✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 19, 2023: Friday

“Remembering that pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

(Based on Acts 18:9-18 and Jn 16:20-23- Friday of the 6th Week of Easter)

An elderly man was sharing his experiences to a group of youngsters.

Among the many things that he spoke, he also touched upon the topic of “pain and suffering”…
… and said:
“My dear young people, I have gone through much pain in life

And these painful experiences – though hard initially – became sources of great blessing and grace, when I realised their value, and signs of God’s wonderful Presence”

And he went on to add, “Remember always…
God whispers to us in our pleasures
… speaks in our consciences
… but shouts in our pains.

Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world!”

Yes, pain is to be understood as vital for the promotion, perseverance and progress of anyone wanting to lead a life…
… in deeper and closer union with the Lord!

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus declaring the reality of the presence of pain, suffering and sorrows in spiritual life, and yet those factors being pathways and passages to experience deep joy and bliss!

Not negating the actuality of the darker side of life, Jesus also mightily displays the large canvas of life which is enveloped in the light of happiness…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (Jn 16: 20)

Jesus was making His Apostles aware of the realities of His passion and death.

He had came into the world to die!

Death was the goal and fulfilment of His life.

To the delicate and fragile minds of the Apostles, the Lord gives a very practical analogy: the pains and the bliss of motherhood…
“When a woman is in labour, she is in anguish, because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world” (Jn 16: 21)

This analogy of the Lord sheds light and hope for our sufferings and pains in life too.

Mothers know the pain of giving birth to a child.

To others, this pain, though not experienced, can be vaguely understood as being a very painful experience.

The pain is too excruciating…

Jesus says that the hardships, sufferings and trials that we undergo in life are such.

But the moment, the child is delivered and the mother sees the innocent face of her tender babe, the whole scenario of emotions changes…

The excruciating pain is replaced by a thrilling excitement and exhilaration!

The anguishing sore is replaced by a delightful bliss and ecstasy!
The nerve-wracking ache is replaced by a heavenly joy and happiness!

And Jesus says that, such will be our joy too, if we are also faithful and loyal to the Lord, in pains and sufferings!

This is indeed a higher spirituality…
… a higher level of holiness

To cherish joy, even in the midst of pain
To radiate happiness, even in the thick of sorrows.

It is to this elevated floor of sanctity that the Lord invites us.

He is with us to hold our hands to climb up to this floor.
He is wanting to embrace us in love, as He beckons us to come nearer to Him.

When life stings us with pain…
When problems beset us into agony…
… With hope, trust, faith and strength,

Let us remember: “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE

The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God’s grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride.
In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church.

The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity. (CCC # 1623)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 19, 2023: Friday

“Remembering that pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

(Based on Acts 18:9-18 and Jn 16:20-23- Friday of the 6th Week of Easter)

An elderly man was sharing his experiences to a group of youngsters.

Among the many things that he spoke, he also touched upon the topic of “pain and suffering”…
… and said:
“My dear young people, I have gone through much pain in life

And these painful experiences – though hard initially – became sources of great blessing and grace, when I realised their value, and signs of God’s wonderful Presence”

And he went on to add, “Remember always…
God whispers to us in our pleasures
… speaks in our consciences
… but shouts in our pains.

Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world!”

Yes, pain is to be understood as vital for the promotion, perseverance and progress of anyone wanting to lead a life…
… in deeper and closer union with the Lord!

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus declaring the reality of the presence of pain, suffering and sorrows in spiritual life, and yet those factors being pathways and passages to experience deep joy and bliss!

Not negating the actuality of the darker side of life, Jesus also mightily displays the large canvas of life which is enveloped in the light of happiness…
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (Jn 16: 20)

Jesus was making His Apostles aware of the realities of His passion and death.

He had came into the world to die!

Death was the goal and fulfilment of His life.

To the delicate and fragile minds of the Apostles, the Lord gives a very practical analogy: the pains and the bliss of motherhood…
“When a woman is in labour, she is in anguish, because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world” (Jn 16: 21)

This analogy of the Lord sheds light and hope for our sufferings and pains in life too.

Mothers know the pain of giving birth to a child.

To others, this pain, though not experienced, can be vaguely understood as being a very painful experience.

The pain is too excruciating…

Jesus says that the hardships, sufferings and trials that we undergo in life are such.

