to REPOSITION ourselves…
… and firmly secure and be safe amidst JESUS, the ROCK?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION

Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:

  • it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”
  • it unites us more firmly to Christ;
  • it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
  • it renders our bond with the Church more perfect
  • it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ…

… to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. (CCC # 1303)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Aug 01, 2022: Monday

“Praying, LEAD KINDLY LIGHT, and overcoming every failure by the Grace of God!”

(Based on Jer 28:1-17 and Mt 14:13-21 – Monday of the 18th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A brave missionary – known to have pioneered many missions – was sharing his experiences with a group of novices (group of brothers, before taking the evangelical vows, in a religious order/congregation)

In his interaction with the young and aspiring novices…
… he recounted the many moments of struggles and “apparent failures” that he had to face in the missions.


Yet with much joy in his heart and a special sparkle in the eyes, he exhorted:
“My dear novices… the words of one of the beautiful hymns that we often sing, as part of our Night Prayer (Compline – Divine Office) gave me a lot of strength, at the end of every day.

‘Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
>> Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
>> Lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.’”


The great missionary did encounter moments of failures in life…
… but what kept him going, was the hope and conviction to see the Hand of the Lord, leading and guiding Him!


Yes, failure is something which we surely encounter very often in our lives!
>> We fail to stand up to ours and others’ expectations in our personal lives…
>> We fail to answer to the needs and demands of our family or community lives…
>> We fail to respond to the challenges and duties of our responsibilities in our societal lives…

Failure creates clouds of hopelessness.
>> Failure causes pangs of anxieties!

But every failure, can also be the gateway to venture into a fresh framework of opportunities…


The background of today’s Gospel is a very disturbing one: the beheading of John the Baptist!

The Voice which heralded the Coming of the Saviour…
>> The Voice which had provided hope…
… had been brutally silenced!


Jesus, on hearing this news, withdrew to a lonely place.


The inhuman murder…
Of His Cousin
Of His companion in the Works of the Kingdom…
… was a Moment of Great Pain to the Lord
… perhaps, even a Great Setback to Him!

Disappointment was apparently looming large…
>> The Mission hereafter was not going to be easy…
Failure was knocking at the doors…

But every failure, can also be the gateway to venture into a fresh framework of opportunities…


Though filled with pain and sorrow and grief…
… Jesus continues His ministry of preaching the Kingdom of God.

And thus we see our Blessed Lord multiplying the loaves and feeding the crowds (Mt 14: 15-21)


The Evil King Herod, had feasted on the vices of self-pleasure and debauchery
>> The Good King Jesus, would make a feast on the virtues of compassion and self-giving!

The Evil King Herod spread a party of lewdness, trudging on the death of an innocent man
>> The Good King Jesus would host a party of God’s Mercy and Tenderness, inviting to eternal life!


Jesus failed to get bogged down by failures…
>> He did not allow Himself to be immersed in a sea of let-downs and disappointments.

Instead, He made His Compassionate and God-trusting Heart to shine through the clouds of darkness!


Jesus also taught His Disciples to not get disappointed or disheartened by “apparent” signs of failures or lack or success.


When Jesus asked His disciples to provide food for the hungry crowd, the disciples said:
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here” (Mt 14:17)

The disciples were expressing their possibility of ‘facing a failure’…
… “We have no resources, Lord!”
… “All what we have is just not good enough to be successful!”


But the Lord – Who had refused to be bogged down by failure – now teaches the Disciples to also imitate Him…
>> Not being disappointed with possibilities of failures…
… instead, entrusting whatever we are and however we are, to the Bountiful Care of the Father

>> Not getting discouraged by situations of lack of success…
… instead, giving praise to the Lord at all times, knowing that He works wonders and miracles – in His Time, In His Way!


The same resources which signified nothingness – five loaves and two fish:
… were now transformed by the Lord as food for thousands!
… were now symbols of God’s power and providence!

You and I…
… Are we facing failures at this moment?
… Is our spiritual life going downhill?
… Are we lost in the society- facing rejections and encountering disappointments in all areas of our life?


Do we feel that FAILURE become part and parcel of our existence?

Fear not…!
Give up not hope…!
>> Let us hold on to the Lord…
… the same Lord who was “face-to-face with failure” after the brutal murder of His Cousin
… the same Lord who worked a miracle for his disciples who were “face-to-face with failure” in ministry


Success is…
… being faithful, to do God’s works: however little they be – in the time & place, God wishes!

Success is…
… persevering and holding on to God’s Will: however painful they be – in the manner, God wishes!

Success is…
… resolutely being truthful to God’s Ways: however hard they be – in the way, God wishes!


Am I today being surrounded by a hazy atmosphere of failures and disappointments?

