October 19, 2020 – 29th Week in Ordinary Time

“Depending less and less on material aspects of life, so that we can grow more and more close to the Lord!”

(Based on Eph 2:1-10 and Lk 12:13-21 – Monday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time)

Many things in life follow the principle of “Inverse Proportionality”

The Principle of Inverse Proportionality can be explained that when the value of one unit increases, there is a decrease in the value of another unit…

The time taken for a journey is inversely proportional to the speed of travel…
… Higher the speed of travel, lesser is the time taken for the journey

The brightness of light that is seen is inversely proportional to the distance from the source of light
… The more the distance between the source, the lesser will be the brightness of the light that is seen

This principle of Inverse Proportionality can be also applied to spiritual entities…..

The greatness of a person is inversely proportional to one’s level of pride
… The greater the person, lesser is the pride of that person

The sanctity of a person is inversely proportional to the occasions of sins one indulges.
… The more holier the person, the lesser will be the occasion of sins one falls into

This principle is also seen strongly in today’s Gospel Reading…

The closeness of a person to God is inversely proportional to one’s dependence on material things
… The closer the person is to God, the further one will be from material things and pleasures

The distance from the Kingdom is inversely proportional to the amount of worldly riches one possesses
… The closer one is to the worldly riches, the farther one will be from the Kingdom of God

In the Gospel of the day, we see the clear illustration of this fact through the story of the Rich Fool.

Jesus says: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12: 15)

“Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself, but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk 12: 21)

What makes this Principle of Inverse Proportionality to work in terms of Richness and the Kingdom?

Worldly possessions takes one’s heart away from possessing God as the Greatest Treasure…
Money and Richness causes one’s mind to not depend on God and on His Providence and Intervention…
Prosperity and Affluence makes one’s soul to stray away from the Hand of God and His Love and Care…

It is a reality and happening in our world today that….

On one side, the money in one’s hand is more…
… but the amount of happiness and peace is less

On one side, the wealth of the world is increasing…
… but the poor in the world are in no way decreasing

On one side, the capacity of buying is much high…
… but the actual acquiring of real satisfaction is too low

Are things all too negative?

Is the situation too grim and bad?
Is there not a way out of this crazy maze?

“For humans it is impossible…but for God, all things are possible!” (Mt 19: 26)

There is a BIG lesson in that verse for our world today…

All too often, human beings…
… have asserted supremacy and power in conquering the world…
… have claimed superiority and dominance over all realms of living…
… have boasted proud statements and haughty actions in claiming to be all powerful…

The power and capacity of human beings, certainly is much, but it is still with a limit.

Today, we are called to understand, accept and acknowledge this limit…
… this constraint!
… this boundary!

When we make an effort to share our riches with others…
… God is able to bolster our spiritual blessings!

When we learn to be detached from our attachments to money…
… God is able to attach Himself to our lives!

When we seek to grow less dependent on our wealth…
… God is able to be the One on whom we can rely totally!

When we try to give up our materialistic thinking…
… God is able to fill our inner desires and longings of the soul!

It may be hard for us to let go of our dependence on material wealth

But God will strengthen us!

Let’s follow the words of Holy Father Pope Francis:
“So often we today can find our faith challenged by the world & in countless ways, we are asked to compromise our faith, to water down the radical demands of the Gospel & to conform to the spirit of this age…

Let us totally depend on the Richness of God’s Grace as St Paul reminds us: “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…
… and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
… that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus!” (Eph 2:4-7)

The Principle of Inverse Proportionality is a reality in our spiritual lives…

Let’s depend less and less on the power of money…
… so we can grow more and more close to the Lord!

Let’s give minimal control to the power of richness…
… so that we can give maximum control to the Lord!


Less and less of me…
… and More and More of You, O Lord!

Let us today seek the intercession of St Paul of the Cross – the founder of the Congregation of the Passionists – who was known to have the ability to reduce hardened criminals and tough soldiers to tears with his gift of speech.

Let his words inspire us:

“The passion of Jesus is a sea of sorrows, but it is also an ocean of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this ocean. Dive into its depths. No matter how deep you go, you will never reach the bottom.”
“The Cross is the way to Paradise, but only when it is borne willingly!”
“Let us throw ourselves into the ocean of His goodness, where every failing will be cancelled and anxiety turned into love.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Riches can prick us with a thousand troubles
in getting them…

… as many cares in preserving them, more anxieties in spending them, and with grief in losing them!”

October 18, 2020 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Rekindling the fire and zeal of being a Missionary of Jesus, our King and Leader!”

(Based on Isaiah 45:1, 4-6, 1 Thess 1:1-5 and Mt 22:15-21 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A familiar incident is told of a particular dog.

One fine afternoon, as the whole locality was silent, the dog began barking….Bow wow….bow wow…

Hearing this dog bark, on went the dogs in the neighbouring house…bow wow….

The resonant barking of these two dogs, was enough to excite the other dogs in the other houses…
… and even on the streets…

The whole neighbourhood became a pandemonium of barking and woofing.