But the moment, the child is delivered and the mother sees the innocent face of her tender babe, the whole scenario of emotions changes…

The excruciating pain is replaced by a thrilling excitement and exhilaration!

The anguishing sore is replaced by a delightful bliss and ecstasy!
The nerve-wracking ache is replaced by a heavenly joy and happiness!

And Jesus says that, such will be our joy too, if we are also faithful and loyal to the Lord, in pains and sufferings!

This is indeed a higher spirituality…
… a higher level of holiness

To cherish joy, even in the midst of pain
To radiate happiness, even in the thick of sorrows.

It is to this elevated floor of sanctity that the Lord invites us.

He is with us to hold our hands to climb up to this floor.
He is wanting to embrace us in love, as He beckons us to come nearer to Him.

When life stings us with pain…
When problems beset us into agony…
… With hope, trust, faith and strength,

Let us remember: “Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE

The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God’s grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride.
In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church.

The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity. (CCC # 1623)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 18, 2023: Thursday

“May the comforting assurance of the Lord be our hope and confidence!”

(Based on Acts 18:1-8 and Jn 16:16-20 – Thursday of the 6th Week of Easter)

A young man had joined a new parish.

After a couple of Sunday Masses, he went across to an elderly person, whom he had observed to be quite joyful and in good cheer.

The young man asked him: “I have been noticing over the last couple of weeks that you radiate a great sense of joy.
Is there any particular philosophy that you follow, which makes you always rejoice?”

To that, the elderly man, smiled and reaching out to his shirt pocket, handed the young man a small handwritten-card and said: “Have this for yourself, and you will never be sad!”

The young man, curious to know what it was, read the words on the card:
“Fret not – God Loves you! (John 13:1)
Faint not – God Holds you! (Psalm 139:10)
Fear not – God Keeps you! (Psalm 121:5)”

“Fret Not, Faint Not, Fear Not!”

These were three assuring phrases that the man had made the philosophy of his life
… and those words, kept him always joyful and in good cheer.

Life is very often “uncertain!”

Such uncertainties, often put us through tensions or anxiety or in an “uncomfortable” state of mind!

However, the Lord always assures us in such “uncertain” situations: “Fret Not, Faint Not, Fear Not!”

The Gospel of the Day presents the disciples undergoing “an experience of uncertainty”…
… and Jesus assuring them with hope and courage.

Jesus told His disciples, “A little while and you will see me no more; again a little while and you will see me” (Jn 16:16)

But these words of Jesus put the disciples into a state of dilemma

They failed to grasp the meaning of the words of Jesus and were confused!
They began to have a discussion on the phrase of Jesus – “a little while”
“What does he mean by ‘a little while'”? (Jn 16: 18)

How long was this “little while” going to be?
How does He define the phrase “a little while”?

If they knew exactly how long this “little while” would last…
…. then they would have been more courageous and patient

But now the disciples find themselves to be confused and in dilemma.

However, Jesus the Good Shepherd, knew the confusion of His little sheep

But He doesn’t define the phrase “a little while”

He doesn’t say that it is a particular moment of time that can be considered as a countdown!

He doesn’t refer to it as being an exact measure of time, to which one can count and gauge!

Instead, Jesus defines “a little while” in terms of an experience…
… an experience of weeping and lamenting turning into rejoicing
… an experience of sorrow turning into joy (Jn 16:20)

Is our life today in a state of crisis and confusion?

Is our life today passing through waves of troubles and the deserts of anxiety?
Is our life today moving along the rough terrains of calamities and the valleys of brokenness?

Then the Lord assures us…
… “In a little while” and things will be fine!
… “In a little while” and the sunshine will appear again!

We might complain… How long is this “little while!”
We might argue…. this “little while” is being too agonizing!

But the Lord invites and challenges us to look to Him, telling us…

“I too have had my painful and agonizing moments… in My life and especially on the Cross
I too had My experience of feeling ‘how long is this little while going to last’…

But I stood firm and patient in trusting the Will of My Father…
… I held on the mighty Providence of my Father and knew that a bright morn awaited Me”

Yes, Jesus, through the Gospel wishes to encourage us and strengthen us…
… in sufferings, to love Him strongly!
… in hardships, to trust in Him deeper!
… in uncertainties, to depend on Him greater!

St Paul and the other early Christians experienced much persecution and opposition.

