Jul 16 (Mt 11:20-24 and Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)

There is an incident in the life of Queen Victoria.

As a queen, she enjoyed many luxuries and comforts.

>> She too, however, had to go through many family problems, especially, concerns as a grandmother.

One of her grandsons was highly reckless in the usage and spending of money.

Once, as his birthday was approaching, the grandson wrote to his grandmother, Queen Victoria, reminding her of his approaching birthday.

>> He cleverly suggested that “money would be the best and the most acceptable birthday gift”.

In reply, the Queen Grandmother wrote back a “letter of advice”- in her own hand – sternly reproving the young boy for his life of extravagance and urging him on the practice of economy.

However, the young boy’s reply to this letter, staggered her:

“Dear Grandma,” said the letter, “thank you for your kind letter of advice.

>> I have just sold the same letter for five pounds!”

The young grandson spared no efforts to even “auction and sell” the prized ‘letter of advice’ of the Queen, and got for himself some extra money!!

The young fellow wasted away every chance that was offered to him, to live a good life.

>> Instead, the privileges that were offered to him were converted to opportunities for indulging in more and more occasions of sin!

The Gospel of the day presents Jesus condemning such an “unrepentant” and “arrogant” attitude of some cities, in amending their ways and in turning back to the Lord.

Jesus raises a cry of sigh, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done to you, had been in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long back” (Mt 11:21)

“And you, Capernaum! Will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades” (Mt 11: 23)

These three towns – Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum – had a unique common feature.

>> These three were called as the “Orthodox Triangle”.

These towns consisted of “traditional” Jews – Jews who took the Law of Moses very seriously!

• They had a benefit of a “faith that was traditional and deep-rooted”

These towns also consisted of “privileged” people – people who had the great privilege of being witnesses to many miracles, events, preaching and deeds of the Lord Jesus.

• They had the privilege of a “faith that was encouraged and boosted by the wonderful deeds of Jesus”

In spite of these great opportunities and advantages that were offered to them, the people in these towns “failed” to live a life of repentance!

>> And this is what the Lord condemns them for…

They had the benefit of a traditional faith…

… but it did not move their lives to be lived in holiness!

They had the privilege of a faith that was nourished and encouraged…

… but it did not make them to purge their lives of sin and seek to live worthily in the presence of God!

The people of these towns wasted away every chance that was offered to them, to live a good life.

>> Instead, the privileges that were offered to them were converted to occasions for indulging in more and more opportunities for sin!

Is my life also resembling these three towns?

>> I may be a “traditional” Christian…

… having ‘inherited’ my faith in the Lord from my family and my background

… having heard and even practising many acts of faith and devotion

>> I may also be an “encouraged” Christian…

… having got many opportunities to hear and witness the powerful works of the Lord through many talks, retreats, miracles, sacraments etc

… having the privilege of constantly encountering the living presence of the Lord in the lives of many people.

But do these factors get “personalized” and make me “to live a life of holiness and repentance”?

• I may boast that I am a Christian by birth

• I may claim that I am doing many great works in the ministry of the Lord

• I may assert that I have experienced many miraculous Divine interventions in life

>> But do all these make me to “repent” of my sins and help me seek to “live a life of sanctity”?

The message of the Gospel is clear: “Repent, and believe, in the Lord!”

The faith-inputs that I receive, ought to, first and foremost, cause a transformation in my life – seeking God’s Will at all times and remaining firm to avoid any occasions of sin.

The Lord through today’s Gospel is a writing a “letter of advice to us” – to examine our lives and to make the necessary changes, in order to live a holier life.

>> Are we going to take serious heed to this “letter of advice” and make suitable changes?

… or are we going to “auction and sell off” this “letter of advice” and nullify the loving message of the Gospel?

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The feast was assigned to 16 July, because on that date in 1251, according to Carmelite traditions, the scapular was given by the Blessed Virgin to St. Simon Stock.

The Scapular (from Latin scapulae, “shoulders”) – is both a sign of our belonging to Mary and pledge of her maternal protection in this life and the next.

It is also a sign of couple of elements:

1. A consecration to and trust in Mary

2. A declaration to imitate Our Lady’s virtues, especially Her humility, chastity, and prayerfulness.

The scapular is not…

… a magical charm to protect someone.

… an automatic guarantee of salvation.