But in a while… the dogs on the street waned down… probably getting tired…

So did the dogs in the neighbouring houses…

But the first dog, who began it all, was still strong and vocal in its barking…bow wow…

All other dogs, had more or less quietened…but this dog continued…


This dog had seen a dangerous and poisonous snake, lurking close to the house…

And so it barked….and never stopped…because it had a reason!

The other dogs also had barked, not with a reason, but simply because they heard one barking.

But the first dog? Had a reason!

It had a reason…a purpose…and a goal, which made it to raise its voice and be excited.

When one has a clear purpose and a goal in life, one remains excited and enthusiastic about it, and pursues the aims with a great determination and enthusiasm.

Have I discovered the true sense of purpose and aim in my life as a Christian and do I pursue in that path, with much enthusiasm and excitement?

Today, Holy Mother, the Church celebrates Mission Sunday.

Every Mission Sunday is an occasion to re-discover & re-kindle the purpose in one’s life as a Follower of Christ.

The Gospel of the Day helps us to rejuvenate our spirit of following Christ, who Himself was convinced of His Mission in life.

We have today the incident of a group of people, seeking to trap the Lord with a query on whether or not to pay taxes to Caesar. (Mt 22: 15-21)

The query on “should taxes be paid to Caesar or not” was asked by two groups: the Pharisees and the Herodians.

It is interesting to note that forces with evil and crooked intentions often work in tandem.
These two groups, normally opposed to each other, join hands, to oppose Christ.

The Pharisees resented and opposed the payment of tax to Caesar…
…because they considered Israel as a sovereign state under God’s rule and therefore should not pay taxes to another king.

The Herodians, on the other hand, accepted and supported the payment of tax to Caesar…
…because they belonged to the political party of Herod, the king of Galilee, who owed his power to the Romans.

Saying a NO would bring Christ before the Roman government for treason.

Saying a YES would bring Christ before the Jewish authorities for blasphemy.

The forces of evil had posed a severe danger to the Mission of Christ.
The answer by Christ would be very vital and important to the continuity of His Mission.

But the Missionary Jesus… Who was convinced of His purpose and aim in life, had the best answer…
“Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God!” (Mt 22:21)

He did not deny paying to Caesar.

But He neither advocated it.

He rather, raised the level to one’s relationship with God, who is the sole authority of life & the giver of all things and goods.

The answer baffled and amazed the ones who had come to interrogate Him.

The Mission had not only been saved… the Mission received a greater boost.

The Lord was convinced of His Mission in life.

He was convinced that He belonged to His Father and that all authority comes from Him.
He was totally sure that His purpose and aim in life was not earthly, but of the divine realm.
He was fully certain of His mission in life, to live a life dedicated to His Heavenly Father.

We too, in our Christian lives, will often face such situations of dilemma and trouble…

In a world getting addicted to consumerism, materialism, relativism and sensationalism, the challenges to live our Mission, as an Authentic Christian is especially great indeed.

Situations may force us to give in to abandon faith, and follow only what reason teaches…

Situations may make us to give up our values and follow the vain standards of the world…
Situations may cause us to dilute the Church teachings to accommodate our wants and pleasures…
Situations may incite us to loosen our hold on true traditions to pave way for a “modern” lifestyle…

The challenges to our Mission as a Christian and as a Catholic are much.

But like our Lord Jesus, the First Missionary and our Leader in Missions, we ought to stay convinced and remain enthusiastic to spread the Mission of the Lord.
The Prophetic words through Isaiah are an inspirational reminder to us all: “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me, that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other!”

St Paul reminds us through his letter to the Church at Thesselonica, that we are His beloved and called and chosen by Him… “beloved by God, that he has chosen you..” (1 Thess 1:4)

Each of us – in any way of life – is a Missionary…

We have a Mission to belong to the Lord and to Him completely.
We have a Mission to spread the Love of the Lord to the whole humanity.
We have a Mission to bring peace and harmony and wholeness for the entire humanity.
We have a Mission to orient our lives to the values of the Gospel and to travel heavenward.

Let’s rekindle the fire and zeal of being a Missionary of Jesus, our King and Leader!

Happy Mission Sunday!
God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God requires a faithful fulfillment of the merest trifle given us to do…
… rather than the most ardent aspiration to things to which we are not called!”

October 17, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Responding to the gentle and tender invitation of the Lord, to acknowledge Him in our lives!”

(Based on Eph 1:15-23 and Lk 12:8-12 – Saturday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

An African slaveholder had a poor black slave-boy who, having heard of the Christian missionaries and their preaching, had a desire to go and hear about Christ.

The boy crept away quietly one evening.

But he had to pass by his master’s window, and was seen by the slaveholder.

“Where are you going?” called the master.
The boy, trembling, answered, “Me go to hear the missionaries, Massa.”
(“Massa” is the word used for a master)

“Oh really? If ever you go there”, answered the master, “you shall have thirty-nine lashes and be put in irons.”

The boy answered, “Me tell Massa – me tell what you said, to the Great Massa.”