Yet, they – being convinced of the Presence of the Lord – gave bold witness to Christ and His Kingdom…
… “And he argued in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks!” (Acts 18:4)

Surely, life will take us through many experiences of “uncertainties”
… We may tend to lose our patience!
… We may feel like giving up!
… We may want to quit!

But let us turn to the Lord for strength, grace and courage…
… and listen to Him whispering to us…
“Hold on my Child! I am with you… embracing you in my arms!
In Me, your weeping will be changed to rejoicing
In Me, your sorrow will be turned to joy!”

May the assurance of the Lord: “FRET NOT, FAINT NOT, FEAR NOT”…
… be our hope and confidence!

God Bless! Live Jesus!
Yeah cafe


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE

According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church.
In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses, but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.

(CCC # 1623)

  • Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
    Bengaluru, India
    📧 E-mail ID: reflectioncapsules@gmail.com

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 17, 2023: Wednesday

“Realising that the ‘school of True Joy and Peace’ is very near us!”

(Based on Acts 17:15, 22-18:1 and Jn 16:12-15 – Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter)

One morning, a six-year-old girl missed her school bus.

Being new to the neighbourhood, her father – who though was getting late to go to office – decided to drive her to school…
… provided she gave him directions.

They spent twenty minutes going round in circles and through many long lanes.

Finally they arrived at the school…
… which was only a few blocks away from their home.

“Why did you take us all over the place when your school is so close to home?” asked her exasperated father.

“Because this is the way the school bus goes,” the little girl replied….
… and with a sense of innocence: “I don’t know any other way!”

So often are we too such…

We go round and round searching for happiness and contentment…
… when the “school of True Joy and Peace” is very near us

Do we know THE WAY?
… or are we getting lost and deviated with many other peripheral lanes of life?

The Gospel of the Day is the invitation of Jesus to depend on the Holy Spirit, Who will always reveal the mysteries of life and of our faith…
… and will guide us on the right path!

The Lord had been with the disciples for quite some time and had instructed them on many teachings.

Even at the final discourse, in the context of the Last Supper, Jesus teaches His chosen ones many things.

Yet, He has many more things to tell and teach.

But like a loving parent, who knows the grasping power of the child….

Like an understanding teacher, who realises the comprehending capability of the student…

Jesus knows, that the disciples would not be able to understand still further His teachings.

And so He says, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (Jn 16:12)

He, however, does not leave the Disciples in this state of hanging in mid-air…

He assures them of the Might Power that will follow His going away from the disciples.
He promises them that the Holy Spirit will descend on them and they would realise, gradually, the power and depth of His teachings!

“But when He comes, the Spirit of Truth, He will guide you to all truth” (Jn 16: 13)

In our lives, we too often go astray…
… or tread on paths that are too complicated

Situations and circumstances often lead us away from the right destination!
It may lead us to desperation.
It may even lead us to anxiety.

But the Lord assures us…
… that He is the Way to every solution in the world
… that He is the Path to every answer in life

Of course, not all will be told to us, or revealed to us, at once.

They will be conveyed to us, at the appropriate time, in the appropriate situation.

From our part, what is needed is…
… an openness to His Spirit
… a trust in His Divine Providence
… a constant seeking to know His Will

The underlying principle for this simple, yet, seemingly hard to practise philosophy of life, is the fact that “God Loves Us” immeasurably, and that every moment of our life, is taken care by Him.

His glory fills the heavens and the earth.
His knowledge permeates in every event of life.

St Paul invited the people of Athens… to leave behind unknown objects of worship…
… and instead, to trust and believe in the Living God, Who has risen from the dead, and lives and moves in each one of us:
“The God who made the world… does not live in shrines made by man…
… He is not far from each one of us, for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being!’” (Acts 17:24-28)

The greater our trust in the Living God…
… the nearer will we be, to the right destination!

As Christians, we ought to be persons who have our aims set on the “proper lanes” life – seeking Jesus and His Kingdom.

Jesus ought to be the greatest treasure of our life

We need to make an examination of our lives.

So often we go round and round searching for happiness and contentment…

But let us realise, that the “school of True Joy and Peace” is very near us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE

Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage… must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful.”

It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance. (CCC # 1622)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 16, 2023: Tuesday

“Thanking God for the gift of life, and with humility, totally depending on Him!”