… an excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life

It is instead, a sign…

… to follow Jesus like Mary

… to be open to God and to His Will.

… to be guided by Faith, Hope and Love.

… to pray at all times

… to discover and be aware of the Presence of God in all that happens around us.

As St. John of the Cross says:

“He who loves, is not ashamed before men of what he does for God…

… neither does he hide it through shame, though the whole world should condemn it.”

Let us seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother of Mt Carmel, in our struggles and hardships of life…

… and may the Sacramental of the Scapular be a sign for us to publicly declare our Love for Christ and our Readiness to “take up the Cross!”

May we hold Mamma’s Hands…

… as She Inspires, Helps, Challenges and Intercedes for us!

Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother of Carmel!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Our Lord established three unions in the sacred Virgin Our Lady…

>> The first is that of the Divine Nature with the human nature in her sacred womb, which is so elevated a mystery.

>> The second union which He effected in Our Lady was that of maternity with virginity, a union which is absolutely outside the course of nature, for it unites two things which it is impossible to find together in nature.

>> The third union is that of a very exalted charity and a very profound humility.

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Jul 15 (Mt 5:13-19)

A commonly known story (found in different versions) is told of a king who once asked his daughter how dear he was to her.

“As dear, as dear – as salt!” said the daughter, in all her innocence.

The king thought that this was very little and a “cheap” way of expressing her love to him.

>> And so, being unhappy, remained extremely disappointed with his daughter.

A few months, later, the King sponsored a great feast for the people of his land.

The daughter, made sure, that every dish that was brought to the King, remained unsalted

>> And thus nothing tasted good to the King.

It was then that the King realized his mistake!

The absence of the salt – which rendered the food tasteless – made him realize the value of salt…

… and the intelligence, in the answer of his daughter!

And thus, the King loved his daughter recognizing the importance of salt – and happy to being loved “As dear, as dear – as salt!”

The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful reminder by the Lord, to recognize the importance of “being  the salt of the earth,”  and to be on the guard, that our Christian lives don’t become tasteless or bland..

… by “not losing the saltiness!”

As Jesus proceeds with the Sermon on the Mount, He declares…

… “You are the salt of the earth” (Mt 5: 13)

It is fascinating to recognize the greatness of this statement of Jesus, in our present day context…

Imagine this…

>> There are over six billion people in the world…

… spread over seven continents and around 195 countries…

>> There are people belonging to thousands of tribes, ethnicity, languages etc…

… and again hundreds of temperaments, personalities, outlooks and characters.

Among all these various people, the Lord – the Creator of the whole universe – declares to each one of us…

… YOU…

… Yes, YOU, His beloved creation, and the one whom He loves deeply:

>> “You are the salt of the earth”

Perhaps, this statement of the Lord may cause us surprise and trigger us to ask Him:

” You must be kidding, Lord!

>> I mean…. Look at the vast expanse of the world – millions of people in here, variety of languages, behaviors, temperaments, personalities…

… and amidst, all this, You expect, Me…

>> Me? To be the Salt of the Earth?!

We might even pose a question:

“Do you expect Me, a puny little thing, to really be the Salt to the Earth?

>> I am just a Nobody!”

But the Lord – who knows us through and through – would thunder back and tell us:

“Do not say, you are a nobody!

I am precise in calling You…!

>> You have been Baptized in Me, and you have My Spirit dwelling in You.

Long back, some of my servants also expressed their inability in a similar fashion…

… Abraham

… Jeremiah

… Peter

But they were raised… by My Grace and their co-operation.

You too, have a responsibility towards Me and My Kingdom…

… and You will do much in doing little, when and as I wish!”

Perhaps, these magnanimous words of the Lord would overwhelm us..

… but still, filled with unworthiness, we may cry out, expressing our helplessness:

“But Lord, the challenge is just too great!

I do have some talents and capabilities, that You have bestowed on me.

>> But will those be enough?

I just feel that I am too small and insignificant, to be making a real difference in the world!”

This is where the Lord will remind us…

“Of course, I don’t deny that it is going to be easy for you to be the Salt of the Earth!

You will struggle…

… You will have to walk the hard path, as did even my Beloved Son on His Way of the Cross.”

The Lord will also remind us that “the salt that He spoke of”…

…was not the pure, refined type that is available today.

