Nov 22 (Lk 19:45-48)

One of the basic characteristics of religion is the aspect of Sacredness.

God is Holy.

>  And all matters pertaining to this holy God, has a Sense of the Sacred.

>> Worship becomes meaningful, when one becomes aware of this Sense of the Sacred.

>> Preaching becomes powerful, when one is convinced of this Sense of the Sacred.

>> Liturgy becomes heart-touching, when one acknowledges this Sense of the Sacred.

Today we need to make an examination…

>> Is my Worship of God becoming merely external and losing its inner values?

>> Is my Preaching of God reduced to great talks but devoid of conviction and passion?

>> Is my Liturgy more a ritualistic and obligatory exercise than truly an experiential one?

If the answer to any of the above questions is a ‘Yes’…

… then we are perhaps losing the Sense of the Sacred.

The Gospel of the day presents a classic case of this loss of the Sacred Sense.

The Temple of Jerusalem is desecrated by a loss of the Sacred Sense and Jesus seeks to restore it by cleansing the temple.

“Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things” (Lk 19:45)

The Jerusalem Temple was very dear to the faith of the people of Israel.

>> Worshipping in this temple was the ultimate for the Israelites, in their honouring of God.

At the Passover, Jews from around the world came to the temple to sacrifice to the Lord (Ex. 12:1-28; Lev. 23:4-8).

It was highly impractical to bring sacrificial animals long distances.

>> So they were made available in the Jerusalem Temple.

Most Jews also paid the temple tax during the Passover.

Since, they came from various places and bore pagan Roman seals, money-changers were there in the temple, to convert the Roman coinage into appropriate currency.

>> Pagan symbols on Roman money made it unacceptable for Yahweh’s house.

Where there is money, corruption slowly creeps in…!

Pilgrims had to pay exorbitant rates to change money, and sellers exploited those in poverty, overcharging for the poor man’s offering of pigeons and doves (Lev. 5:7).

To make things worse, these merchants set up shop in the Court of the Gentiles, making it useless as a place of prayer due to the hustle and bustle of the buying and the selling of goods..

Though not inherently evil, these practices became occasions for sin.

>> What started for a noble cause, led to immense corruption.

There began the loss of the “Sense of the Sacred”…

And this is so true in our own lives…

The beginning of the loss of the Sense of the Sacred begins with trivial things.

We allow a little delays and some relaxations in our prayer life…

>> And suddenly, we find no excitement in spending time in prayer.

We allow laxity and silence and indifference in our relationships…

>> And suddenly, we find no meaning in many of our relations…

We allow unpreparedness and disinterest to walk into our celebration and participation of Mass…

>> And suddenly, we find no meaning in the Holy Eucharist.

The loss of the Sense of the Sacred happens in a very subtle and quiet way.

>> And unless, we remain vigilant and careful, we can lose our way in the spiritual warfare.

It is this reminder and warning that the Lord delivers today, by cleansing the Jerusalem Temple.

“It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it into a den of robbers'” (Lk 19: 46)

Today we have converted many of the places into “dens of robbers”…

>> Today we have badly defiled the “Sense of the Sacred” in many places…

Cinemas and movies have a heavy stench of vulgarity and indecency.

>> They rob the society of its ethical culture and moral innocence.

Posters, hoardings and advertisements have become mediums of immorality and offensiveness

>> They rob its viewers of their principles and convictions in life.

The Internet and new media are badly misused to become snares of promoting life-threatening and life-abusing activities.

>> They rob its users of their proper purposes & instead addict them to many compulsions & cravings, which are hard to be given up.

Families and communities often become places lacking in genuine love, unity and peace

>> They rob one of the chance to grow in a spirit of sharing and understanding.

Our bodies are often manipulated with many addictions, improper practises and ungodly behaviours.

>> They rob the person of the purity and holiness that is engraved deep within.

The Cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple is a strong reminder for us, to check the areas and the manner in which we have lost the Sense of the Sacred…

>> We complain that the world is becoming more materialistic and less spiritual.

>> We complain that the Church is becoming more “worldly” and less inspiring.

One of the root problems lies in the fact, that we perhaps losing the “Sense of the Sacred”

>> Unless we are in awe of the God who has created this beautiful and majestic world, we will continue to abuse and misuse the world.

>> Unless we are in wonder of the God who has gifted the Church with life-saving sacraments, we will continue to blame the Church and lose precious graces that we can obtain through her.