(Based on Acts 16:22-34 and Jn 16:5-11 – Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter)

Here is an interesting prayer, that perhaps, many of us might have not actually made…
… but perhaps, is echoed, in the depths of one’s heart:

“Dear God,
So far today I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper.
I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent.

I’m very thankful for that!

But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed…
… and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help, Amen!”

Do we realise that we are prone to sin?
… or have we become quite “lethargic and tepid” in matters concerning sin?

Becoming aware that we are weak and fragile, helps us to depend more on the Power and Grace of God…
… Failure to realise so, will make us to bank only on ourselves and thus will lead to great falls!

It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the Grace to be aware of the “sinful areas and tendencies” of our lives…
… And helps us to totally depend on Him, to live a holy and credible life.

Jesus, in the Gospel of the day, enlightening on the coming of the Holy Spirit, speaks of the role of the Holy Spirit in convicting the world regarding sin.

He says, “And when He (Holy Spirit, the Advocate) comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation” (Jn 16: 8)

One of the standout factors in the teachings of Jesus is His uncompromising attitude with respect to sin.

And perhaps, this is where Jesus as a Holy Person stands out incomparable with all other great spiritual or philosophical leaders of the world.

This is also where Christianity as a religion stands out unmatched with any other belief system or practice of spirituality.

For Jesus and in Christianity…
… there is an uncompromising teaching on the need to root out sin and evil offences
… there is an absolutely unparalleled insistence on removal of sin for spiritual progress
… there is an unsurpassed assertion on being holy and pure to be in communion with Him

The Lord points out to this prime role of the Holy Spirit: Convicting the world of sin.

St Peter, after His first proclamation on Pentecost Day, had the hearers’ conscience convicted of sin. “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and they asked Peter and the other apostles, ‘What are we to do, my brothers?'” (Acts 2:37)

It is the Holy Spirit Who causes a person to become aware of one’s state of sinfulness and living an evil life.

This also means, that when there is “a loss of the sense of sin”, the workings of the Holy Spirit is also highly dormant and latent.

A “loss of sense of sin” occurs, when the Holy Spirit fails to have an active role in one’s life!

We need to make an honest examination of our conscience…

Is our life suffering from a “lack of sensation to sin”…?

Do I continue to pursue, persevere or promote deeds of sin…
… even though I am aware of it, or has been brought to my notice?

Do I fail to be sensitive to issues of immense sin and evil happening in and around me, in people and situations…
… and instead become indifferent and uninterested?

A persistence with this tendency can very dangerously sever our relation with the Lord.

It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we become ‘convicted’ of this spiritual malady and make efforts to overcome them.

Let the reality of sin be recognized and acknowledged in our lives and in the world.

Paul and Silas, who were locked in the prison, experienced the miraculous Power of the Holy Spirit – as we read in Acts of the Apostles (Acts 16:25-34)

This incident evoked feelings of faith and repentance in jailor. His cry for the Mercy of the Lord would be answered by Paul and Silas in a majestic manner: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household!” (Acts 16:31)

Let us also have an open heart to accept this “conviction of sin” by the Holy Spirit and to co-operate with Him to remedy this spiritual woe!

As we thank God, every morning, for the gift of life, let us also, with humility and total dependence on Him, pray:
“…in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed…
… and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help, Amen!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE

It is fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice…

… and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ. (CCC # 1621)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 15, 2023: Monday

“Witnessing JESUS CHRIST – by thought, by word, by deed!”

(Based on Acts 16:11-15 and Jn 15:26-16:4a – Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter)

Every Christian is expected to be a witness to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, in one’s everyday life.

In a random survey conducted, as to why many Christians don’t speak about Christ to others, some of the common answers given by Christians were as follows:

“I am not sure what I have to say!”
“My lifestyle doesn’t match what Christ expects of me!”
“I may not be able to give convincing answers, when questions are asked!”
“I am not sure if I will be called as a hypocrite – or living by double standards!”
“I don’t really care about speaking about Christ etc…”
“I think it is not my duty. It is the duty of the leaders of the Church. First let them do…”

And prominently…

“I am afraid what others will feel…!”
“I feel anxious if I will be rejected and be side-lined by all!”

What about us?

Do we witness to Christ, daily?
Do we speak about and witness the Love of God to people?

What answer do we have?

