REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 14, 2021: Tuesday

“Reflecting deeper on the Cross of our Blessed Lord, and preserving, nurturing and beautifying our lives – which is truly a ‘treasure in clay’ – in holiness and love!”

(Based on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross)

Venerable Fulton J Sheen is undoubtedly one of the greatest proponents of Catholicism of the 20th century.

In his autobiography titled, “Treasure in Clay,” Bishop Sheen gives a beautiful and heart-rending illustration of the Cross – the Crucifix:
“In the Crown of Thorns, I see my pride…
… my grasping for earthly toys, in the Pierced Hands,
… my flight from shepherding care, in the Pierced Feet
… my wasted love, in the Wounded Heart
… and my prurient desires, in the Flesh hanging from Him like Purple Rags!”

… on the Most Holy Cross, we have the autobiography of all our lives!

On this Great and Blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross, we turn our gaze towards the Cross on which our Blessed Lord redeemed us…
… as we gratefully thank Him for His Awesome Sacrificial Love
… and pledge to live a life in expectation of this Great Sacrifice of our Crucified Lord!

In the Gospel (Jn 3: 13-17), Jesus tells to Nicodemus, “… as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life” (Jn 3: 14)

Centuries before Jesus was crucified, Divinity in its Immense Wisdom was already preparing for the plan of salvation!

Having been powerfully freed from the slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel were travelling to the Promised Land through the wilderness.

However, this difficult journey caused the people to lose their patience, and they murmured against God and His servant, Moses on the lack of comforts!

The result of this sin was the plague of poisonous serpents that caused suffering and death to them. (Num 21: 4-9)

However at the intercession of Moses, God had him lift up a bronze serpent on a pole, so that all who looked it would be healed!

This was the foreshadowing of the Cross of Christ!

(This method of Interpreting the Bible is also called “Biblical Typology”

“Biblical Typology” refers to a person, place or event in the Old Testament that has its own proper significance…
… but also prefigures a person, place or event, later in the New Testament

In the words of St Augustine: “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is made manifest in the New!”)

Like the people of Israel, our life is a journey through the wilderness.

Sometimes there is a lack of comfort.
Sometimes there is an inflation of hardships
Sometimes there is an increase in uncertainty.
… And we begin to complain, grumble… falling into many sinful ways and habits!

But Divine Love, wanting to have us back to Him, provides us the means to be rescued from the deadly effects of such sins…
… The Holy Cross is the Symbol of this redemption and salvation that is won for us, by Christ!

Are we ready to take refuge in the shadows of this Holy Cross…
… and affirming our sincere acceptance of Christ in our lives, do we live a holy life, worthy of our salvation?

St John of the Cross would say, “The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily, must cast off all things…
… and use the Cross as his cane.

In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.”

Usually the heart is considered to be the great symbol of Love…

But, from a Christian perspective, probably, the Holy Cross is a greater and a more meaningful symbol of the Immense Love of God for each one of us.

The Cross demands sacrifice…
The Cross demands a self-emptying nature…
The Cross demands a complete commitment…
… And this is indeed the true nature of Love – sacrificial, self-emptying and committed! (Phil 2: 6-11)

As we honour and venerate the Holy Cross, may we hear the words of our Crucified Lord, tenderly whispering to us, with deep love and affection:
“You are mine, forever…
… and you belong to Me and to Me alone!

Hold on to My Cross, always!”

Two thieves on either sides, died with Christ on the Cross

One mocked Jesus…
… the other sought Jesus

One took pride in himself…
… the other humbled himself
One lost a golden opportunity…
… the other, won the Prized Paradise!

The Cross – with Jesus hanging – beckons to each one of one of us today

We have a choice…
… like both the thieves

What choice are we going to make?

Are we going to lose a golden opportunity…
… or are we going to seek the Prized Paradise?



May we reflect deeper on the autobiography of our lives, written on the Cross of our Blessed Lord…
… and thus preserve, nurture and beautify our lives – which is truly a “treasure in clay” – in holiness and love!

In the words of Ven. Fulton Sheen, “The ideal is to reach a point in practice, where, like Our Lord on the Cross, we witness to God even amidst abandonment and the agony of a crucifixion!”

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Cross!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

SEAL: The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing.
“The Father has set his seal” on Christ and also seals us in him.
Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders…
… the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible “character” imprinted by these three unrepeatable Sacraments.
THE HAND: Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.
In His Name, the apostles will do the same.
Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.
The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the “fundamental elements” of its teaching.

The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epiclesis. (Cf. CCC # 698-699)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 13, 2021: Monday

“Making our faith and our Christian living, worthy of an ovation from the King of kings!”

(Based on 1 Tim 2:1-8 and Lk 7:1-10 – Monday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time)

A standing ovation is a form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding…
… after extraordinary performances of particularly high acclaim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. The Centurion was an unusual person…
    A Centurion was a person who worked for the Roman Empire and were Gentiles.

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

This was rare indeed!

In the Roman Empire, slaves had no rights.

They could be mistreated and even put to death.