The salt of the olden days, when exposed to moisture, could easily become insipid.

>> It could become tasteless and useless… good only to be thrown and trampled down!

In the same way, we, as the ‘Salt of the Earth’, need to be highly careful.

>> If we expose ourselves, too much to the worldly and material affairs, we will lose your saltiness!

>> If we pollute ourselves by the many vain pleasures in the world, we will end up being ineffective!

And then we will be useless…only to be trampled upon! (Mt 5:13b)

Our life is like… as St Paul writes in the Second Letter to the Corinthians is a… ‘Treasure in Clay’! (2 Cor 4:7)

When preserved and careful utilized, we will remain precious

>> If not handled carefully, we will end up spoiling a wonderful fortune!

We are to be the Salt of the Earth…

… in which ever state of life we are

… to which ever vocation we are called to

… in which ever works or activities we engage in

We are to be the salt…

… that gives taste, to those who have lost meaning and hope in life

… that preserves the virtues of the Gospel and teachings of the Church in a world of decay

… that symbolizes purity even though the world around you plunges into immorality and sin

… that makes you part of the Sacrifice that is offered to God as described in the Law (Lev 2:13)

Yes, we need to remember, that we have a great calling.. to be the Salt…

… to give taste to the world… to preserve the Gospel values..to be a symbol of purity…to offer your life as a sacrifice.

>> We are indeed Precious!

Let us never let ourselves be diluted with the waters of worldly pleasures and thus become insipid!

Perhaps, like the King in the story, we sometimes, don’t recognize the importance of salt…

… the importance and immense responsibility  in being “the salt of the earth”!

The Lord, today, reminds us:

“Your Christian vocation has to become dear to you….

… “As dear, as dear – as salt!”

Are we ready to be the ‘Salt of the Earth’…?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) –. “Fits of anger, vexation,and bitterness against ourselves…

… tend to pride.

>> And they spring from no other source than self-love…

… which is disturbed and upset at seeing that it is imperfect!”

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Jul 14 (Lk 10:25-37)

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster, who was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century was an American author and poet.

She has written a beautiful poem, which goes thus:

“It isn’t the thing you do;

It’s the thing you leave undone, Which gives you a bit of heartache…

… at the setting of the sun.

>> The tender word forgotten, The letter you did not write,

>> The flower you might have sent,  are your haunting ghosts tonight.

>> The stone you might have lifted, Out of a brother’s way,

>> The bit of heartsome counsel, You were harried too much to say.

>> The little acts of kindness, So easily out of mind;

>> Those chances to be helpful, Which everyone may find.

No, it’s not the things you do,

>> It’s the thing you leave undone, Which gives you the bit of heartache…

… at the setting of the sun!”

Our daily life gives us ample opportunities to do good…

… and more than equal, are the number of opportunities that are often lost, in doing good.

The Gospel of the Day is a stark reminder for us, to consider our level of love for the Lord…

… especially through the perspective of the many chances we miss in doing good and serving Him!

A scholar of the law went up to Jesus with a motive to test Him. (Lk 10: 25)

Despite being given a clarification by the Lord, the Gospel says, that the scholar of the law went on to ask another question, “to justify himself” (Lk 10: 29).

This attitude to “justify oneself, even without any just cause”…

… is a tendency, whose presence we ought to examine in ourselves

>> And if present, need to root out…

“Justifying oneself, even without any just cause”, could be pointing to the fact…

… that we are too proud to accept the view of the other, even when we know the truth

… that we are unwilling to let go of our ego, with a  fear of being defeated

To this trap of the scholar of the Law, who sought to “justify oneself, even without any just cause”…

… Jesus replied with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

One of the vivid observations that we can have from this parable is the “sin of omission” from the part of the first two possible helpers – the Priest and the Levite.

The man who was attacked, and lay in pain and anguish along the road from “Jerusalem to Jericho”…

… was in need of immediate attention

… was in need of aid and assistance

But the parable says that both – the Priest and Levite – responsible and supposedly God-serving people – refused to extend help.

There could be several reasons proposed as to why they did not stop by, to help the one in need.

Maybe…

… they risked ritual and social impurity  – since they were at the Temple of the Lord and touching the man had a risk of defilement.