Look up to the Lord for inspiration…
… The Lord Who remained ever faithful to the Will of God and the Lord Who had to suffer on the Cross by virtue of His obedience and fidelity!
>> He shows what is true success!
>> He shows what is real achievement!


Yes, Faithfulness is more vital than success.
>> Authenticity is more needed than victory


Today we celebrate the Feast of a Great Saintly Doctor of the Church – St Alphonsus Liguori, the Patron Saint of Theologians – the Founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists)

Let us give heed to his words:
“The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him.
>> This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God…
… and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone”


As we begin a new month, with faith and hope, let’s pray: “LEAD KINDLY LIGHT…”


God Bless! Live Jesus!
——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION – THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
>> It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit…
… as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. (CCC # 1301)
——————————–

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 31, 2022: Sunday

“Living with the conviction that all our works and activities ought to be always oriented solely towards the Glory of God’s Greatness – Ad majorem Dei gloriam!”

(Based on Eccles 1:2, 2:21-23, Col 3:1-5, 9-11 and Lk 12:13-21 – 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

King Louis IV was, from 1643-1715, the King of France – 72 years – which is the longest in modern European history.
>> He boasted himself as “The Great” and even took great pride in calling himself “I am the state”.

The “Great” king had even planned his own funeral to be just as spectacular.

He had instructed Bishop Massillon that upon his death…
>> He was to be laid in a golden coffin at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
>> At his funeral service the entire cathedral was to be completely dark…
… lit dimly by only one candle positioned above the coffin.

This was to be done so that all would be awed by the “Great” king’s presence, even in death.


When he died, Bishop Massillon did exactly as the King had instructed.

At the funeral, thousands of people gazed at the exquisite casket that had the mortal remains of their monarch…
… illuminated by a single flickering candle.


However, as the funeral service began, the Bishop slowly bent down…
>> And to the surprise of all…
… he blew out the candle which represented the late king’s greatness!

Then in the darkness, the Bishop proclaimed to all: ” “Dieu seul est grand – Only God is Great!”


It was a rebellious cry to both – the late king and to those who were attending the funeral who had called him “Louis XIV the Great!”


The world very often considers richness in terms of wealth, power and position, isn’t it?
>> But not God!


The world very often greatness in terms of worldly success and accomplishments., isn’t it?
>> But not God!



How about us?
>> Are we rich and great only in the eyes of the world..?
… or can we instead aspire and seek to be rich and great in the eyes of God?



The Gospel of the Day is a powerful reminder from the Lord on the need to understand the real meaning of “being rich”…
… and an invitation to be constantly on the guard against greed and avarice.


Chapter 12 of St Luke begins with the statement: “Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot” (Lk 12: 1)

Jesus had become a Phenomenon!
>> There were hundreds and thousands of people who were following Him


It’s from among these thousands (the Greek word used is “myriads”) of people, that the voice of one person catches the attention of Jesus.
>> And so we read, “Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me'” (Lk 12: 13)


We could imagine this situation…
>> Thousands of people crowding…
>> One man manages to shout above others… probably pushing others and comes in front… and puts forward a petition…


It is before the whole crowd (and probably before his brother), that this man wants Jesus to pronounce a favour for him…
… a favour for getting the inheritance and help to get riches


How often is our prayer to Jesus also similar to this man’s request…!
>> We want Jesus to answer our petitions in the way “we want” – to have favours granted in the manner and time that “we want”

The Will of God is often not consulted.

And when such “prayers of demand” and “claims of requirements” are not fulfilled or delayed…
… we get into despair and depression
… we accuse that none of our prayers are heard
… we blame that probably God is deaf to us and that our devotions are worthless


The man who made his “prayer of demand” and “claim of requirement” was probably…
… influenced by a greed to be rich and wealthy
… disposed by the vices of avarice and greed
>> He was wanting to have God’s approval for the same!

But Jesus refuses to be dragged into such a controversy…


Centuries back, Moses had been embroiled in an argument and was questioned back:
“Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?” (Ex 2:14a)


Jesus, aware of this, quoted in a similar fashion, ” Friend, who appointed Me as your judge and arbitrator?” (Lk 12:14)

Jesus had guessed the intentions of this man who put forward the petition…
>> And so He uses the occasion to teach him… and His disciples…
… and to each one of us: On the dangers of holding on to riches – things which are temporary and transient.


Jesus gives the Parable of the Rich Fool, and teaches us…
… It is not bad to work hard and to put in efforts to produce bountiful harvests
… it is not wrong to make use of God-given talents and reap richer produces.


However, it is also very essential to examine our attitudes towards prosperity and our attachments towards riches!