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

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

  1. The centurion showed an unusual faith…
    The Centurion came to Jesus asking and pleading for help.

But when Jesus said that He would come to his house and heal him, the centurion was quick to answer him, ” I am not worthy to have you under my roof” ( Mt 8:8)

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

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

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

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

And so a word was enough for the healing to take place…

An expression of approval was good enough for the miracle to happen…

  1. The Centurion received an unusual response
    This tremendous expression of faith was enough for Jesus to admire and appreciate Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a famous saying goes, “It is easy to praise the Lord…

But it really is a challenge to receive praises from the Lord!”

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

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

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

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

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CLOUD AND LIGHT: These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God
while veiling the transcendence of His glory.

In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures (Cf. CCC # 697)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 12, 2021: Sunday

“Being ready to give a bold and convinced answer to the Lord, from the depth of our hearts: ‘Lord, you are truly the Messiah of God; You truly are my Saviour and Lord!’”

(Based on Is 50:5-9a, Jas 2:14-18 and Mk 8:27-35 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

Most of us have been to hotels or cafeterias.

Hotels or cafeterias provide a menu book or a menu card, which allows customers to select and choose their choice of food or drink.

This choice of food depends on various factors:
The availability of food
… the company of friends we have
… the mood and feelings of our mind
… the time and occasion of the meal etc…

The choice of food varies based on several changing factors!

This cafeteria mentality works out very well for our food taste and our appetite.

But sometimes, we adopt a similar attitude, even in our Christian Lives!

We like to pick and choose aspects and portions of Christ and Christianity to fit into our choice…
We like to prefer and select parts and segments of Christ and Christianity which are more comfortable…

We follow a “Cafeteria Spirituality” in Christianity!

The Gospel of the Day warns and cautions against choosing this attitude of a Cafeteria Spirituality in following Christ and instead demands a total commitment:
“If anyone would follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Mk 8: 34)

Today’s Gospel is the familiar passage of Jesus enquiring His disciples with the dual-query, “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?” (Mk 7: 27b, 29)

The world may have innumerable answers when the question “Who do people say that I am?” is posed.

Many saw Jesus preaching zealously on repentance… and considered Him as John the Baptist
Many saw Jesus being mighty in deeds and wondrous acts… and considered Him as Elijah
Many saw Jesus powerfully authoritative in his words… and considered Him a Prophet

But most of them failed to see Jesus truly as the One He really was!


This can easily happen to any one of us too.

We may find Jesus as a source of many powers and many blessings and with many qualities.
… And we may tap this source for our various needs and wants.

We may be deeply impressed with Jesus and His huge treasury of teachings
… And we may admire and appreciate Him as a Great Moral Teacher

We may look at Jesus as being a wonderful person, like many other great people in the world
… And we may engage ourselves in studying about Him, collecting quotes on Him and reading various books on Him

But with all these “varied” qualities and dimensions, sometimes, we tend to forget the fact that our Blessed Lord…
… came not merely to be a storehouse of blessings and favours to be delivered
… came not simply to give some teachings and bring some societal transforms with some philosophies
… came not simply to be called as a “great man” and become a subject of many books, articles, talks etc

He primarily came to be Our Saviour!

He came to help us gain eternal life
He came to save us from our sins
He came to win us back to God

But sometimes, we adopt a “Cafeteria Spirituality” in our understanding and following of the Lord.

We choose the qualities we like but in the process, we might sometimes lose the very person Himself!

The Cafeteria Spirituality in our Spiritual Life may cater many of our wants.

But it might be found short of answering our basic need of redemption and salvation!

Jesus is primarily our Messiah…
… the Anointed one
… the Saviour of the World!

This is what Peter boldly expressed, “You are the Messiah of God!” (Mk 8:29b)

Prophet Isaiah invites us to have the attitude of Jesus, the Suffering Servant:
“The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame!” (Is 50:7)

This understanding of the Real Jesus can be experienced only through our complete commitment to the cause of Christ and a faithful following by taking up our crosses.

The Lord encounters each one of us today personally and puts forward the same question,

Who do YOU say that I am?

Am I going to adopt the “Cafeteria Spirituality” and answer vaguely, imprecisely and abstractedly…
… depending on my moods and likings and situations?

Or I am ready to give a bold and convinced answer to the Lord, from the depth of our hearts:
“Lord, you are truly the Messiah of God…
… You truly are my Saviour and Lord!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

FIRE: While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions.
The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch,” brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel.
This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, Who transforms what He touches.
In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with Himself

The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions. (Cf. CCC # 696)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 11, 2021: Saturday

“Responding to the Love of the Lord, with greater discipline and faithfulness!”

(Based on 1 Tim 1:15-17 and Lk 6:43-49 – Saturday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time)

It is said that “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”.

Discipline, in general, is based on four F’s:


The Book of Proverbs 13: 24 says, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them”.

Disciplining a person, with the principles of firmness, fondness, frankness and fairness, is an act of charity and an expression of genuine love.

The Gospel of the Day presents a verse of disciplining by the Lord – the One Who deeply yearns that we always walk in the right path and in the ways of perfection.

Jesus says, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do what I tell you?” (Lk 6: 46)

The test of true love consists in a faithful obedience to the one who is loved.