“What do you mean – tell the Great Massa?
Is there a Great Massa?” asked the man angrily.

“Me tell the Great Massa. He is the Lord of Heaven.

I tell Him that my massa was angry with me because I wanted to go and hear His Word.”

Greatly astonished (and a little afraid as well), the master said, “Go along and hear them, then.”

After the boy had gone, the master became restless and troubled. He had not thought that he himself had a Master (Massa) in Heaven, who knew all that he was doing.

He decided to follow the slave to the Christian service.

He stood in the rear of the little assembly, as he heard the Missionary asking the people from the scriptures: “The Lord is asking, Do you love Me?

Is there anyone here, who dares to confess his love for Christ?”

The black boy sprang forward…
… and holding up both hands, with tears pouring down his cheeks, he cried out earnestly:
“Yes, Massa, me do love You! Me love the Great Massa, with all my heart!”

The slaveholder went home still more astonished, but convinced of the power of the Gospel.

As a result he gave his heart to God and lived a consistent Christian life.

The bold and powerful witness of the little black boy brought about a conversion in the life of that man.

What about us?

Are we also bold and powerful, in giving witness to Christ and His Gospel Values in our modern society?

Like the little boy, do we also, by our life proclaim:
“Yes, Massa, me do love You! Me love the Great Massa, with all my heart!”

The Gospel of the Day is an exhortation by our Blessed Lord with a challenging tone, to be powerful and bold, in acknowledging His Presence.

Jesus says: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God;
But he who denies me before men, will be denied before the angels of God” (Lk 12: 8-9)

The Christian Life is a life seeking to profess and proclaim the Lord…
… by word and deed
… with lips and actions
… through happy moments and struggles of life!

Do we do that?

Or are we sometimes…
… shy?
… afraid?
… reluctant?
… uncertain?
… or even negated?

We could reflect on some aspects of our life, whereby we examine, how much we acknowledge the Lord in our life

  1. The Blessings of the Lord
    God has gifted each one of us with immense Graces and Blessings.

Do we acknowledge ‘the Blessings of the Lord’ in our Life?
… with a word of thanks and gratitude, everyday?
… by seeking to be, in turn, a blessing to others, by a life of service?

  1. The Providence of the Lord
    Providence refers to the Protective care of the Lord, at all times, in every situation.

When we look back into our life, we see how beautifully, God constantly leads us.

True, there are times when we have felt the “absence” of God or the Lord being “at a distance” from us, especially in situations of struggles and suffering

But, when look back later… we do find… “God had been joining all those ‘dots of loneliness’ and making a beautiful picture!”

Do we acknowledge ‘the Providence of the Lord’ in our life…
… by being more optimistic, knowing that our God will surely have His way, and make “rivers to flow, even in the deserts”?
… by not falling into anxiety or extreme worry; instead allowing ourselves to rest on His Caring Heart, knowing, that He is holding us tenderly in His Arms, as a Shepherd holds the tender lamb?

  1. The Love and Mercy of the Lord
    Each of our life is a beautiful saga of God’s Love and Mercy

We have been created in love… we have been initiated to Salvation in His Mercy

We have been constantly encouraged by His Love… we have been continually lifted by, by His Mercy

Do we acknowledge ‘the Love and Mercy of the Lord’ in our life…
… by seeking to always do His Will in our Life and letting go of our own ego and selfish desires?
… by turning to Him in repentance, when we go away from His Love?
… by infusing more love into every action that we do, and thus witnessing His Face of Mercy to all around us?

  1. The Authority of the Lord
    The Lord is the Supreme Authority of this entire universe.

It is His Power and Wisdom that sustains everything.

The presence of evil and sufferings around us, may sometimes, make us question His Power and Glory.

Sometimes, the presence of pains and miseries in our life, may also make us doubt His Power and Authority
This time of the pandemic, has been, in particular, disturbing the faithful hearts of many people!

But can we recognize, that God, in His infinite Goodness and Wisdom, works out everything for our good (Rom 8:28)

St Paul again reminds us, in his letter to the Ephesians, that “He has put all things under His feet and has made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:22-23)

Do we acknowledge ‘the Authority of the Lord’ in our life…
… by offering our lives to His Supreme Wisdom, and marching forward with Hope, knowing that “the One Who has begun His Good Work in us, will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6)
… by seeking His Permission in all the activities that we engage in, so that His Grace will inform us, in the best and right path?

  1. The Presence of the Lord
    The Presence of the Lord surrounds and encompasses us at every moment… at every step of our life.

This Presence is especially cherished and celebrated in the Sacraments that the Church offers.

Do we acknowledge ‘the Presence of the Lord” in our life…
… by turning our hearts, in conscious awareness, to the Presence of the Lord, in the midst of our work and activities?
… by longing for and meaningfully celebrating the Sacraments that the Church offers?

As a Christian, surely, it is not easy to profess and proclaim.

But the Lord invites each one of us, gently and tenderly, to acknowledge Him in our lives.