Let us revive the “Sense of the Sacred”…

>> Let us cleanse anything which diminishes this “Sense of the Sacred”

>> Let us become a people who radiate with joy and enthusiasm this “Sense of the Sacred”

Let us seek the intercession of St Cecilia, the Patron Saint of musicians, whose feast we celebrate today.

>> May we imitate her passion and zeal to be always single-focused and close to the Lord, even to the point of intense suffering …

… and thus at all times, have “heavenly music” in our hearts!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Lately I was near the beehives and some of the bees flew onto my face.

I wanted to raise my hand, and brush them off.

>> ‘No,’ said a peasant to me, ‘do not be afraid, and do not touch them. They will not sting you at all, if you touch them they will bite you.’

I trusted him; not one bit me.

>> Trust me; do not fear these temptations…

… do not touch them; they will not hurt you!”

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Nov 21 (Lk 19-41-44 and Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother)

A priest was once persuading a church member to be more active and enthusiastic in his Christian life…

… and to give a little more priority to his spiritual life.

They were sitting inside the man’s parlour

>> It was winter time, and the coal was burning in the fireplace.

The man objected saying, “I can be a good person, even without doing all the spiritual activities and the requirements of the Church.”

The priest kept silent.

But stepped to the fireplace

>> Took the tongs, and picked a blazing coal from the fire…

… and kept it away from the fire.

In silence, both of them watched the blazing coal – which was far from the fire – lose its heat…

… and going off.

“I see…,” said the man!

Living a life away from God – the Fire of Life…

… will always cause tepidity and apathy to sneak in

>> Leading to a slow but sure loss of life.

The Gospel of the Day is the dramatic incident of Jesus crying over the City of Jerusalem…

… who had failed to understand the coming of the Messiah

>> And thus lost opportunity to truly be the “Jerusalem – the City of Peace!”

The heart of a parent is broken, when the child strays away from the ways of truth and honesty.

>> If this is the experience of our earthly parents, how much more will be the pain and suffering of our God, if we stray away from Him, who loves each one of us deeply with a tender affection?

It is this sorrow and grief that is strongly expressed by Jesus in the Gospel of the day.

Jesus laments over the City of Jerusalem.

St Luke records this lamentation of the Lord with a powerfully sentimental verse:

“As Jesus drew near, he saw the city and wept over it” (Lk 19: 41)

Jesus is usually an epitome of great joy and rejoicing.

>> But this joyful Jesus being made to shed tears shows the gravity of situation.

What made Jesus to shed tears?

The pain and the hurt He experienced because of the ill-response and harsh reaction of His chosen people, Israel, represented by the city of Jerusalem.

God had chosen Israel as His people.

>> Out of all the civilizations on the earth, He chose them as His beloved.

Through them He promised that the Saviour of the human race would come.

This promise ignited the hearts of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

>> God wiped out their enemies even in the most extreme of circumstances!

Time and again, God blessed them with judges, kings and prophets. He even provided them a place to worship.

But as the quote goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt!”

Israel, God’s own people no longer delighted in being His distinctive people.

>> For them, He became routine.

>> They began to consider Him of little value.

They allowed their hearts to grow hard, over and over, again and again.

Finally, Jesus, the long-promised Messiah came, the One whom God the Father had sent.

>> But most of the Jews by then, had grown stubborn and complacent in their ways.

>> They had no room for One who came to fulfil their Law and the Prophets.

They maltreated the Saviour of the World.

>> They rejected the Chosen One of God.

>> They abused the Anointed One of the Lord.

And this led, Jesus to shed tears.

This story of Jerusalem could well be our own life-story.

We have been specially chosen and loved by the Lord.

>> He has taken us through many dangers, sicknesses and accidents.

In times when everything seem lost, He has been our refuge.

> In moments when all seemed totally blank and dark, He has been the glowing light.

> In occasions we felt like quitting life and escaping from realities, He held us in good stead.

But we tend to easily forget all these good deeds and wonders of the Lord.

>> Yes, it’s a sad thing, but a sure reality: “For many of us, God is often, just a routine!”

We fail to be grateful and thankful to the Lord….

…by living a holy and virtuous life.

…by deepening our bond of love and affection with Him

…by translating His graces into deeds of charity and concern for our people.

We instead persecute and torture Him…

… by living a lethargic or unholy or even scandalous life

… by abandoning many of His commandments and the teachings of the Church

… by harming our brothers and sisters and being highly indifferent in situations.