The spouses may exchange gestures of love and affection…
… but do they also exhibit true love by caring for each other, respecting each other’s opinion and accepting one another as they are?

Children may say that they truly love and care for their parents…
… but do they also exhibit it in action, by being obedient to them and taking practical heed of their advices?

Students may express their concern and acknowledgement for their teachers…
… but do they also display it in their life, by faithful abiding to what is expected of them as students?

To say “I love you”, but failing to show it forth in actions of obedience, is mere farcical!

There is therefore, a great need to examine – in honesty and sincerity – when we say “I love you” to the Lord.

Our Blessed Lord raises a tone of pleading when He asks, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, and not do what I tell you?”

It has tones similar to…
… a parent who tells the child, “Why do you say, you like me, when you constantly disobey me and fail to give heed to my words?”

… a teacher who tells the student, “Why do you say, I want to be a good student, when you fail to make efforts to learn and do your
works,in the proper time and in the right manner?”

… an elderly person who advises a young person, “Why do you say, I wish to lead a happy life, but still continue to walk in the paths of immorality, dishonesty and lethargy?”

The Lord is deeply interested in the well-being of our lives…
.. but somehow, we fail to understand this aspect, and continue to live a life, as per our own wishes and fancies!

And therefore, the Lord raises the rod of discipline, and makes it very clear – a stern warning – with the parable of the Two Foundations.

Unless you live a life, founded on the rock of obedience, the “house” of your life will not stand!
If you seek to base your life on the “sands” of disobedience, be assured, that soon it will have a tragic collapse!

The Lord is FIRM, FOND, FRANK and FAIR with us, in His Love for us!

Let us respond to this Love with greater discipline and faithfulness

Let us seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary to give heed to the “disciplining call” of the Lord, and reform our lives…
… so that our love for the Lord may show forth in true obedience and sincere submission!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

WATER: The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit’s action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth…
… just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the Divine Life is given to us in the Holy Spirit.
As “by one Spirit we were all baptized,” so we are also “made to drink of one Spirit.”
Thus the Spirit is also personally the Living Water welling up from Christ crucified as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.

ANOINTING: The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit, to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit.
In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called “chrismation” in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew “messiah”) means the one “anointed” by God’s Spirit.
Jesus is God’s Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit established him as “Christ.”
The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed Him the Christ at His birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord.
The Spirit filled Christ and the Power of the Spirit went out from Him in His acts of healing and of saving.
Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.

Now, fully established as “Christ” in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until “the saints” constitute – in their union with the humanity of the Son of God – that perfect man “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”: “the whole Christ,” in St. Augustine’s expression. (Cf. CCC # 694-695)

Reflection Capsule – Sep 10, 2021: Friday

“Allowing the LORD – with His Compassionate Hand and Delicate Touch – to work on our eyes, so that we can be compassionate and charitable in dealing with the faults of others!”

(Based on 1 Tim 1:1-2, 12-14 and Lk 6:39-42 – Friday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time)

The eye is one of the most sensitive parts of the human body.
>> An eye surgery, therefore, becomes one of the most vulnerable surgeries of all.

It takes a compassionate hand and a delicate touch to do surgery in the eye.

When there is an eye trouble, we need a doctor who knows what he/she is doing because even the slightest mistake can have catastrophic consequences.

The Gospel of the Day focuses our attention on the EYE…
… and the need to have a clear and fine eye!

Jesus says, “Can a blind person, guide a blind person?” (Lk 6: 39)

The Lord has blessed us with the gift of the Eye…
>> We are to marvel at the treasure of creation and the beauty and marvel at the wonders in nature.
>> We are to see the many gifts and talents that we possess in ourselves.
>> We are also to see the resources and assets in others and to grow in our love for our fellow beings.

This love for the others also, however, makes us…
… to encounter the weaknesses and shortcomings in others!
… to get impatient and irritated with others!

Christian love is not blind.
Christ never says to, “ignore the faults of others.”
>> But He surely does say, “Take care of your own faults first.”

That’s why Jesus says, “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly, to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye” (Lk 6:42b)

Look in the mirror!
Ø Am I quick to see how arrogant people are…
… when I myself am often given into to anger and quick-temper?

Ø Am I quick to see how lethargic people are in their spiritual life…
… when I myself fail to be active and energetic?

Ø Am I quick to see how corrupt and dishonest people are…
… when I myself often resort to unhealthy lifestyles?

Sometimes we tend to have a microscopic view when we look at the faults of others…
>> A microscope magnifies an image and displays the view in a much enlarged and amplified manner.

Maybe the following check-list will help us to discern whether I am microscopic in my perception of others:

Do I…

… blow small things out of proportion and make mountains out of molehills, without realizing its drastic consequences?

… maximize the sins of others – their faults, their bad habits and their shortcomings, without understanding their contexts and backgrounds and situations?

… come to quick, hasty or negative conclusions without seeking to garner the full truth & the complete information & details?

… unnecessarily get involved in situations where we should not be involved and thus bring upon unnecessary tensions and worries upon ourselves?