… they were short of time – wanting to make sure they would reach in time for their Temple duties

… they were afraid of the robbers – since this 17 mile stretch from Jerusalem to Jericho was robber-infested

… they were indifferent to the cause of the needy – only being concerned with cultic service of the Lord and not translating them into acts of mercy

… they had a past experience of having faced danger – and were unwilling to put themselves into risk once again

… they were unable to set their priorities in order – unable to distinguish and discern that, not just Temple service, but even helping a needy person forms part of a true spirituality

The reasons….

… could be varied

… could be speculated

… could be argued upon

But one thing is certain: They failed to help a person in need…

… and thus had a missed a chances in doing good and serving Him!

>> This “missing the chance in doing good” constitutes the “sin of omission”

Yes, our daily life gives us ample opportunities to do good…

… and more than equal, are the number of opportunities that are often lost, in doing good.

Am in languishing with many “sins of omission”….?

>> Young persons who stray away from the honest and right paths of life – knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or purposely…

… demand our attention to pray for them and to find creative ways of bringing them back to the right path

>> Broken families which face crisis – either due to spousal misunderstandings or children’s worries or financial constraints or any other problems…

… cry out to us, to intervene in their lives by interceding for them and to become channels of peace, reconciliation and harmony.

>> Lethargic Christians and persons with lapsed faith – either due to ignorance or indifference or deception…

… plead to us, to bring their cause before the Throne of God’s Mercy and to be cheerful instruments who “fan their faith into flames”

In all such causes and similar cases, we are challenged to be the “Good Samaritan”…

… being humble enough to get down to our knees

… being daring and courageous to face humiliations in extending help

… being compassionate and caring to do follow-ups on our acts of mercy

It is only thus that we would be marching forward in our goodwill to firmly follow the commandments to inherit eternal life (Lk 10:25):

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength and with all your mind…

… and your neighbour as yourself!” (Lk 10: 27)

May our daily examination of the conscience, always remind us of the fact, that…

“It isn’t the thing you do;

>> It’s the thing you leave undone, Which gives you a bit of heartache…

… at the setting of the sun.”

>> And thus spur us, to have compassionate hearts and be a true “Missionary of Mercy”!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – ” Beware of unmeaning self-accusations, made out of a mere routine, such as…

… “I have not loved God as much as I ought;

… I have not prayed with as much devotion as I ought;

… I have not loved my neighbour as I ought;

… I have not received the Sacraments with sufficient reverence;” and the like.

>> But examine closely what special reason you have for accusing yourself thus.

For instance, when confessing that you have not loved your neighbour as you ought, it may be that what you mean is, that having seen some one in great want whom you could have succoured, you have failed to do so.

>> Well then, accuse yourself of that special omission: say, ‘Having come across a person in need, I did not help him as I might have done,’…

… either through negligence or hardness, or indifference…

… according as the case may be!”

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Jul 13 (Mt 10:24-33)

How BIG a God do we have?

It is said that…

You can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your ‘List of Worries’.

>>  The longer your list, the smaller your God!

Every morning we are to rise up to a brand new day…

… with immense potentials, loads of blessings, bundles of hope and treasures of aspirations…

>> But somehow, many of us, fall into the trap of losing these precious possibilities…

… and allow our worries and tensions and troubles and difficulties and anxieties to overpower us…

St. Francis of Assisi says, “By the anxieties and worries of this life, Satan tries to dull man’s heart and make a dwelling for himself there”

The Lord today, through the Gospel, makes a fervent invitation: To Trust in His Divine Providence and His Ever-Beloved Goodness.

>> Jesus says: “As for you, every hair of your head has been counted. So do not be afraid…You are worth much more than many sparrows..” (Mt 10:30)

Can we hear those words of the Lord once again…?

He is not lying… He is not flattering..

>> He is not indulging in heaping empty phrases.

He means it…!

” You Are Worth Much More !!”

… Yes, “YOU ARE WORTH MUCH MORE !!”

>> The God of Glory, the Lord of Sabaoth (hosts/armies), the Light of the world…

>>The Creator of the Entire nature, The One who can destroy both body and soul…

… This Great One, today, looks into our eyes….

… and tells us with deep love: “YOU ARE WORTH MUCH MORE!”

Jesus seeks to cast off fear from His followers by showing them the preciousness and value of their lives… and how much of important they are to Him.