God’s Heart – like that of a broken parent weeping for the child – is crying out for us…

>> Perhaps, He is telling us, “I am wounded!”

>> We have strayed much…it’s time to come back to Him

He calls us.

> He longs to have us with Him always.

>> He wants us back in His loving embrace.

As little children, let us run, in sincere repentance and honest contrition, to the welcoming Heart of our Beloved God.

Let us not boast or brag saying that, “I can be a good person, even without doing all the spiritual activities and the requirements of the Church.”

Rather, let’s realize that “away from the fire”…

… even a blazing coal will slowly but surely lose its heat and go off!

May we be reminded that living a life away from God – the Fire of Life…

… will always cause tepidity and apathy to sneak in

>> Leading to a slow but sure loss of life.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother Mary.

Today we celebrate the initiation of our Blessed Mother into this way of holiness, in Her Presentation.

The account of the Presentation of Mary comes from the apocryphal Infancy Narrative of James.

>> Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, who had been childless, received the good news from an angel that they would have a child.

>> In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter they brought her when she was around the age of three to the Temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God.

The Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mother is a reminder and a challenge to us to give greater attention to a life of holiness.

It is also a constant reminder for us to “offer ourselves” to the Lord.

We can offer many things to the Lord…

… our talents for His glory

… our possessions for His service

But the greater and the better sacrifice, that the Lord not just wishes, but also demands, is the Offering of our Lives.

… an offering of a faithful life

… an offering of a holy life

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of our Blessed Mamma’s Presentation, may we “give ourselves” wholly to the Lord.

>> We shall also seek the intercession of our Beautiful Mother, so that, like Her, we too can be wholly belonging to the Lord!

Yes, as little children, holding the Hands of our Blessed, may we cry to the Lord – “For You, Forever!”

Happy Feast of the Presentation of our Blessed Mamma!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us run to Mary, and, as Her little children, cast ourselves into Her arms with a perfect confidence.

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Nov 20 (Lk 19:11-28)

A little tortoise was constantly facing a complex of feeling too low in life.

Seeing the various other animals, moving swiftly and speedily…

… the tortoise would very often hide itself in its shell.

It felt that it could never progress in life!

One day, it came across a wise person and sought an advice of how to get the best from life.

The sage – a wise person – replied:

“My little tortoise, always remember that you have been created specifically.

So never feel low or bad about yourself.

And as far as progressing is concerned…

… Always remember: ‘Unless you stick your neck out, you can never progress!”

That was a simple, yet effective piece of advice, isn’t it

Unless the tortoise “stuck its neck out, it could never progress!”

Sticking the neck out of course, meant “taking a risk”…

… but unless that was done, progress was not going to happen.

The same is true for us in our life as well:

>> Unless we take risks… Unless we “stick out our necks”

… we can never progress!

The Gospel of the Day is a parable of a person who refused “to stick out his neck”…

… and thus not only failed to progress, but ended up on the losing side!

Jesus presents the very-practical “Parable of the Productive Servants”

A nobleman who, before going to a far away country, entrusts money to his servants with an instruction, “Engage in trade with these, until I return” (Lk 19: 13)

The money given was a “mina”

A mina was a Greek coin.

>> The lowest level of the Greek Coinage System was the drachma…

…. equal to one day’s wages.  (1 Drachma = 1 day’s wages)

One hundred drachmas equaled one Mina (100 Drachmas = 1 Mina).

>> Therefore, One Mina equaled nearly 100 days of wages (1 Mina = 100 days wages; i.e. nearly 3 months)

With this (fairly huge) amount of money, the Master instructs the servants to “invest”

Investment always means a “sense of risk!”

The parable goes on to say that…

… one of them made another ten (Lk 19: 16)

… the other made another five (Lk 19:18)

These two are greatly rewarded.

The one “who is willing to take risks” always finds life more rewarding and satisfying!

But, its over here, the parable presents the third servant, who decided to be “Mr. Keep it Safe!”

He came back to his master, with an excuse: “Sir, here is your coin” (Lk 19: 20)

He failed to make any investment

>> He failed to take “any risk”

He refused to “stick out his neck!”

Sticking the neck out of course, meant “taking a risk”…

… but unless that was done, progress was not going to happen.

>> And that would make him to end up on the losing side!

The Bible is replete with personalities, who would take “risks”…

… and thus emerge successful!