It is when we grow in these “areas of acknowledgement” that we can boldly and powerfully proclaim before anyone and everyone:
“Yes, Massa (Master), me do love You!
Me love the Great Massa, with all my heart!”

Today, let seek the intercession of St Ignatius of Antioch and be enthused by his heroic martyrdom (“he was cast as food to wild beasts.”)

May his words inspire and encourage us to be a powerful witness of the Lord

“I am the wheat of God, and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God!”
“As for me, my charter is Jesus Christ, the inviolable charter is His cross and His death and resurrection, and faith through Him!”
“Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Charity never enters a heart without
bringing with it all the other virtues…

… empowering them and marshalling them as needed, just as a captain does his soldiers!”

October 16, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Rejoicing and radiating the joy and happiness of being the precious children of our loving Father in heaven!”

(Based on Eph 1:14-20 and Lk 12:1-7 – Friday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

Some of us have been to a circus at some time or the other in our life.

One of the most important characters in a Circus is undoubtedly…the Clown.

The Clown has the ability to make people laugh and see the lighter side of life.

The Clown usually always appears with a smiling countenance.

This amusing and humorous appearance of the Clown is a result of the Mask that is worn.

But the clown perhaps has an important lesson for us all of us to learn…

The Clown says… “All people, in actuality, wear masks… only mine is seen outside!”

Very true perhaps, isn’t it?
“All people, in actuality, wear masks… only mine is seen outside!?

This mask that many of us wear is the Mask of Hypocrisy and Duplicity!

(Of course, with the onslaught of the pandemic, the “mask” has now become a compulsory aspect of our attire!

But the mask being referred to here in this reflection, is the ‘mentality mask’ – of hypocrisy and duplicity!)

We are into a reflection of this aspect of Hypocrisy yet again, in today’s Gospel, with Jesus’ insistence on this evil tendency with a greater force & urgency.

Hypocrisy is a vice which is much hated by Jesus.
Hypocrisy is a vice which Jesus constantly asks to weed out.
Hypocrisy is a vice which often lurks its head in our lives, knowingly or unknowingly.

Hypocrisy is duplicity.

Hypocrisy is pretence.
Hypocrisy is a facade.

It is…
… trying to be someone, that one is not.
… deceiving others by presenting a false self.
… masking one’s real identity to show one to be someone else.

The word “hypocrisy” is a composite word in the Greek.

It comes from the joining of two words…
… Hupo is the Greek word for “under”
… Krino, is the Greek word “to separate or judge.”
So Hupo + Krino = Hypocrisy means to “be under or stay under and separate or judge”!

This word was mainly used in Greek theatres and plays to describe those “actors who would speak their parts, behind a mask”!

Hypocrites in real life, extend this “acting” to their everyday life…

Hypocrites are people…
… who try to impress others, in order to hide their real lives!
… who act more spiritual and holy than they actually are!
… who behave to be too good before others, but a sham within!

Do I have any of such “hypocritic …acting” aspects in my life?

Our Lord calls this vice of hypocrisy as a Yeast…

Jesus speaks to His disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy” (Lk 12: 1b)

Why Yeast?

Yeast or Leaven is something that is used in baking.

Yeast has the great property of Influence…
A little amount of yeast is enough to raise the dough or to leaven the batter.
It has a great characteristic of exercising a great amount of influence, though little in quantity!

Hypocrisy is such…
… though a little amount, it is highly Influential, like the yeast.

Hypocritical people are able to boast much about themselves and exert harmful controls!
Hypocritical people are able to make other people highly pessimistic and negative!
Hypocritical people are able to drain out the spirit and the enthusiasm in others!

Yeast starts slow, but grows very quickly…

Yeast starts its activity in a slow manner, but it spreads very quickly and rapidly.

It has the great characteristic of exercising its great influence in a timid manner, but rises very fast and swiftly.

Hypocrisy is such… though it starts slow, it spreads its influence speedily, like the yeast…

Hypocritical people appear subtle initially, but later it becomes almost a part of their nature!
Hypocritical people appear harmless initially, but later consume people by its strong effect!
Hypocritical people appear gentle initially, but later it becomes a dangerous influence!

How does Hypocrisy usually originate?

Usually from a Fear…

Fear of the people makes one to adopt a totally different disposition and character.

Fear of the situations makes one to adjust with a duplicate personality and behaviour.
Fear of one’s weaknesses makes one to alter the style of life and tamper with one’s nature.

That’s why the Lord, in today’s Gospel would strongly exhort, “Fear Not!”

When we banish the fear of many factors, we are able to be our real self.

When we cast away the fear of our material worries, we are able to live our true identity.

God is our Loving Father… a Caring Person…He wants us to grow in Holiness and Sanctity.

But He also knows that our double standards in life and our pretence and dual-facedness in many areas of our life, is a block to His Grace in us.

Let us pray with St Paul as he prayed for the Church at Ephesus, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened…
… that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe…” (Eph 1:17-19)

The Lord today invites us to peel away our mask of hypocrisy by casting away our fears, by throwing ourselves into the care of our Loving God, our Beloved Father in Heaven!