… pass along critical stories to others and fail to verify the authenticity of the rumours and even fail to stop a particular gossip from disseminating?

… have a strong bias to find others guilty and often look at the other with eyes of suspicion and doubt and scepticism?

… behave too harsh even when speaking the truth and fail to realize the emotions and the feelings that could cripple the person under guilt?

… add aggravating remarks and sprinkle home-made masalas when re-telling a story about the life or event of another person and thus twist things in the way I want?

… take delight in condemning others and harping upon the misdeeds of others and thus enjoy a certain amount of pleasure and gratification through this process of character assassination?

Christian charity demands that we seek to correct others and help others in their growth and progress of spiritual health!

But in dealing with the fault of others, what is most needed is: A clear vision!
>> Psalm 139:23-24 says:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

The order or the sequence in which we go about this process is highly crucial and vital:
>> First, we judge ourselves.
>> First, we be hard on ourselves.
>> First, we ask the Lord to show us our sins.

Until we do that, the “speck” in our brother’s eye will look like a log to us…
… while the log in us will be invisible!
>> Only then are we ready to find the fault in others and help them to overcome the “spot” in their lives!

This stage of our life will be characterized by the virtues of:
>> Humility
>> Gentleness
>> Patience
>> Discretion

Our sins will bother us more than the sins of others!
>> Our failures will disturb us more than the failures of others!
>> Our weaknesses will unsettle us more than the weaknesses of others!

The line is fine and thin: between correcting others and being charitable to others
>> The line is slender and slim: between helping others and being judgemental on others

Yes, the eye is highly sensitive and an eye surgery, is one of the most vulnerable surgeries of all.
>> Let us allow the LORD – with His Compassionate Hand and Delicate Touch to do the surgery in our eyes!

Let us seek for this grace of being compassionate and charitable in dealing with the faults of others!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
>> When He proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him the “Paraclete,” literally, “he who is called to one’s side” – Advocatus
>> “Paraclete” is commonly translated by “consoler,” and Jesus is the first consoler.
>> The Lord also called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Truth.”
>> Besides the proper name of “Holy Spirit,” which is most frequently used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit of the Promise, the Spirit of Adoption, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord and the Spirit of God – and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of Glory! (Cf. CCC # 692-693)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 09, 2021: Thursday

“Living in love and holiness, by cooperating with the Grace of God, instead of being ‘imprisoned in our past and the circumstances of life’”

(Based on Col 3:12-17 and Lk 6:27-38 – Thursday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time)

A nine year old girl was walking through the fields, a little away from her home, when two persons, appearing to befriend her, asked her to help collect fruits from the forest.

Brought up with the good habit of showing courtesy to elders, the girl hurried to obey.

But soon she realised that it was a trick to kidnap her!

“I saw two persons behind me,” she would recall later…
… “One of them briskly grabbed me with one hand, while the other one pulled out a knife and held it to my side.
He told me, ‘If you cry, you’ll die! Follow us!?’”

After a forced march, the girl was sold as a slave.

The captors gave her a name, in Arabic, which meant (ironically) “The Lucky One!”

Though this title was intended to be a sarcastic one, it came about to express the girl’s approach towards life.

In the coming years, she gladly accepted the name.

After her release, she amazingly, even thanked God for the good that had come, from her suffering:
“If I were to meet those who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me,” she wrote, “I would kneel and kiss their hands.
For if these things had not happened, I would not have been a Christian and a religious today!”

The name of the girl is St Bakhita – a Saint for those who are “prisoners of the past and of the circumstances of life!”!” (Her Feast is celebrated on February 08 – which is also known as the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking)

She was able to heroically display the Christian virtue of forgiveness…
… especially to enemies – those who had persecuted her and had cause irreparable damages to her life!

In life, so often we get “imprisoned by our past and of the circumstances of life!”

This is true especially from the perspective of relationships…

There are many who cause hurts and pains to us
There are many against whom we have causes to hold grudge in the heart
There are many with whom we find it difficult to relate and extremely hard to forgive

The past clings to us in a mighty way…

“Enemies” are, undoubtedly, a reality in most of our lives!

What is our attitude and approach to these “enemies” in our life?

The Gospel of the Day is a bold challenge by Jesus to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you!” (Lk 6:27)

One of the sayings goes thus, “Divinity cannot be confined to one’s pockets or be contained in one’s purse!”

So vivid is this saying in the life of Jesus, the Fullness of Divinity.

Jesus does not allow to be confined to the tiny pockets of our mindsets
Jesus does not permit to be limited to the finite purses of our expectations

He goes much beyond… His teachings reach a new level…

This is what we come across when we challenge ourselves with the words of the Lord:
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you!” (Lk 6: 27)

There are four explicit commands that are given:

  1. Love
  2. Do Good
  3. Bless
  4. Pray

All these four exhortations are very often in direct contrast to what we expect or what we wish

  1. Love your enemies

Our natural tendency towards our “enemies” is that of animosity or grudge or at the best, indifference

But Jesus says to go beyond… Love them!

Love them… in a way, that they are able to experience the Mighty Love that God has for each one of us!
Love them… in a way, that no hateful feelings get sown or nurtured in our hearts and we be free in our minds!