>> Noah would “take the risk” of listening to God and build the Ark for rescue from the deluge

>> Abraham would “take the risk” by obeying God and leaving His country and people

>> Moses would “take the risk” and trust in God to lead the people out of slavery

>> Jeremiah would “take the risk” of being a prophet despite of several oppositions to his life

>> Peter would “take the risk” of leaving his fishing profession to be ‘fishers of men’

… and many many more!

They “risked their life” for God – His Will and His Kingdom!

>> They would “stick our their neck” in progressing in the ways of God!

How about us?

>> Do we “take risks”?

… the “risk” to trust in God, in spite of the uncertainties of life

… the “risk” to know God has the best plan for us, despite the many hardships we face in life

… the “risk” to believe that God always walks with us, even though we go through the ‘deserts of life’

May we always realize:

Unless we take risks… Unless we “stick out our necks”

… we can never progress!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “He would never exhort the faithful to persevere…

… if he were not ready to give them the power to do so!”

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Nov 19 (Lk 19:1-10)

There is a story said about a carpenter, who had least botheration about his Christian faith.

His pious and devout wife would often exhort him to return to faith…

… but he cared least!

>> They would even often have fights over this issue.

Once, he left to the woods, to fell trees.

As he glanced around, he noticed a tree – dead and dry, with its leafless branches embracing the skies.

>> He said to himself, “That tree I will cut down. For it is dead and dry, fit only to burned!”

As he got himself ready with the axe, to chop down the tree…

… he heard a voice thundering within him, “Are you not also like this dead tree…. Fit only to be burned?”

He tried to banish away such thoughts…

… but the higher he lifted up the axe to cut the tree, the greater was the voice heard!

He went on to strike the tree a few times…

… but the thought kept flashing in his mind: “Will God ever tell me.. ‘Cut it down..fit only to be burned!”

Eventually, the thoughts became so great, that he fell on his knees…

… and pleaded with God, to receive him back.

The story goes on to say, that he went back to his wife and was reconciled to her…

… and had his faith restored in the Lord…

… revived by the Mercy of God!

Is my life like a dead tree….without spiritual energy and “fit only to be burned”?

… then the Lord today thunders in our hearts: To restore our faith and be revived in His Mercy!

The Gospel of the Day takes us through such a faith-restoring and mercy-experiential incident in the life of a little man – Zacchaeus

The story begins with Jesus coming to Jericho and intending to pass through the town (Lk 19:1)

Jericho has a long history, especially seen in the Old Testament.

>> Jericho was the first city to be conquered by the Israelites under Joshua. (Josh 6:1-27)

It was surrounded by a huge wall. However, with directives from God & under the leadership of Joshua, the city was laid siege.

On the appointed day, Joshua ordered the people to shout & the walls of the city collapsed and the Israelites destroyed it.

Joshua laid a curse on the one who would rebuild this city.

>> Thus, Jericho bore the brunt of a curse.

It is to this ‘place of curse’ that Jesus makes his entry.

As Jesus makes his entry to this cursed place, a little man named Zacchaeus climbs & hides himself behind the leaves of a tree.

Now this incident of Jesus entering an accursed city and a man hiding behind the leaves of a tree, has quite striking similarities with another incident, seen at the start of the Bible – the incident in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3)

In the book of Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned, God moved about in the garden.

>> But they hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden (Gen 3: 8)

God comes to a place, which has been now cursed because of sin.

But two persons hide themselves in the trees of the garden.

Interesting similarity, isn’t it?

God comes to a place of curse… the Garden… and two persons (Adam and Eve) hide in the trees.

>> Jesus comes to a place of curse… the city of Jericho… and one person (Zacchaeus) hides in the trees.

But with the similarity, there are also striking differences…

Adam and Eve hid from God, in order to stay away from God, because of the guilt of sin.

>> Zacchaeus hid from Jesus, in order to see him better, because of his own complexes.

Adam and Eve were fearful to hear the words of God addressing them.

>> Zacchaeus was surprised and joyful to hear the words of Jesus addressed to him.

Adam and Eve wanted to remain hiding even after God sought for them in the garden.

>> Zacchaeus jumped down from the tree after Jesus sought to come to his home.

Is there some similarity of these incidents to my life too?

Am I, like Adam & Eve, hiding from God, because I am scared of Him due to some of the sins which I am unwilling to give up?