Let us not be a clown who has a plastic smile because of the mask…
… Rather become a people, who truly rejoice and radiate the joy and happiness of being the precious children of our loving Father in heaven!

Today we specially seek the intercession of Blessed Augustine Thevarparambil (popularly known as Kunjachan – ‘little priest’ in Malayalam) on his feast day.

May his deep zeal and commitment to missions, especially among the lower sections of the society be a strong antidote and inspiration for us to live an authentic and sincere Christian life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us never make a show of wishing to be last

unless in our hearts we wish to truly be such!”

October 15, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Clothing ourselves in genuineness and truthfulness, by really appreciating and realizing the value and worth of people in our lives!”

(Based on Eph 1:1, 3-10 and Lk 11:47-54 – Thursday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

“In this world today while we’re living, some folks, say the worst of us they can

But when we are dead and in our caskets, they always slip some lilies in your hand…

Won’t you give me my flowers while I’m living and let me enjoy them while I can

Please don’t wait till I’m ready to be buried and then slip some lilies in my hand…

In this world is where we need the flowers a kind word to help us get along

If you can’t give me flowers while I’m living, then please don’t throw ’em when I’m gone…

Won’t you give me my flowers…?”

  • Lyrics from the Song “Give me flowers while I’m living”

The words of this song is a living experience to many people in this world, including perhaps some of us.

We have many people in our life.

Many of them receive a lot of favours from us…but they fail to thank us.

We however, sometimes, do hear them backbiting us or spreading false rumours about us!

Many of them are helped in many ways…but they fail to acknowledge those favours.

We however, sometimes, do hear them talking ill of us or spoiling our name!

Many of them are rendered assistance in many ways…but they fall short of being grateful to us

We however, sometimes, do hear them being negatively critical about us and defaming us.

But at the grave, perhaps, all those people would talk highly about us.
After our death, perhaps, all those people might acclaim how wonderful a person he/she was!

We often become a people who…
… fail to appreciate when a person is alive, but shower praises after his/her death!
… fail to give a simple flower when alive, but spread garlands and bouquets after his/her death!
… fail to say a good word when alive, but brag and boast highly, after his/her death!

Consciously or unconsciously, we cultivate a habit or a tendency to remain ungrateful and unkind to people when alive, but falsely praise and glorify, when they are dead or are no longer with us!

An attitude of ungratefulness while living…but false appreciation after death!
A tendency of indifference while living…but vain glorification after death!
An approach of passivity while living…but fake interest after death!

Jesus, in the Gospel of the Day speaks of a similar attitude and tendency among the Pharisees.

In His continued attacks on the hypocrisy and duplicity of the Pharisees, Jesus condemns them for building memorials of the Prophets who were killed and murdered by their ancestors.

The Prophets of the old, lived as the true men of God and constantly called the people to a life of repentance and being faithful to God Yawheh.

But these prophets were very often persecuted, attacked and even killed.

The Prophets, who were the voice of God, while living, had their voices silenced and drowned by the wicked people…

But after their death, they used to be quoted and cited in many scholarly and erudite circles.

An attitude of ungratefulness while living… but false appreciation after death!

The Prophets, who called the people to live as per their true conscience, had their lives terminated and ended by the wicked people…

But after their death, they had fine memorials and beautiful tombs built in their name

A tendency of indifference while living… but vain glorification after death!

The Prophets, who became the champion of justice and truth, had their efforts ceased and their labours aborted by the wicked people…

But after their death, they had many oratories and exquisite lectures in their name.

An approach of passivity while living… but fake interest after death!

Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their deception, as they too become sharers of the blood of the True Prophets and the Men of God!

Jesus’ attacks on this Pharisaic attitude is a strong reminder and warning to each one of us too…
… to realize the worth and value of people, while they are alive, and not just heap up empty words of praise, after their death!
… to realize the importance of recognizing the true spirit and teachings of people around us…and not become too late in realizing their significance!

Life is too short to miss appreciating people for their genuine efforts and contributions.

Life is too short to not give people the worth for all what they are in our lives.

A fresh flower given when alive is far worth and appreciable than a bouquet given at the grave!

Appreciate people when they are around…

Enthuse people when situations are favourable…

Encourage people when time and space permit us…

Let us shake of the tendency of duplicity and dishonesty; instead, clothe ourselves in genuineness and truthfulness…
… by really appreciating and realizing the value and worth of people in our lives!

May we seek to make the prayer of St Teresa of Avila, whose feast we celebrate today, our own…
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours!

Yours are the eyes through which to look out, Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about, doing good
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless men now!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Do not sow a crop of good intentions
in your neighbour’s garden…

… but cultivate your own with diligence!”

October 14, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Making the Lord to fill the slam-book of our lives, with his choicest words of love and affection!”

(Based on Gal 5:18-25 and Lk 11:42-46 – Wednesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

Heard of a slam-book?

A slam book is a notebook which is popular among the school and college students.