It is wrong…
… when we amass earthly wealth and riches without any care for heavenly treasures and spiritual gifts
… when we get pre-occupied only with material matters and neglect the requirements of our spiritual life
… when the pleasures of the body are given higher priority over the demands of the Kingdom of God


The parable teaches us on the dangers of being attached to wealth and riches
>> And challenges us to “Hold lightly, to what God has given us!”


In the light of this parable, we need to check…

… In my personal life
>> Does God have the first place in my life or are there other attachments that are given higher priority, attention and time?

… In our family life
>> Do we thank God for all our blessings and continually depend on Him by cultivating a spiritual culture or are other modern gadgets and social amusements that are given greater precedence?

… in our parish, community and religious life
>> Do we orient all our activities and ministries, solely for the glory of God and the service of the needy, and seek His intervention at every decision or do we play around with Christian values and even dilute or compromise them?


The Scripture constantly calls us to become aware of the worthlessness of earthly riches and calls to aspire for things which are higher in nature:
>> “Vanity of vanities… All is vanity!” (Eccl 1: 2)
>> “Set your minds on things that are above, and not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2)



God considers richness in terms of doing His Will and following His commandments
>> But not the world!

God equates greatness in terms of giving up our attachments for His sake and taking up our Cross daily
>> But not the world!


We are faced with this choice, at every moment….
>> Are we rich and great only in the eyes of the world..?
… or can we instead aspire and seek to be rich and great in the Eyes of God?



Let us always remember: “Only God is great!”
… and that all our works and activities ought to be always oriented solely towards the Glory of His Greatness!


Today, July 31st, we also specially seek the intercession, and be inspired by St Ignatius of Loyola, the Founder of the “Society of Jesus”(Jesuits), on his Feast Day.

His motto: Ad majorem Dei gloriam (“for the greater glory of God”) – is a great challenge and an inspiration for all of us.

May his prayer echo in our hearts:
“O my God, teach me to be generous!
Teach me to serve you as I should…
… to give without counting the cost,
… to fight without fear of being wounded,
… to work without seeking rest,
… to labour without expecting any reward,
>> But the knowledge that I am doing Your Most Holy Will.”


God Bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION
>> The sign of peace that concludes the rite of the Sacrament of Confirmation…
… signifies and demonstrates ecclesial communion with the bishop and with all the faithful. (CCC # 1301)
——————————–

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – July 30, 2022: Saturday

“Becoming persons who have our conscience always pure and always give heed to the voice of the Lord to be holy!”

(Based on Jer 26:11-16, 24 and Mt 14:1-12 – Saturday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

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.”


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 rottened 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).
>> 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 told: “This is John the Baptist, he has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him!” (Mt 14:2).


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


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!


The increasing popularity of Jesus caused Herod the Tetrarch, the ruler of the land, to come face-to-face with his guilty conscience.


Truth is always very powerful!
It can, silently, yet very authoritatively…
… challenge faulty lives
… prick guilty consciences
… confront culpable actions


Herod bore the guilt of having killed John the Baptist, who was the voice of the Truth.
>> He knew that he had done something extremely wicked and merciless
>> He knew that he had acted in opposition to truth, to honesty and to sincerity.


Therefore, the rising fame of the Lord – whom he misunderstood as John the Baptist – drove him to despair over that brutal act of the killing of the Baptist.

• The constant exposition to wicked thoughts and evil inclinations had caused his life to become a pillar of guilt-filled feelings!
>> Think wicked, and our character will decay into being evil…


On the other hand, was the righteous life of John the Baptist.

He was born with a sense of purpose – of being a voice to the Truth.

He maintained this goal by always living in sincerity – fearless and courageous.
>> To this end, he even valiantly shed his blood!


• The constant nurturing of holy purposes and sacred acts had caused his life to become a pillar of a purpose-filled existence!
>> Think nobler, and our character will mould into being noble…


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?

OR…

>> Can I be like John the Baptist, filled with a sense of purpose and clarity in life?


>> Is my life a chest-box of guilt-filled feelings – formed by deposits of wickedness, evil and sin?

OR…

>> Can my life be a treasure of a purpose-filled existence – formed by deposits of holy determination and sanctified lives?


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


God Bless! Live Jesus!
——————————–
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SIGNS AND THE RITE OF CONFIRMATION
>> The essential rite of the sacrament follows. In the Latin rite, “the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through the words: ‘Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti’ [Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.].”
>> In the Eastern Churches of Byzantine rite, after a prayer of epiclesis, the more significant parts of the body are anointed with myron: forehead, eyes, nose, ears, lips, chest, back, hands, and feet.
>> Each anointing is accompanied by the formula (Signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti): “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (CCC # 1300)
——————————–