The Gospel of the Day is an assurance and an invitation by Jesus to live by the Power of the Holy Spirit…
… and thus be a “Witness of Jesus and His Kingdom!”

One of the primary tasks of Jesus, as he left this world, was to “Strengthen His Disciples”

He knew very well, how each one of them would go through periods of crisis, after His Departure.

When things go on well, life seems to be easy…
… But when hardships and loneliness creeps in, life seems to be too difficult!

As long as Jesus was with them, the disciples would have an easy life…
… But with the departure of Jesus, they would have to face a difficult life!

And so Jesus prepares them by assuring them of how the Holy Spirit would strengthen them:
“When the Counsellor comes, Whom I shall send you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth… He will bear witness to Me, and you also are witnesses…
I have said all this to you, to keep you from falling away!” (Jn 15:26-27, 16:1)

Jesus knew that all his disciples had weaknesses …

Some would be unsure of what answer to be given when questions were asked
(Like Peter who would deny Jesus, when questions were asked – Lk 22: 54-61)

Some would only worry about their own positions and comforts
(Like the disciples at the Last Supper, who would discuss the one who is great among them – Lk 22: 24)

Some would be afraid of the people and the society around
(Like the disciples who would run away and abandon Jesus – Mk 14: 50)

Some would prefer to choose riches and money, than Jesus
(Like Judas who would betray the Lord for the sake of money – Mk 14: 10-11)

Despite these weakness and fragilities, the Lord did not give up on them

He invited them to “Be open to Receive the Holy Spirit and thus to Live a Powerful Life of Witnessing!”

By this Power of the Person of the Holy Spirit, the disciples became powerful witnesses to the world, bringing many people to experience the Love of the Lord
… as we read in the Acts of the Apostles…
“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyati′ra, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul.” (Acts 16:14)

We too have our own weaknesses in witnessing to the Lord, in this modern society…

Some of us…
… are not sure of what answers to be given to questions that are asked about faith

Some of us…
… like to remain in our own comfort zones

Some of us…
… are afraid of “what other people will think” and if I will “lose my name and esteem in the society”

Some of us…
… give more importance to the false promises of the world, and don’t make a clear-cut choice for God and His Kingdom (Mt 6:33)

To each of us too, the Lord invites to “Be open to receive the Holy Spirit and thus to Live a powerful Life of Witnessing!”

Yes, He doesn’t give up on us.

Let us renew our commitment to the Lord, everyday..
… and by His Spirit, with boldness and courage, “Stand Firm for the Gospel Values”

Let us “Witness Jesus Christ” – by thought, by word, by deed!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE

It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives…
… by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice

… and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ. (CCC # 1621)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 14, 2023: Sunday

“Deepening our love and conviction in the Amazing Love of the Father Who sent His Only Son for us, and strengthens us, every moment, by His Holy Spirit!”

(Based on Acts 8:5-8, 14-17, 1 Pt 3:15-18 and Jn 14:15-21 – Sixth Sunday of Easter)

A young man was to be sentenced to the prison for a serious offence.

The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his late father.

His father was a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, “The Law of Trusts.”

“Do you remember your father?” asked the magistrate.

“I remember him well, your honour,” came the reply.

Seeking to probe further, the judge said, “As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?”

There was a groaning pause.

Then the judge received an answer he had not expected.

“I remember when I went to him for advice.
He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, ‘Run along, boy; I’m busy!’

When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying “Run along, son; the writing of this book must be finished!’

Your honour, you remember him as a great lawyer.

But I remember him, only as a lost friend!”

The magistrate muttered to himself, “Alas! He finished the book, but lost the boy!”

The busyness of the father resulted in the boy failing to receive love, and thus ended up into bad ways of living.

Every person longs for love…
Every person longs to be cared for…

The father in this story, achieved great success in his worldly life, but failed miserably to love and care for his son.

However, in absolute contrast, we have our Heavenly Father, who is deeply in love with us, His children, and who never ceases to express His caring affection to us, at every moment.

Our Heavenly Father is also busy…
… but busy in loving His children, and expressing His constant care.

The Gospel of the Day is a testimony of Jesus affirming the assuring and loving presence of God, our Heavenly Father…
… Who would send the Holy Spirit amidst us, in order to always keep alive the presence of Jesus in our hearts.