This slam-book is also known as a friendship book or a profile book.

It is a book to know the friend better and to also pen some of the thoughts and feelings about a friend.

The book consists of a number of questions which gives various details and information.

Some of the questions include, “What is your favourite food?”, “Which places have you visited”, “Who are your favourite friends?” etc.

Another question, quite common, in most slam-books is, “Which attitude or quality do you hate the most??

If Jesus were to be handed a slam-book, and posed the question:
“Which attitude or quality do you hate the most (about human beings)?”
… probably, the answer that we would have received would be: Hypocrisy!

Hypocrisy in human beings is perhaps the most hated attitudes of Jesus.

Today’s Gospel has the condemnation of the hated-vice of Hypocrisy of the Pharisees: “Woe to you, Pharisees…” (Lk 11: 42, 43 46)

Religion ought to be a bridge that helps the people to have an easier access to God.

But the Pharisees fractured this bridge with an inconsistent insistence on rules on traditions!

Religion ought to be the network that makes the people to come closer to God.

But the Pharisees broke this network by an inhuman insistence on various practices!

Religion ought to be a link that makes the life of the people more free in God’s presence.

But the Pharisees ruptured this link by burdening the people with wrongly prioritized customs!

The people had to pay a tithe – a share of one’s produces or earnings, usually one tenth. (Lk 11: 42)

This tithe was extracted on all objects and things including the tiny and the minutest ones like mint, rue (a garden herb used for medicinal and cooking purposes) and every garden herb.

But there was no insistence or any obligation placed on the Love of God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to a fulfilling of doing certain practices and customs with the finest details and the minutest perfection, but completely overlooked the most basic aspect of Loving God!

The offering was much more important than the One to whom it was offered!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Pharisees loved the good places of seating in the synagogue and being greeted in the marketplaces.

They loved to been seen in places of prominence and to be publicly acknowledged and appreciated. (Lk 11: 43)

But there was no insistence or obligation placed on giving the rightful place to God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to enjoying places of honour and relishing the public acclaim of the common people, but completely overlooked humbling oneself and giving the glory and honour to God!

The seat and the acclaim was much more important than the One to whom it all was fully due!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Pharisees are compared to an unseen grave over which people walk unknowingly. (Lk 11: 44).

It was a ritual impurity for the Jews to touch the graves, and Jesus compares the lives of the Pharisees as a source of causing impurity and defilement to the people who came in contact with them.

There was an insistence and an obligation on fulfilling their various inhuman customs.

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to many practices which was sharp in its display of duplicity and unjust weightage given to external fulfilling of the Law, at the cost of the inner dimensions.

The law was much more important than the One gave the Law!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

The Scholars of the Law imposed many commands on the people and burdened their lives but failed to show any compassion to help them by their lives. (Lk 11: 46)

But there was no insistence or any obligation placed on the Compassion and Mercy of God!

Religion for the Pharisees had been reduced to merely carrying out some routines in the name of following God and was highly imposed though they were highly burdensome and impractical.

The practise of the commands was much more important than the One who commanded utmost honour!

Strange indeed, isn’t it?

These various dimensions of the Pharisaic attitude is very much possible to creep into our own lives.

We could be people…
… for whom the offering is much more important than the One to whom it is offered!
… for whom the places of honour seat and the acclaim is much more important than the One to whom it all is fully due!
… for whom the law is much more important than the One gives the Law!
… for whom the practise of the commands is much more important than the One who commands utmost respect and honour!

Let us seek to root out any of these Pharisaic tendencies from our lives!

The Lord loves to fill the slam-book of our lives.

May He not be made to write his most-hated virtue of Hypocrisy in this book; instead be proud to fill the slam-book of our lives, with his choicest words of love and affection!

May the Saint of the Day – St Callistus, who was the first pope after St. Peter, to be honoured as a martyr – inspire and intercede for us!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “We fight the monsters of Africa in imagination, but from lack of attention…

… we allow us in reality, to be killed by the little serpents that lie in our way!”

October 13, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Allowing the lion of greed, evil tendencies and false priorities, to be conquered and defeated by Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Great Lion!”

(Based on Gal 5:1-6 and Lk 11:37-41 – Tuesday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

“Braving the Lion in its own den” in a phrase that finds expression in various instances of our life.

It means encountering or confronting a stronger person or a stronger situation, in its own area of strength and force.

Imagine the Indian Cricket Team trouncing the Pakistan team in a stadium in Pakistan itself.

Imagine the Congress defeating the BJP in the political elections in Gujarat, which is one of latter’s greatest strongholds.

The Bible also has some typical examples of “Braving the Lion in its own den”…

The Israelites challenged the supremacy of the Egyptians while in slavery, and were able to script a wonderful exodus.
David, the shepherd boy defeated the mighty and proud Goliath in the Palestinian land and cut off his neck with the mighty warrior’s own sword.
Elijah, the prophet confronted the claim of the followers of Baal and made them realise the worthlessness of their deity in a challenge of their own style.

“Braving the Lion in its own den” requires much courage, conviction, strength and nerves!