  1. Do good to those who hate

Our common inclination to those who hate is to say, “Why should I have anything to do with someone who is least interested in me and only keeps hurting me?”

But Jesus says to go beyond – Do good to them!

Do good to them… in a way, that our good actions – little or big, seen or unseen – become actions that evoke repentance and contrition!
Do good to them… in a way, that gestures of charity is a way to crush our own ego and pride feelings and makes us to be humbler, in imitation of Christ who totally humbled Himself!

  1. Bless those who curse you

Our first instinct to those who curse us to “give back still strongly” in return and wish the worst for the concerned person.

But Jesus says to go beyond – Bless them!

Bless them… in a way, that our holy wishes may move the heart of the one who offends us and we become a channel and active instrument to allow God’s forgiveness to flow
Bless them… in a way, that our words of grace may heal the vibrations of negativity and hatred and evokes the mighty power of God against the dark forces of Satan

  1. Pray for those who abuse you

Our immediate reaction to those who abuse is to abuse in return or to let out a volley of unfit phrases or violent actions and gestures

But Jesus says to go beyond – Pray for them!

Pray for them… in a way, that the grace of God’s mercy and compassion may descend into the relationship
Pray for them… in a way, that the words of abuse may fizzle out in the blazing power of prayer and holiness

Life constantly seeks to “imprison us in our past and in the circumstances of life!”

But God’s Grace coupled with our willingness to co-operate with His grace, will allow us to “live in love and holiness”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

“Holy Spirit” is the proper Name of the One whom we adore and glorify with the Father and the Son.
The Church has received this Name from the Lord and professes it in the Baptism of her new children.
The term “Spirit” translates the Hebrew word “ruah,” which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind.
Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God’s breath, the divine Spirit.

On the other hand, “Spirit” and “Holy” are divine attributes common to the Three Divine Persons. >> By joining the two terms, Scripture, Liturgy, and theological language designate the inexpressible Person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation with other uses of the terms “spirit” and “holy.” (Cf. CCC # 691)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 08, 2021: Wednesday

“Being fervent and zealous to lead a holier life, pleasing to God, as we pray, ‘Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!’”

(Based on the Feast of the Nativity of our Blessed Mamma Mary)

A priest went to visit a violent criminal who was condemned to death…
… hoping to prepare his soul to die well.

But the man wouldn’t even talk to him.

The priest pleaded and begged him to get reconciled with God…
… but the man’s heart was highly closed!

Finally, as a last resort, the priest entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary and then said to the
criminal, “Before I leave, will you grant me one little favour?”

The man, with an intention to get rid of the bothersome priest, said he would

“Let us then,” the priest responded, “Say one Hail Mary”

So, together they began to pray that simple prayer…
… “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with You…”

But they hadn’t even got through the first sentence when the criminal turned pale…
… and his voice started to shake.

The priest to continued the Hail Mary…
… and as he finished tears started to flow from the man’s face, and he fell on his knees at the
priest’s feet.

As soon as the prayer was done, the man asked to make confession.

He then confessed his sins with a great sense of repentance!

The words, “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you…”
… had ignited the spark of repentance in him!

Yes, that’s the power of the intercession of Mother Mary!
She is the refuge of sinners

Her life of Faithfulness to God’s Grace, is an inspiration to all of us…
… to live an Immaculate and Holy Life!

Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Most Beloved, the Most Loving and the Most Lovable Mother of all – Blessed Mother Mary!

For our Reflection, we shall expand the beautiful name of MARY – in the following manner – to help in having a truer appreciation, a genuine devotion and a deeper love for Her:

  1. Mary – is the Model for every Christian
    Her life becomes a wonderful example to every person who wishes to follow our Blessed Lord.

She remains the perfect Model of being attentive to the voice of God, being actively response to His call and being faithfully committed to every task entrusted to Her

  1. Mary is the Apostle-par-excellence
    As an Apostle of Her Son and Saviour, She always remained in His presence – either physically or in Her thoughts or through Her constant longing for Him

She is the Beloved Apostle who had offered Her whole body, mind and soul to the glory of God and fulfilling His every plan

  1. Mary is the Revolutionary who dared to do God’s Will
    Her Yes to the Plan of God, at the Annunciation and Her continual Yes to His Will, even in the moments of the most extreme suffering had the tenacity and the passion of a True Revolutionary.

It is hard to follow God’s Will, especially in some moments of crisis;
It requires extreme courage and unfailing commitment to be always walking in the path of God

She is the wonderful Revolutionary who dared to always seek and do God’s Will in Her life!

  1. Mary is the Yeast who silently fulfilled Her role in the plan of salvation
    In the Bible, the words of Mother Mary are fairly minimal; yet Her few words and above all, Her dedicated life speaks volumes of Her role in the Salvific Plan!

She is the unseen Yeast through whom the mighty Grace of God wonderfully worked to raise up the Author of Salvation!

Blessed Mother Mary is our wonderful and beautiful mother, who deserves our greatest affection and love, in a way that draws us more and more towards Her Son, Jesus.