For this, He presents the example of a sparrow:

>> “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Mt 10:30)

There is something interesting to be noted when Jesus speaks about sparrows…

• In Mt, Jesus says, ” Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?” (Mt 10: 29)

• In Lk, Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for a two cents?” (Lk 12: 6)

If two sparrows could be purchased for a cent…

…. then a person should get only four sparrows for two cents, isn’t it?

>> Then why the ‘fifth’ sparrow?

Probably the fifth sparrow must have been an incentive offered by merchants to get people to buy more sparrows.

>> The fifth sparrow was given, just merely to sweeten the deal!

(Just as sometimes in our days, the shopkeeper/vendor gives an extra/free thing when we purchase something)

Our Blessed Lord used this practice of “buy-four-get-one-free” sparrows to illustrate how much God values life.

He emphasizes that said that not even one sparrow is forgotten before God.

>> Even a nearly worthless ‘free sparrow’ is not overlooked by God.

>> He takes immense interest even in an unappreciated bird!

Therefore, Jesus says, “Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Mt 10:30)

Yes, the Lord says : “YOU ARE WORTH MUCH MORE !!”

Can these words of our Beloved Lord, enter into the depths of our hearts?

>> Can we savour the sweetness & the greatness, the immensity and the grandeur of these words?

It’s easy of course, to write reflections, to preach sermons, to proclaim orations, to list out bombastic adjectives on this topic…

But at the end of the day.. it all boils down to simply this:

“Am I accepting myself as really the one who is much worthy and dear to the Lord”?

>> Do I Believe in the God, who believes in me?

Sure, we feel ourselves little before God…

>> We consider ourselves as unworthy of the Splendid Holiness and Awesome Majesty of God…

But, let us also see how God looks at each one of us….

>> Let us become aware on how valued and treasured we are to the Lord!

We need to give heed to the words of  Prophet Isaiah to, “allow the Lord to touch our lives…” (Isaiah 6:7)

Of course, at the end of this reflection, our list of Worries, still, remains the same…

>> But, let’s realize that we have a much much bigger God than our long list of worries…

>> A God, who silently thunders in the depths of our hearts…

… assuring His protection: “You are worth much more …”

Are we listening?

St Padre Pio says:

“Even if the world were to capsize…

… if everything were to become dark, hazy, tumultuous…

…God would still be with us!”

Yes, We need to…

….Listen… Trust… Walk!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “With the single exception of sin…

… anxiety is the greatest evil that can happen to a soul!”

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Jul 12 (Mt 10:16-23)

A sunny day…

>> As the sun was casting its bright rays on the earth, a loud voice thundered – with might and power:

“Who gives a man speech and makes another deaf and dumb?

Or who gives sight to one and makes another blind?

Is it not, I….?

Go, then….

It is I who will assist you in speaking and will teach you what you are to say…”

Another sunny day…

>> As the sun was shining bright, the same loud voice thundered – yet again, with might and power:

“Say not, “I am too young…

To whomever I send, you shall go…

Whatever I command, you shall speak!

Have no fear… because I am with you, to deliver you!”

These two dialogues record two instances of “Great Assurances” that were offered to two Great People – Moses and Jeremiah – as seen in Ex 4: 11-12 and Jer 1: 7-8 – by the Great Yahweh!

These two persons – Moses and Jeremiah – one, the law-giver and the other a prophet – had some similarities…

…They were entrusted with great tasks…

… They both expressed their inability in speech…

… They both were, however, given assurances of strength and courage!

A task that is entrusted by the Lord is always blessed by Him, with His assurance of courage and strength!

>> The larger the responsibility… the greater would be the grace

>> The tougher the task… the bigger would be the blessing

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful expression of this same assurance that Jesus offered to His Apostles and to each one of us, who are called to be a Missionaries and Proclaimers of the Kingdom of God.

The Lord sends His Apostles on the mission journey and gives them various instructions in this participation of the Divine Activity.

Jesus was a very practical and realistic person.

When He sends the Apostles on the mission journey…

… He doesn’t promise a comfortable and cozy time

… He doesn’t make fanciful securities and spectacular guarantees.

Instead…

… He presents the ground reality and the actual facts of the task.

He says that, “Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Mt 10:16)

This imagery of the “sheep and the wolves” that the Lord used for the Apostles would have probably filled them with panic and fright.