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the Master Challenger in such a situation of “Braving the Lion in its own den”!

A Pharisee invited Jesus to have a meal in his house.

We are unsure of the motives or the reason for this Pharisee to invite Jesus for the table sharing…

Maybe he just wanted to grow in his friendship with Jesus…
Maybe he wanted to check how this great preacher would conduct himself in his house…
Maybe he wanted to show off to his friends of having invited a great Rabbi to his house…
Maybe he wanted to break the ministry of Jesus and trap Him in doing some aberrations…

In any case, the Pharisee certainly expected Jesus to follow the rules and customs of the traditional Jewish meal.

But he notices that Jesus has failed to wash his hands before dinner.

This washing of the hands was a ritual purification process.

The insistence on this act was not for the sake of hygiene, but for ritual purity!

This omission of the sacred tradition came as a big shocker for the host Pharisee.

He would have thought about Jesus:
“This Rabbi is doing it all wrong!
Why can’t He follow our age-old customs?

He is insulting me before my other guests!
How dare He behaves so, in my own house!?

But this is where Jesus in His unique style of courage & conviction comes into confrontation with the attitude of the Pharisee…

The Pharisee was surely His host, yet Jesus dares to “Brave the Lion in its own den!”
The Pharisee was surely His invitee, yet Jesus dares to “Brave the Lion in its own den!?

Standing up for convictions and principles was a value that Jesus always upheld.

Being bold to always promote and defend goodness was a virtue that Jesus always supported.

Jesus lashes out with a righteous anger, “So then, you Pharisees, you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside yourselves, you are full of greed and evil. Fools…!” (Lk 11: 39).

The Pharisee got offended because Jesus failed to wash his hands before meal.

But Jesus got offended because they failed to have a true cleansing of their hearts.

The Pharisee got upset because Jesus failed to uphold the sacred tradition.

But Jesus got upset because they failed to uphold the values of inner purity and holiness.

The Pharisee felt insulted because Jesus failed to honour their customs and practices.

But Jesus felt insulted because the table-meal failed to reflect true love and sharing.

Jesus was not afraid to encounter the Pharisee in his wrong thinking and mightily “Dared to Brave the Lion in his own den”!

This same Jesus today encounters us and wants to “dare to brave the Lion in us, in our own den”.

Maybe I am bold and strong in being relaxed in some of my comfort and pleasure zones..

But Jesus dares us, to come out of this den and renew ourselves with a life of holiness and purity.

Maybe I am quite okay with aspiring for many gadgets and objects of passing joys and desires

But Jesus dares us, to come out of our den and focus on the real necessities of a good life.

Maybe I am just satisfied to beautify our external life even if it means being greedy and selfish

But Jesus dares us, to come out of our den and repent by living a self-sacrificing and a self-controlling life.

The ‘lion of Pharisaism’ is deep rooted in many of our personal lives, our family lives and in our community lives…

Having the focus only on external factors, but neglecting the inner dimensions…
Giving importance to only outer shows, but totally forgetting the internal aspects…
Being obsessed with doing many things, but totally ignoring the necessity of being holy…

The Lord is today “Daring to Brave this Lion within us, in our own den”!

Let us allow the lion of greed, evil tendencies and false priorities, to be conquered and defeated by Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Great Lion!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “It is our part to plant and water carefully,

but to give increase – that belongs only to God!”

October 12, 2020 – 28th Week in Ordinary Time

“Becoming aware of the Great Sign that Jesus is Risen, and Alive and Working – in amazing ways – in our lives!”

(Based on Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31 – 5:1 and Lk 11:29-32 – Monday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)

Thriller Movies have a great audience….

Reality Shows have a wide range of popularity…
Programmes with sensational appeal have a massive demand…

Our age loves to be tingled with breath-taking visuals and magnificent signs.

Check out the number of videos and movies and songs we have on our gadgets…

Look at the wide range of photos that we shoot and the selfies we click (which perhaps never we may see again!)

The demand of our external senses is very high in our generation…

A fallout of this excess is also reflected in our Spirituality and our Religious Outlook….
“We seek for greater external signs and wondrous miracles, even to believe in God!”

And the Lord thunders in today’s Gospel Reading, “This is a wicked generation… it is asking for a sign…”

Signs are not bad.

Symbols are not without meaning.

External expressions are not unwarranted.

They certainly do have their proper place and a meaningful nature.

In fact, the Bible is not alien to signs and wonders…

Moses’ rod became a serpent;
The Red Sea parted so that God’s people could cross.
Water flowed from a rock when Moses struck it.
Manna fell from the sky to feed God’s people.
Baalam’s ass spoke.
Aaron’s rod blossomed.
The sun stood still at Joshua’s command.
Gideon’s fleece became wet and dry according to his request to the Lord.
Elijah pronounced a drought upon the land… And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain…

The examples are many more…

… when outward signs fail to generate any positive emotions, they divorce from their intention!
… when symbols cease to be a passage for inner understanding, they fail in their purpose!
… when signs stop being an aid to increase in faith, they lose their meaning!