May we be encouraged by the words of St Maximilian Kolbe:
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”

Ven. Bishop Fulton J Sheen says:
“The less we think of Him, the less we think of Her.

The more we adore His divinity, the more we venerate Her motherhood.
The less we acknowledge His divinity, the less we have respect for Her!”

Our Blessed Mamma – the Beautiful Lady in blue and white – grace in holiness and immaculate in
love – holds our hands and tells us:
“My Little Child, I am with you!
I love you, and together, we shall walk in this exciting path of Holiness…
… towards My Son and Your Brother…
… towards Our Saviour Jesus!”

Yes, let us give heed to the loving call of our Blessed Mother
And be fervent and zealous to lead a holier life, pleasing to God…
… as we pray, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with You…!”

Let this Feast help us to deepen our love for Her Beloved Son and our Saviour, Jesus!
… and our love for each other in the family, our communities and in the Church!

A wonderful Birthday to our Blessed Mother!

We Love you, Dearest Mamma!

Happy Feast day to all Her children!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Jesus is Christ, “anointed,” because the Spirit is His anointing, and everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this fullness.
When Christ is finally glorified, He can, in turn, send the Spirit from His place with the Father to those who believe in Him: He communicates to them His glory, that is, the Holy Spirit Who glorifies Him.

From that time on, this joint mission will be manifested in the children adopted by the Father in the Body of His Son: the mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live in Him! (Cf. CCC # 690)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 07, 2021: Tuesday

“Saying Yes to Jesus, by contributing our mite in spreading the Gospel and making this world to experience and recognize God’s tremendous love!”

(Based on Col 2:6-15 and Lk 6:12-19 – Tuesday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time)

There is “trial by jury” in the British legal system.

A jury consists of 12 individuals chosen at random from an appropriate panel.

Anyone who is on the electoral register aged between 18 and 70, and who has been ordinarily resident in the UK for five years since the age of 13, is qualified to serve on the jury.

In his essay “The Twelve Men”, dealing with this British jury system, G. K. Chesterton wrote:
“Whenever our civilization wants a library to be catalogued, or a solar system discovered, or any other trifle of this kind, it uses up its specialists.

But when it wishes anything done which is really serious, it collects twelve of the ordinary men standing around…

The same thing was done, if I remember right, by the Founder of Christianity.”

And it’s true, right?

Jesus did choose twelve people of ordinary standing and average repute as His Chosen Apostles.

The Gospel of the Day presents this account of this choosing of the Twelve by Jesus, the Master.

Twelve persons of varied character…
… invited to be part of the ‘One Kingdom Mission’.

Twelve persons of different backgrounds…
… invited to be part of the ‘One Jesus Culture’.

Twelve persons of dissimilar emotions…
… invited to be part of the ‘One Love Civilization’.

Let these twelve persons today teach us something simple yet profound for our Spiritual Lives:

  1. Simon, called as Peter: The one known for his wavering temperaments yet faithful and simple in his attitude.

Assets that can be learnt: To be humble enough to accept our mistakes and correct them

  1. Andrew: The one who left fishing and at the multiplication of loaves, brought the five loaves and two fish to Jesus

Assets that can be learnt: To bring simple things before God who can work great wonders

  1. James: The one who was zealous and who accompanied the Lord at many crucial events of His life

Assets that can be learnt: To be zealous for the Kingdom of God and be ready to be in close company with Jesus

  1. John: The one who was loyal and displayed tremendous love and faithfulness to His Master

Assets that can be learnt: To be faithful and loyal to the Crucified One even in the midst of all uncertainties.

  1. Philip: The one, with a Greek name, who told another disciple about Jesus & also helped the Greeks to come to Jesus

Assets that can be learnt: To be a person who brings other people to the saving presence of Jesus

  1. Bartholomew: The one who was shocked that Jesus was from the lowly Nazareth but was quick to trounce this feeling

Assets that can be learnt: To let go of prejudices and preconception about persons and situations

  1. Matthew: The one who was given an opportunity to reform his way of life and was generous to let go of his possessions

Assets that can be learnt: To be free from material attachments in order to follow Christ freely and fully

  1. Thomas: The one who was highly daring and also frank and straightforward in his Faith and his attitude

Assets that can be learnt: To be bold about one’s faith even if it means to seek a clarification from God

  1. James, son of Alpheus: The one who gets hardly any mention except being called by Jesus and being with the others in the Upper Room after the Ascension of Jesus

Assets that can be learnt: To remain in the backdrop, in serving the Lord and being unfazed even if not popular

  1. Simon, the Zealot: The one who is also hardly mentioned but is identified with having a great religious zeal

Assets that can be learnt: To curb one’s personal instincts and likings in order to suit the style and spirit of Jesus

  1. Judas Thaddeus: The one who wrote the Beautiful letter of Jude and exhorts to be faithful to Christ even in hardships

Assets that can be learnt: To learn to be faithful and strong even when persecuted for being a Christian

  1. Judas Iscariot: The one who gave up his love of Jesus for the sake of the love of money

Assets that can be learnt: To avoid the subtle trap of materialism and instead remain focused on Jesus always

Twelve persons of simple nature…
… teach us many secrets and virtues to be powerful witnesses of the Kingdom

Twelve persons of ordinary calibre…
… teach us to become the extension of the love and mission of Christ Jesus

The Jury or the Panel of Twelve Ordinary Persons, chosen by Jesus, have contributed their mite in spreading the Gospel and making this world to experience and recognize God’s tremendous love!