>> Or am I, like Zacchaeus, seeking refuge in the leaves of trees like money, pleasure, evil habits and yet have a desire to see the Lord?

The Lord is gazing at us… like He gazed at Adam and Eve and Zacchaeus.

Am I, like Adam & Eve, fearful to hear the words of God, in the Bible or through the teachings of the Church or the words of other people, because of the pain to get rid of my sinful tendencies and evil practices?

>> Or am I, like Zacchaeus, joyful to hear God’s words addressed to me, & also ready to make changes for a better spiritual life?

The Lord is addressing each one of us…like He addressed Adam and Eve and Zacchaeus.

Am I, like Adam & Eve, wanting to remain in my sinful and lethargic state of life even though I experience that God’s mercy and compassion is readily available?

>> Or am I, like Zacchaeus willing to jump down with joy, from the tree of pride, complexes, sin and fear, and welcome the Lord into the home of my life?

The Lord is seeking for us…as He sought Adam and Eve and Zacchaeus.

The Lord is gazing, addressing and seeking for us.

>> Am I ready to encounter, to listen and to be found by Him?

A Yes to the question, will also mean taking some radical decisions in our life, just like Zacchaeus did…

>> Giving up of possessions…

>> Letting go of my undue desire for money, cheap popularity, the riches in my life etc.

>> Repaying those whom I have cheated…

>> Forgiving and accepting those whom I hurt, whom I don’t like, whom I am not in good terms etc.

Zacchaeus was a despised man.

… because of his short stature.

… because as a tax collector, he worked for the enemy-government and would cheat and defraud people.

… because Jesus came to his house – a house of a sinner.

But the encounter with Jesus made him a transformed person

>> The encounter with Jesus made him to go beyond all complexes and filled him with deep joy!

This same transformation is at hand for us…

Let, us, learn from the Little Man and make significant changes in our life, in order to experience the magnanimous wonders and graces from our Big God!

Maybe our life is like a dead tree….without spiritual energy and “fit only to be burned”!

>> The Lord today thunders in our hearts: To restore our faith and be revived in His Mercy!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not become upset when difficulty come your way.

>> Laugh at its face and know…

… that you are in the Hands of God!”

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Nov 18 (Lk 18:35-43)

Every person in the world faces a moment of darkness.

>> Some of us get encompassed by it.

>> Some of us get dejected by it.

The Gospel of Day presents the healing of a blind man.

> The blind man, faced immense darkness, but did not allow to get encompassed or dejected by it.

Let us travel with him through this exciting journey of moving from “Tamas”(darkness) to “Jyothi”(light)…

These blind man takes us through four stages of a spiritual life:

1. A State of Blindness

The man was stuck with blindness.

There is no idea as to when or how or why he became blind.

>> Maybe he was blind from birth.

>> Maybe he was blind due to some sickness as he grew up

>> Maybe he was blind as a result of some accident or calamity

The reasons for his blindness is unknown

Perhaps, many of us are in a state of blindness….

>> Blindness of being rejected and not accepted…

>> Blindness of inferiority complexes…

>> Blindness of inner brokenness…

>> Blindness of family crisis…

> Some of us maybe experiencing this darkness from the time of our birth.

> Some of us maybe experiencing this darkness due to calamities striking our lives as we grew

2. A State of Seeking

A life of blindness meant a life of total dependence on others…

…at times facing the ire of the people…at times facing the rejection of the people.

> The blind man could have become dejected and totally depressed.

> He could have given up in life and cursed their destiny.

But the blind man, did not allow the darkness to cloud his lives.

>> He probably would have heard about Jesus and the wonders He had done.

>> He sought with hope, the One who could banish his darkness.

>> His sought with faith, the One who could heal his gloominess.

Our state of blindness should not become a hindrance to seek the Lord.

>> We need to seek the Lord with our entire being…

>> We need to seek the plan of God and His providential care in our shadows..

>> We need to seek the road ahead with Hope and Faith in His Divine plans…

3. The State of Faith

The blind man, after making a deliberate choice to seek the Lord, expressed his deep faith in the healing power of the Lord.

The Lord makes a test of his trust and hope in Him.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, let me receive my sight” (Lk 18:41)

Our seeking for the Lord, needs to be supplemented greatly with the vitamin of Faith!

>> Delays in our prayer requests, should become an incentive to grow deeper in faith.

>> Addition of more problems in life, ought to be a moment to have more faith in Him

4. The Stage of Proclamation

The blind man, who was healed by Jesus, now, was filled with tremendous joy and enthusiasm.