>> They were well aware of the condition of the sheep, when they encountered wolves…

The wolf – the predator is an expert in stealth and is rarely noticed by the sheep.

As the sheep graze, predator’s strategy is simple – it attacks the young or weak that are on the outer-edge of the flock.

>> This causes a sudden panic in the whole flock!

The sheep would cry… but their cry would hardly be heard!

>> Their voices after a loud shriek, would begin to choke!

The Apostles, who were well-familiar and had witnessed the sheep-grazing patterns in their land, were aware of this aspect, when the Lord said, “I send you as sheep among wolves…”

And perhaps, a jolt of fear would have run down their spine….

• Just like Moses had felt a sense of difficulty in taking up the task that Yahweh had entrusted…

• Just like Jeremiah had experienced a wave of fear when Yahweh appointed him as a prophet…

So the disciples could have also felt a sense of worry or even apprehension…

But just like Yahweh had assured them of His strength and grace, the Lord also assures His apostles in this state of fear:

“When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt 10: 19-20)

How often do we also find ourselves in situations of hardships and difficulties, in our task of being a True Christian…

• We feel fearful to open our mouths when we witness incidents of corruption..

• We fear to let ourselves be heard when values of Christ are compromised…

• We find ourselves shut to speak when we encounter acts of injustice…

But in all such situations, the Lord assures us that we need to bank on His Strength and Grace for courage!

What is needed from our part…

… is a total dependence and trust in His power

… is a communion with His Spirit and faith in His Father

… is a willingness to act according to the Plans and Will of the Lord

The world today is growing to be menacingly fierce…

And as Christians, we are sometimes like “sheep among the wolves”

May we learn to be, with the grace of the Lord, “to be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves” (Mt 10:16)

May we grow in our understanding, that a task entrusted by the Lord is always blessed by Him, with His assurance of courage and strength!

>> The larger the responsibility… the greater would be the grace!

>> The tougher the task… the bigger would be the blessing!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “You must choose.

>> Is it better that there should be thorns in your garden in order to have roses…

… or that there should be no roses in your garden, in order to have no thorns?”

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Jul 11 (Mt 10:7-15)

A story is told of a blind boy who was flying a kite.

He enjoyed this pastime along with others of his own age.

A passer-by, knowing him and wanting to mildly tease the blind-fellow, said:

‘Hey, boy! Do you know where your kite is?

You don’t know whether it is on the ground or up in the sky, do you?’

‘Oh yes,’ said the blind lad, ‘I do know! It is now quite a fair height up in the air.’

How do you know that?’ asked the passer-by, ‘you surely can’t see it.’

The boy replied, ‘I can’t see it, it is true, but I can feel the tug of the string!’

The ‘tug’ of the string help the boy to realise the presence of the kite and to sense its height in the air!

The awareness of the presence of the Divine power in our lives, is such…

One may not be able to always see the presence of the Divine, but the believer can surely experience its power and strength!

This experience of “the Divine tug of the string” keeps the life of the believer moving forward and helps to depend on the Divine Presence for strength in life.

The Gospel of the Day is an invitation by Jesus to grow deeper in this “awareness and dependence” on Jesus in our life as a missionary of the Kingdom of God.

After having summoned, authorized and named His Twelve Apostles, Jesus sends them ahead of Him, to the places of mission.

The Gospel of the day begins with the phrase, “Preach, as you go…” ( Mt 10:7)

Some other translations would read as “As you go, make a proclamation…”

This is such wonderfully practical, and yet at the same time, a phrase that is often overlooked: “Preach, as you go….” / “As you go… make a proclamation”

Preaching or Proclamation in our times, is often picturised with a limited understanding…

Preaching or proclamation that takes place…

… only from the pulpit or during a service in Church

… only in the form of speaking and explaining the Word of God

But the words of the Lord are worth noting:

“Preach, as you go….” / “As you go… make a proclamation”

Preach, as you go about doing your daily duties and activities

>> As you go about your responsibilities and works, make a proclamation

Preach as you go around meeting different people by sharing His love and joy to all

>> As you go about engaging in numerous actions, make a proclamation by sharing His presence

The act of preaching and proclamation of the Kingdom of God is to be reflected in our every action and movement…

• Whatever we do, may it become an act of proclaiming God’s abundant blessings!