The Master now seeks the same of us too…

St Paul reminds us of the beauty of the Gift of Faith that all of us have received, and of the need to be focussed without being lured by worldly thought-patterns:
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe…
… and not according to Christ!” (Col 2:6-8)

Though ordinary or simple or little or weak we are – just like the Apostles…
… He still trusts, invites and calls all of us…

Shall we say, Yes?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of His Son, is truly God.
Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them…
… in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world.
In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial, and indivisible, the Church’s faith also professes the distinction of persons.
When the Father sends His Word, He always sends His Breath.

In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ Who is seen, the Visible Image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals Him. (Cf. CCC # 689)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 06, 2021: Monday

“Allowing the Lord to work a revival in us, through prayer and self-discipline, and being willing to get out of our ‘comfortable zones’ of worldliness and hard-heartedness!”

(Based on Col 1:24-2:3 and Lk 6:6-11 – Monday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time)

A young missionary in a particular village, had heard the fame of a senior missionary and his successful ventures in reviving the faith of the people.

Wanted to know the secret of success in ministry, the younger missionary, on meeting the senior, asked him: “What is the secret of reviving the faith of the people in my village?”

The senior man, who was also aware of the worldly lifestyle of the younger missionary said:
“Go back to your home and lock yourself up in a private room.

Then, take a piece of chalk, and mark a circle on the floor.

Get down on your knees, then, inside the circle…
… and pray to God to begin a revival inside the circle!

When this prayer is heard, a revival will take place in your people as well!”

Yes… it is when one is revived with the Spirit and Enthusiasm of the Lord…
… that one can radiate the same to others!

This revival demands that we “encircle” ourselves in prayer and self-discipline…
… by being willing to get out of our “comfortable zones” of worldliness and hard-heartedness!

The Gospel of the Day is an encounter with a group of people, who got stuck in their own “comfortable zones” of interpreting and understanding the Scriptures…
… failing to be open to the True Author of the Scriptures…
… and thus refusing to tread the path of mercy, compassion and charity.

The Gospel passage is another Sabbath day controversy.

Jesus is in the synagogue, teaching and proclaiming God’s Word.

His words would bring strength and courage to those in despair
His teaching would fill with hope those who were stranded on the peripheries of life
His preaching would invigorate those who were sapped of energy and felt themselves rejected.

Among those who heard Him in the synagogue, was a “a man whose right hand was withered” (Lk 6: 6)

It’s not mentioned how did he began to have a withered hand…
… maybe he was born so
… maybe he met with an accident
… maybe he had a sickness which made it so

But having a withered right hand had its own implications and difficulties to pose.

Right hand in the Bible, usually refers to..
… being the hand of blessing
… being the hand of strength
… being the hand of labour

So this man with the withered right hand is portrayed as being…
… disfigured in his purpose and goals of life
… pitiable in being rendered weak and sort of helpless

But more than this man with the physical disability, there were also some others, who had a “withered mentality” – the Pharisees

They had God, the source and origin of the Law, as their “Right Hand”
They had the privilege of learning and knowing the Scriptures, as their “Right Hand”

But, unfortunately, we find them with “withered”…
… their focus on God, the purpose and goal of the Law was “withered!”
… their opportunity to interpret and understand the Scriptures properly was “withered!”

To the man who had the physically withered right hand, Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand” (Lk 6:10)

Probably these words were also directed or perhaps intended more for the Pharisees…
… who were “withered” in their understanding and mentality regarding the Law and the Author of the Law Himself!

Jesus was asking them to “stretch out their hands” which were withered…
… because they failed to understand the basic purpose of God’s Law which was aimed at reflecting on God’s Goodness and to reflect the same in their lives
… because they were stuck to their own rigid and arrogant interpretation of God’s Word and failed to put into practise the real meaning of God’s Word which is to do good, show mercy and extend charity

Are those words, “stretch out your hand” being directed to us also?

Are we failing to centre our lives on the Precious Gift that God has blessed us with – His Holy Word in the Holy Bible – and failing to make efforts to read, learn more and understand God’s Word properly and effectively?

Do we consciously cultivate practices which help us to set apart time (on a daily, regular basis) to read the Bible and reflect and shape our lives, in the light of the Holy Word of God?

Do we remain rigid, obstinate and closed to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us, through different sermons, write-ups, talks etc. on the Word of God and allow transformations to happen in my life?

Do we be zealous to learn God’s Word more deeply, to know Him more and to cultivate a personal taste to understand the Scriptures better with self-reflection?

Our Blessed Lord invites and exhorts us to have a “Revival in our Christian Lives”

It is only when one is revived with the Spirit and Enthusiasm of the Lord…
… that one can radiate the same to others!