Jesus assures: “And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor, to be with you, forever…” (Jn 14:16)

The context of this Gospel Passage is the talk with the disciples at The Last Supper.

This is the last discourse that the Lord has with His disciples, before His agonizing moments of the Passion.

He does not leave His chosen ones in desperation or dejection

Instead, He assures them…
… of His continual Presence
… of the Abiding Love of the Father
… of the Guiding assistance of the Holy Spirit

The early Church continually experienced this bountiful presence of the Lord –as seen in Acts 8:14-17
“Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit!” (Acts 8:17)

Later, in this discourse, the Lord will go on to declare: “… the Father Himself loves you…” (Jn 16: 27a)

These are beautiful words, which ought to be inscribed in golden shades, on the canvas of our hearts!

This is indeed one of the mightiest and loftiest truth that we all need to know, experience, be convinced of, and live constantly in its assurance…
… the truth that “The Father Himself loves us!”
… the truth that the “Triune God is always with us!”

Every person longs for love and longs to be cared for…

Human love, however, sometimes fails to answer to this basic and essential need.

Sometimes people around us get too busy, to even care for us…
Sometimes, people from whom we expect love, fail to understand our need…
Sometimes, people who ought to care for us, fall short of their responsibility….

All this…
… could leave a feeling a hurt within us.
… could imprint a wound of sadness inside of us.

But in such moments of feeling lonely and desperation, Jesus assures and promises us that we are not abandoned or left lonely…

Instead Jesus emphatically proclaims that just as He was loved by His Father, we too are loved by our Heavenly Father – “He who loves me, will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (Jn 14:21)

It is confidence in this tremendous love of the Father…
… that will make us to be strong in weak moments, knowing that the Lord is always with us – “I will not leave you desolate” (Jn 14: 18)

It is conviction in this unconditional love of the Father…
… that will make us to enjoy a deep sense of joy and bliss, knowing that in any situation of gloom or sadness or tension or worry, the Lord will take us through

Our Heavenly Father – our Abba – is in deep love with each one of us…

The Crucifix is the proof of this “mad love” of the Father.

Let us therefore orient ourselves to always seek and do the Will of the Father, as St Peter beautifully reminds us: “For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong!” (1 Pet 3:17)

May we, with His grace, deepen our love and conviction in the Amazing Love of the Father.

He is busy…
… but busy expressing His tender love to us.
He is busy writing…
… writing His letters of His precious love to us.

May we be privileged to hear:
“Wow!! He finished his/her life, and gained eternal life!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE

In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.

In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. (CCC # 1621)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 13, 2023: Saturday

“Being prepared to face any amount of difficulty to uphold our Faith in the Lord!”

(Based on Acts 16:1-10 and Jn 15:18-21– Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter)

The Boxer Rebellion or the Boxer Uprising was an anti-imperialist uprising which took place in China towards the end of the 20th century.

It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan), known in English as the “Boxers,” and was motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to foreign imperialism and associated Christian missionary activity.

The well-trained, athletic young men were referred to as “Boxers,” because of the martial arts and physical exercises that they practiced.

On one such occasion, during this Boxer Rebellion, some insurgents captured a Christian mission school and blocked all the gates but one.

In front of that one gate, was placed a Cross – flat on the ground.

Then the word was passed to those inside that any who trampled the cross underfoot would be permitted their freedom and life, but that any refusing would be shot.

Terribly frightened, the first seven students trampled the cross under their feet and were allowed to go free.

But an student in the eighth class- a young girl – refused to commit the sacrilegious act.

Kneeling beside the cross in prayer for strength, she arose and moved carefully around the cross, and went out to face the firing squad.

Strengthened by her example, every one of the remaining ninety-two students followed her to the firing squad!

The example of the one brave and faithful child inspired others to also be bold in their defence of faith.

These children, strong and courageous, laid down their lives, to be obedient to their faith.

Fear of death could not strangle their faith!
Fear of persecution could not suppress their conviction!

The Gospel of the Day is a mighty invitation by Jesus to remain steadfast and bold even in the face of persecutions in defence for our faith in Him.

And this steadfastness is in imitation of Jesus, our Master, who Himself underwent a miserable series of pain, persecution , suffering and humiliation, and yet remain totally faithful to His Mission.