• Whatever work we take up, may it become a moment of preaching God’s amazing providence!

Such an act of Preaching and Proclamation makes it mandatory that one grows deeper in the “awareness and dependence” on Jesus in the life as a missionary of the Kingdom of God.

>> The act of proclamation needs the “awareness” that I am continuing the Great Mission work that has Jesus as the “Initiator”, the “Sustainer” and the “Finale”!

>> The act of preaching needs the “dependency” on the Lord to realize that the Lord alone can provide all the graces, strength and courage for the mission!

One needs to feel the “tug and the pull of the Divine Lord”…when one goes through

… hardships and difficulties in being a missionary of the Kingdom, in hostile situations

… problems and challenges as we seek to live a true Christian life in the modern world

… meaninglessness or emptiness as we go through the ‘deserts’ and ‘darkness’ in life

Yes, it is an experience of “the Divine tug of the string” that keeps the life of the believer moving forward and to depend on the Divine Presence for strength in life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Love renders the charm of what we love so pleasing…

…our minds never tire of reflecting on it!”

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Jul 10 (Mt 10:1-7)

Jesus is strange!

>> And he loves to do strange things!

“Dare to be different” is a call which echoes very much through the corporate sector today, and also in many areas of our life!

>> And Jesus, certainly, is a model and an example for each one of us, in this ‘Daring to be Different’!

And this strange and daring Jesus – Who loves to do things differently –

…throws up a classic example for this, in today’s Gospel Reading, by choosing The Twelve…

>>Twelve strange persons to be His Daring disciples.

We could have a short litany of adjectives to describe or portray these Twelve…

Let’s get set with a mini-dictionary:

>> Ordinary, Mundane, Shy, Absent-minded, Introvert, Prejudiced, Inhibited…

>> Hated by society, Craver of power, Zealous in quick actions, Betraying Characters…

>> Sceptics, Unsteady Temperaments, Cynical…

The list is long, right?

Maybe, some of us, also very much possess these characters and traits!

>> Is it True?

But, with all these varied personalities and natures, Jesus, the Daring Master, chose His twelve, having these characters…!

The Lord loves to transform and change…

>> He changed the water into wine…

>> He transformed a few loaves of bread and fish as food for thousands…

>> He changed the raging sea to calmness and serenity…

>> He transformed sicknesses in people to good health and new vigour…

>> He changed the static and inhuman view of the Law to a dynamic and loving perception…

Yes, the Lord loves to transform and change…

>> And this Lord, who loves to transform and change, also worked wonders with the Twelve!

These Twelve, with their varied personalities and characters, were handed on the Charge to continue the Gigantic Task of their Daring Master: “To be the Ambassadors of the Kingdom of God”

>> To be with Him and to be sent out

>> To have authority over unclean spirits and drive them out

>> To cure every disease and illness and to preach!

These chosen lights were to cast their rays over the rest of humanity, in all nations.

Are we also hearing the Call of the Lord, to be the Ambassadors of His Kingdom, in the place where we are, in the state of life, that we are in?

Let us not be worried about our nature or temperament or character or weaknesses.

Yes, the Lord is strange…

… and He loves to do strange things

>> He is CRAZY over us!

The Lord also loves…

… to transform and to change

>> He is Willing to TRANSFORM us!

The only thing that He needs from us.. is Our Consent.. Our Willingness…our Openness!

>> Let no negative feelings come in the way of this Deep Desire of the Lord…

Like the Israelites in Hosea 10:1…

… Let us not boast on our prosperity or our richness

… Let our hearts not remain divided in our loyalty

>> Let us instead plough a new ground…seeking the Lord…

>> The Kingdom of God is a vineyard…

… it needs labourers!

>> The Kingdom of God is a net…

… it needs fishermen!

>> The Kingdom of God is a field…

… it needs sowers and reapers!

>> The Kingdom of God is a flock…

… it needs shepherds!

Yes, the Lord is calling… the Lord is desiring… the Lord is wanting…

>> Are we hearing?

Let this not remain a Missed Call!

>> Let’s pick up, and answer…

… and Co-operate with the Strange Master, Who calls us to “Dare to be Different”!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The Lord asks for your heart.

>> Give it such as it is!

Are we not aware that everything that is remitted into His Divine Hands is converted to good?”

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