St Paul inspires all of us to become zealous witnesses of the Power of God, as he tells us:
“It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that He powerfully inspires within me!” (Col 1:28-29)

Let us allow the Lord to work this revival in us, by “encircling” ourselves in prayer and self-discipline…
… and being willing to get out of our “comfortable zones” of worldliness and hard-heartedness!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits, is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:

  • in the Scriptures, He inspired
  • in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses
  • in the Church’s Magisterium, which He assists
  • in the Sacramental Liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ
  • in prayer, wherein He intercedes for us
  • in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up
  • in the signs of apostolic and missionary life

– in the witness of saints through whom he manifests His holiness and continues the work of salvation. (Cf. CCC # 688)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – Sep 05, 2021: Sunday

“Bringing the Powerful Presence of God in every situation of our society!”

(Based on Isa 35:4-7, Jas 2:1-5 and Mk 7:31-37 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)

There is a beautiful little anecdote in the life of St Mother Teresa of Kolkatta – whose Feast we celebrate today – probably, known to many of us.

As Mother was cleaning the wounds of a leper, a man observed her.

The sight of the leprous wounds and the horrible stench caused that man to exclaim with disgust, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars!”

In reply, the saintly mother replied:
“Neither would I!
But I would gladly do it for Jesus!”

The love for the Lord and imitation of His descending love, prompted Mother Teresa to reach out her hands…
… even to the worst sores and the filthiest wounds!

Divine Love manifests its great power and reveals its glorious splendour, when it descends to even touch the lowliest, the least and the lost!

The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful presentation of Jesus, who was willing to lower to an extent, even to “dirty Himself” in order to touch human lives!

The Book of Genesis (Chapter 1) testifies to the fact that God created the entire world with His Word!

God doesn’t need a particular or a fixed procedure to work a miracle or a wonder
God doesn’t comply to human understandings of causing a divine phenomenon.

Perhaps, here is a reminder for us, in our prayer patterns…

In my prayers, do I also make my requests in such a way that I end up even commanding how and when God should answer the prayer?
In my intercessions to the Lord, do I act as “god” and even order God, the style and manner in which He has to answer our prayers?

Keeping in tune with this principle of “God as His own unique styles and patterns,” Jesus, the Word performs a strange pattern in bringing about the healing.

This incident of healing the ‘man who was deaf and had a speech impediment’ is indeed very unique…
… in the fact of the manner in which the miracle was performed.

The Gospel says, “taking him (the man who was deaf and with impediment in speech) aside, from the multitude privately…
… Jesus put His fingers into His ears, and He spat and touched His tongue, and looking up to heaven, He sighed…” (Mk 7: 33)

Here is a highly “unclean and unhygienic” style of healing…

Putting fingers into the ears…
Spitting onto the hands or the finger…
Touching the tongue…

Well sounds a little disgusting, right?

But let’s be prepared to face this grand reality….

This is our God!
This is our Saviour Lord!

In Jesus, we celebrate a God who is willing to heal even our most painful wounds and cleanse our most sinful sores!

In Jesus, we cherish a God who lowers Himself even to the extent of dirtying His hands to purify and refine us!

Am I willing and ready to allow this Daring God, who would go to any extent…
… to win us back to Him
… to bring a wholesome healing in us

To touch our hidden wounds, our shameful sores and our filthy sinful lives?

This is also a challenge and a call, to us Christians, to imitate our Blessed Lord in lowering ourselves…
… to reach out to the needy and the wanting
… to touch the hearts of the unclean and the corrupt.

The Lord reminds and assures us through Prophet Isaiah, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert…
… the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water” (Isa 35:5-7)

Humanly speaking, it might be too unreasonable to enter into the portals of dirt and slimes in the lives of people and to remain faithful to the Ways of God.

As St James tells us, sometimes, our human weaknesses even causes us to create division, distinction and discrimination among people – “My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?
Have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (Jas 2:1, 4)

But our Blessed Lord challenges us to imitate Him and offers His Heart of Love to be the “thumb rule” and the basic reason to reach out to all!

Are we prepared to “dirty” our lives in order to extend the charity and mercy of God to all…
…and thus, as in the title of the book on Blessed Mother Teresa, make our lives, “Something beautiful for God”!

September 5th is Teacher’s Day in India.

Teachers mould and shape a child to make him/her a beautiful person with a noble character!

Teachers inspire change!
Teachers stir up conversion!
Teachers motivate transformation!

Today the Greatest of all Teachers – Jesus – challenges and exhorts each one of us to adopt and adapt…
… a transformed way of Living
… a changed Lifestyle
… a converted Life!

And allow Him to reign over every situation of our life and embrace us!

On this Feast Day of Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata, let us seek her intercession…
… and be inspired by her love and life, that we may truly see – and like her – bring the Powerful Presence of God in every situation of our society.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
“Now God’s Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, His Word, His Living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of Himself.
The Spirit who “has spoken through the prophets” makes us hear the Father’s Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself.
We know Him only in the movement by which He reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome Him in faith.
The Spirit of truth who “unveils” Christ to us “will not speak on His own.”

Such properly Divine self-effacement explains why “the world cannot receive (Him), because it neither sees Him nor knows Him,” while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because He dwells with them! (Cf. CCC # 687)