Jesus says, “If the world hates you, realise that it hated me first… If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (Jn 15: 18, 20b)

The Lord is very clear in His teaching and preaching:

Friendship with Jesus would mean hostility from the world.
Non-compromise with Jesus’ teaching would result in antagonism from the world.

Our Lord Himself had to undergo this pain of rejection, persecution and opposition throughout His life…

At His birth, King Herod sought to terminate His life
After Baptism, Satan sought to tempt Him out of His mission.
During His ministry, the Pharisees and Scribes would misunderstand and misjudge Him

The Lord alerts His disciples that the same will be true in their lives too, if they too chose to remain faithful to their vocation.

As a follower of the Lord, we too need to be aware that sufferings and hardships on being Christian is sure to come our way.

What is our attitude and disposition to these trials that we face because of our faith in Christ?

Are we bold and courageous…
… even when we are to face isolation or seclusion due to standing firm in our values and principles in the Lord?

Do we live our life in joy and calmness…
… even when we have to face misunderstandings and become an object of laughter, or called as “old-traditionalist” as a result of being staunch in following the Gospel values?

The world constantly ensnares us with temptations to abandon the Cross…

The evil one very often traps us with hardships to dilute our faith in the Lord…

Are we going to yield in to such temptations and enticements…
… or are we prepared to face any amount of difficulty, to uphold our Faith in the Lord?

Are we going to stamp the Cross of Christ and Faith in Him…
… or we bold and courageous to sustain our witnessing to Jesus in the world?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom

Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity.
Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be truly good.

The most excellent good is something even better than what is admitted to be good. (CCC # 1620)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 11, 2023: Friday

“Growing in the light of the Images of Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit to deepen our conviction and commitment to the Kingdom!”

(Based on Acts 15:22-31 and Jn 15:12-17– Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter)

The Gospels are a beautiful account of the many narratives, describing the works, teachings and life of Jesus.

We get a glimpse to various images and facets of the life of Jesus.

These various images of the Lord, help us to relate to Him in a much more intimate and closer manner.

These various images of the Lord, also help us, in turn, to imitate Him and to live more and more like Him, in this world.

The Gospel of the Day… just six verses… Jn 15: 12-17, on closer reading, presents a number of images of the Lord.

These images will help us to…
… form a closer bond with the Lord
… imitate the Lord better in our lives

IMAGE 1: Jesus, the Lover…. inviting us to be His lovers!

The Lord says, “… love one another, as I have loved you” (Jn 15: 12)

Jesus is our Lover!

He is the Love-incarnate, and He expresses His deep love to us at every moment of our life.

Do we experience the Lord as a Lover…?
… intimately and passionately loving us, even in the midst of problems of life
… assuring His faithful support to us at every situation, even if we have been unfaithful

IMAGE 2: Jesus, the friend… inviting us to have Him as our best friend!
The Lord says, “… I have called you friends… ” (Jn 15: 15b)

Jesus is our Friend!

He is the One who shares everything that >> He has with us and does not keep any secrets in this Divine friendship.

Do we experience the Lord as our Friend…?
… constantly walking beside us, sharing our every emotion – joy, sorrow, hateful feelings, frustration, silly thoughts, stupid doubts, unseen jealousies etc
… on whom we can rely on, in any situation of life – may not get an answer in every problem, but surely being strengthened in having a shoulder to lean on and hands to hold onto!

IMAGE 3: Jesus, the brother…inviting us to share in His Sonship!
The Lord says, “… I have told you everything I have heard from My Father” (Jn 15: 15)

Jesus, the Son of the Heavenly Father, is our Brother!

We are raised to a status of being “sons in the Son!”
We are given the privilege to address God – not as any impersonal being, or a distant reality.. but as our Father – a loving Daddy, a caring Parent!

Do we experience the Lord as our Brother…?
… the One who reveals the secrets of the Heavenly Family and bids us have a closer union with the Divine Family
… the One who asks us to cast off our fear of God as being some strict rule-keeper and instead to cherish His Fatherly affection and fondness

IMAGE 4: Jesus, the Master… inviting us to give heed to His commandments!
The Lord says, ” This I command: love one another” (Jn 15: 17)

Jesus is our Master!

We are obliged to obey the order of the Lord and carry out His plans and wishes faithfully.