> His happiness is so much overflowing, that he goes beyond the words of Jesus, and proclaims His wonderful miracle to the peoples.

“And immediately, he received his sight and followed Jesus, glorifying God” (Lk 18: 43)

> Once we are touched by the Lord, our happiness would know no bounds.

> Once we are healed by the Lord, our enthusiasm would get highly contagious.

The Blind man in the Gospel take us through these four stages…

The Stage of Blindness… The Stage of Seeking…the Stage of Faith…the Stage of Proclamation.

Let us be inspired and challenged by him

>> Let us seek the Lord of Light in our darkness.

>> Let us seek the Lord of healing in our sicknesses.

>> Let us seek the Lord of holiness in our blindness.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “During the night, we must wait for the light!”

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Nov 17 (Lk 21:5-19)

“God himself cannot sink this ship!”

>> “The captain can, by simply moving an electric switch, instantly close all the doors, practically making the vessel unsinkable”

>> “We believe that the ship is unsinkable.”

These were some of the comments and claims that were made about Titanic – the largest ship in the first half of the 1900’s

But all these proud and arrogant assertions found a watery grave, with the sinking of the Titanic on the morning of 15th April, 1912 killing over one thousand five hundred people.

It was a massive tragedy of the loss of many lives.

>> But it was also a horrific lesson to humankind on the need to be aware of her limitations.

>> It was also a torrid warning to generations on the need to be on the guard, always.

“Being on the watch” is a necessity and a basic requirement in every sphere of human life!

The Gospel of the Day presents this message of being vigilant and alert in our lives.

Jesus is on the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple and He hears “some people speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings” (Lk 21:5)

The Jerusalem Temple was a magnificent building and one of the wonders of those days.

The Temple had just been marvelously rebuilt by Herod the Great.

>> In all its beauty, the Jerusalem Temple was a vast glittering mass of white marble, touched here & there with gold & colour and precious stones.

“Whosoever had not gazed on it”, said the old rabbis, “had not seen the perfection of beauty.”

>> The historian Tacitus, called this spectacular edifice as “a temple of vast wealth”

Precious gifts such as crowns, shields, vessels of gold and silver were presented by princes and others who visited the holy house.

>> The Jerusalem Temple was indeed rich in these votive offerings.

With such a grand spectacle and gorgeous building in the background, Jesus makes a prophetic saying, ” All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (Lk 21:6)

These words would have come as a big shocker and a tantalizing scandal to His listeners.

>> Who would have thought that the Titanic would ever sink?

>> Who would have thought that the great Twin Towers in America would be in rubble?

>> Who would have thought the British Empire where “the sun never sets” would wane down?

To think of the Jerusalem Temple being totally destroyed was a case next to impossible.

>> The Jerusalem Temple was the holiest shrine of the Jews.

>> The Jerusalem Temple was the pulse and the heartbeat of the Jewish Faith.

>> The Jerusalem Temple was the greatest source of joy and pride for the Jews.

Any attack or any destruction of this Great Edifice of Faith was unimaginable and intolerable.

>> Yet, Jesus makes this powerful and daring prophecy.

What is the structure and edifice of joy and pride in our lives?

> Is it a structure…

… of fat bank-balances and transient fame and popularity

… of remarkable public positions and offices of high ranking

… of enjoying life with temporary pleasures and passing addictions?

All too often we have heard people saying:

>> “I have enough money & I am happy with my life!

Just enjoy today to the max. Who knows what happens tomorrow?”

>> “The status that I am in today, is a result of my hard-work and labour.

Why should anyone interfere in my private life to prevent me from enjoying it in my own style?”

History teaches us that structures built without the power and grace of God is bound to fall.

The Tower of Babel is a classic example from the Bible. (Gen 11: 4-9)

>> Built on human pride and aspiration, it had a catastrophic collapse

The lives of many people are also a lesson for us?

>> Samson… King Saul… King Solomon… Judas.

They had their moments of great glory and splendour.

>> But when pride and self-interest crept into their lives, they lost the touch of God’s hand!

We may glory and shine in beauty for some time, by just banking on our capabilities.

>> But unless, we remain in firm obedience and faithful commitment to the Lord, we are bound to fail!

None of us are, and can be unsinkable!

>> An obstinate stand that I can manage my life by myself is hazardous.

>> A proud feeling that no power in the world can shake me is dangerous.

>> An arrogant outlook that I am the sole master of my future and destiny is perilous.

Yes, let God be God in our lives!

>> Let Him enthrone the highest place and the privileged position in our lives.

May Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords adorn the Temple of our lives.

>> With Him we can shine forever.

>> With Him we can stand forever.

>> With Him we can glory forever.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “The King of Glory does not reward His servants according to the dignity of their office…

… but according to the humility and love with which they have exercised it!”

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Nov 16 (Lk 18:1-8)

An interesting incident is mentioned in the life of Jan Paderewski

>> He was a famous Polish pianist and a pioneer of the solo recital at music concerts.

It is said that when Paderewski was to leave his native Poland to play his first recital in London…

… he asked an influential compatriot to give him a letter of introduction, to a leading figure in Britain’s musical world

>> This was for any assistance, should anything go amiss.

The letter was handed to him in a sealed envelope.

>> Paderewski hoped that everything would proceed smoothly and he would not have to use the letter.

Well…

.. he did not have to use the letter.

>> His debut was a great success and he soon began to climb the ladder of success.

Some years later, while going through his papers, he came upon the ‘letter of introduction’ and opened it.

He was surprised to read the content:

“This will introduce Jan Paderewski, who plays the piano, for which he demonstrates no conspicuous (visible/noticeable) talent.”

Life… is often such!

>> Discouragements lure everywhere

>> Rejections prowl all around

Do we get bogged down by such discouragements and rejections?

>> Are we people who bring about discouragement and rejection to people?

The Gospel of the Day is the Parable of the Persistent Widow.

The Parable speaks of a judge and a widow.

The judge is characterized by some features:

>> He did not fear God.

>> He did not fear humans.

>> He was initially adamant in his refusal.

The Widow is characterized by some features:

>> She had a genuine need.

>> She was denied justice.

>> She remained persistent till the end.

We are often in many and true needs.

>> But we do sometimes find ourselves, a bit depressed at the delays in receiving the answers to our prayers.

The parable encourages and exhorts us to remain persistent in our prayer life and not to get discouraged by God’s delays, which apparently appears as God’s denials.

>> Yes, God’s delays are certainly not His denials!

>> God’s pauses are certainly not His refuses!

At the same time, this parable invites us to switch roles:

>> To see ourselves as the Judge…

… and God as the Widow.

Widows in the first century found themselves at a very sad state.

They were quite literally unprotected. Many became homeless and destitute after the death of their husbands.

>> Often they were at mercy of cunning men, including some religious leaders who would “devour widows houses” (Mark 12:40)

A widow couldn’t count on anyone to come to her aid.

>> She represents the hopeless….the unaided…the oppressed.

In Mt 25:35, Jesus identifies Himself with the one who was hungry, thirsty, naked, stranger and the imprisoned.

>> Jesus in the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger and the imprisoned…

… is the hopeless one …the unaided one …the oppressed one.

Jesus, like the widow in the Parable…comes knocking at our door:

Behold I stand at the door, and knock… (Rev 3:20)

As the oppressed and justice-deprived Widow, Jesus, knocks at our door – we, the judges.

What is our reaction and response to the voice of the needy and the helpless?

The cry of the one in pain and suffering reaches our hears…

>> Do I reach out my heart to them and seek to ease their troubles and hardships?

The moaning of a broken family or a lost teenager or a spoilt child comes to us…

>> Do I pray for them and help them, in ways possible for me?

The sad tear of the abused or oppressed people with whom we work is seen by us…

>> Do I get out of my comfort-shell to make them feel comforted and consoled?

The disturbing reports of violence, corruption, injustice in society falls on our senses…

>> Do I remain indifferent to them and become saturated with such atrocities?

Yes…the widow – the hopeless, the unaided and the oppressed one… keeps knocking at our doors…

>> As a Judge…

… do I keep refusing?

…do I keep getting irritated?

…do I feel life as a botheration?

Life often has discouragements luring everywhere and rejections prowling all around

Do we get bogged down by such discouragements and rejections?

>> Are we people who bring about discouragement and rejection to people?

The Parable of the Persistent Widow is certainly a big lesson to remain firm and perseverant in our prayer life.

>> And when looked from another perspective is also a big challenge to become a people who reach out in justice and give comfort and consolation to the needy.

Knock….knock…

>> Do we hear the knock, seeking for help?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience.

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