Do we experience the Lord as our Master…?
… giving heed to His commandment of being an instrument of love and harmony in our life situations
… being faithful, in little or big things, to please the Master at all times

IMAGE 5: Jesus, the Intercessor… inviting us to cast our concerns to Him!
The Lord says, “… whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you” (Jn 15:16b)

Jesus is our Intercessor!

By His Holy Sacrifice, He has become the mediator and intercessor for the entire human race, before the Heavenly Father (1 Tim 2:5)

Do we experience the Lord as our Intercessor…?
… bringing before Him our concerns and the needs of the world, knowing that intercession is a very powerful means of alleviating the struggles and problems of the world
… becoming a prayer-warrior and helping the grace and intervention of God to be felt by people who are in distress and trouble

IMAGE 6: Jesus, the Missionary.. inviting us to be co-workers in His Project Kingdom!
The Lord says, “you did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…” (Jn 15: 16a)

Jesus is our model Missionary

The mission that was entrusted by the Father is now shared by Jesus to all of us, and we become partners and collaborators with Him

Do we experience Jesus as our model Missionary…?
… knowing that He is the ideal and perfect missionary and that I must seek to imitate Him, in bringing God’s reign in the lives of people
… realising that it is a huge honour and a big responsibility that is placed on me, to be a co-worker and teammate of the Lord.

The Gospel presents these powerful images of the Lord to grow closer to Him and to reflect these images, in our contexts.

The early Church reflected on the various dimensions and guidance of the Lord, working in their lives and made decisions in the light of the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:22-31)

We are also invited to grow in the light of the Images of Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit to deepen our conviction and commitment to the Kingdom!

Let the words of St Clare inspire us:
“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become.

If we love things, we become a thing.
If we love nothing, we become nothing.

Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation.

This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom

Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself.
It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will.

Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other. (CCC # 1620)

✝💜 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 11, 2023: Thursday

“’Stirring up our lives’ to savour the sweetness of joy, peace and serenity of the Lord!”

(Based on Acts 15:7-21 and Jn 15:9-11 – Thursday of the Fifth Week of Easter)

One of the wonderful SMS’s that has been read and circulated by many of us, goes thus….

“Life is like having a cup of coffee…
You sit by the window, lift the cup, take a careless sip…
… and find no sugar.

Too lazy to go for the sugar, you somehow manage with that sugarless cup.

On finishing, you find undissolved sugar crystals, settled at the bottom!

That is life!

We don’t make any effort to value what is around or within us.

So look around… Maybe, the sweetness you are looking is much closer than you think!”

How often is our spiritual life also lived similarly…

We go through the rigours of spiritual practices…
… but they sometimes become mere routines

We perform many chores of religious exercises…
… but they sometimes turn out to be ritualistic.

Spiritual life becomes tasteless…
Spiritual life loses its fascination…

But Jesus, in the Gospel of the Day invites us to have a deeper excitement and happiness in life, by abiding in His love.

He tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy maybe in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn 15: 11)

The Lord wishes each of His follower to live a life of immense joy and happiness.

Jesus, Himself lived a very joyful life.

What was the recipe of His happiness?

A life that was lived in perfect communion with His Heavenly Father…
… seeking union with the Father through moments of solitude in prayer
… raising His Heart to the Father in gratitude and thanksgiving at every situation of life.

A life that was lived in absolute obedience to the Will of His Father…
… willing to shed any personal comforts or desires to be faithful to the mission entrusted
… readiness to undergo any amount of pain and suffering, even death, to be totally committed

Jesus hands over this same recipe to us, to discover true joy and happiness in life.

When we live in Communion with the Heavenly Father…
… in intense moments of prayer
… with a heart of thanksgiving
And we obey God’s Will…
… even at the cost of some personal comforts
… ready to bear sufferings to be faithful to Him

It is then…
… that we will experience real joy and happiness
… that we will treasure heavenly experiences in our hearts

Life grinds us through many tasteless moments and situations…

We get upset easily…
We tend to get defensive…
We get into a mode of being lethargic…

But the Lord says… “Stir up your lives!”

“Stir up your lives” to savour the sweetness of joy, peace and serenity…
… to taste the joy that is guaranteed by obeying God’s commandments
… to taste the peace that is assured by letting our lives be symphony of service to others
… to taste the serenity that is promised by always abiding in the loving presence of the Lord

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY – THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY – Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom

Virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return…

… a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away. (CCC # 1619)