And this is the reason that Jesus condemns the Pharisaic mentality of Seeking for a Sign…

They sought a sign – in order to test, but not to believe!
They asked a sign – in order to satisfy curiosity, but not to trust!
They demanded a sign – in order to scheme evil talks, but not to have faith!

Signs become mere external fancies.

Miracles become mere magic shows

The Gospels are not alien to such false and untrue demands…

At the Birth of Jesus, King Herod sought to see Baby Jesus…
… not to worship, but to kill Him!

At the Temptations, Satan tempted to change stones to bread…
… not to believe, but to lure Him!

At the Trial, King Herod Antipas hoped Him to perform a sign…
… not to save Him, but to mock Him!

Jesus condemns all such unnecessary demands for a sign and external phenomenon.
“… but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah the Prophet!”

The Prophets of Old, performed many miracles.
… Jesus also did.

The Prophets of Old, even performed the great miracles of raising the Dead.
… Jesus also did.

The Prophets of Old, were never able to raise themselves from the dead.
… But Jesus rose!

Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the fish, so was Jesus in the belly of the earth!

But Jesus rose….and that has become indeed, the Greatest Sign of all times!

The Pharisees demanded a sign…

Jesus answered with a sign – the greatest of them all – His Resurrection!

And yet…

The answers can be speculated.

But the question is…
Am I believing?

Am I believing and living, the Power of the Resurrection in my life?
Have I reduced the reality of Jesus being alive, to a mere expression of the lips?
Do I display this Sign that Jesus is Risen, by my words, in all my activities and by a joyful life?

Let us not be carried away by mere External Glitz and Glamour…

Let us open our eyes to see the many wonders and miracles the Lord has worked in our lives!
Let us become aware to see that He is Risen, and Alive and Working… in amazing ways… in our Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “When we see a soul that has raptures
in prayer without ecstasy in life…

… these raptures are exceedingly doubtful and dangerous!”

October 11, 2020 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Responding to the Lord, by acknowledging and accepting His ability to transform our lives!”

(Based on Isaiah 25:6-10, Phil 4:12-14, 19-20 and Mt 22:1-14 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

A catechism class student in class 8 – known to give creative and clever answers – was asked by the teacher on “what is the meaning of responsibility”

The girl thought for a while, and then said, “Responsibility is made up of two words – Response and Ability!”
… and she went on to say, “Responsibility, is the Response of human beings to the Ability of God to transform us!”

That’s a neat description of Responsibility, isn’t it?

It is a response given by a person…
… by acknowledging and accepting the ability of God to transform oneself!

God is able… God is almighty!

But God requires that we take up “responsibility” on ourselves, by responding to His ability to work in our lives!

The Gospel of the Day is a teaching on this aspect of Responsibility in Life…
… the parable of the Wedding Feast, in which the King sends out invitation to his chosen guests, expecting them “to respond!”

The guests however refused to acknowledge and accept the invite….
… so the King sent out an invite to all those in the streets.

The parable has an interesting twist at this point…

Even those who were called and invited from the streets and roads to attend the wedding ceremony, were expected to have a distinguishing mark.

The distinguishing mark was the Wedding Garment.

When the King came into the hall to meet his guests, he found that one of them was without this distinguishing mark…
“But when the King came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?'” (Mt 22:11)

A free and an open invitation was extended to all.

But once the people chose to be part of the wedding banquet, they were expected to follow certain norms and protocols…

This principle is followed in most of our daily lives too…

One is free to choose any school or educational institution…
… but once, one chooses to be part of it, one ought to abide by its uniform patterns, discipline styles, rules and regulations.

One is free to choose any company or work of place…but once, one chooses to be part of it, one ought to abide by its salary codes, work mechanisms and job culture.

One is free to choose any organization or charitable service centre etc…but once, one chooses to be part of it, one ought to abide by its style of functioning, its norms and working modes and rules.

The person without the wedding garment was also in a similar situation…

He had all the freedom to choose to go or not to go for the wedding.
But once he chose to go for the wedding, he had an obligation to abide by its norms, especially in wearing the wedding garment.

But this man refused to do so!

He probably was too proud to cast off his old clothes or his own clothes and don what the wedding occasion demanded.

He probably was too defiant to show the King that he could choose to have his own way and not get noticed.
He probably was too bold to show others that even if he flouts the norms, he got escape through.

But the King was sharp to notice this man who was proud, defiant and too bold.

Anyone of us could be “this man without the wedding garment”.

We voluntarily choose to follow Jesus as a Christian…
… and we are expected to wear the wedding garment of “His love and virtues”.

Are we without this garment and instead just happy to be wearing our own clothes of worldliness and attachments to sin?

We voluntarily choose to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist…
… and we are expected to wear the wedding garment of “preparedness, holiness and purity”

Are we without this garment and instead just be satisfied to be wearing our own clothes of unrepentance and impurity and casualness in receiving the Holy Communion?

We voluntarily choose to profess ourselves to belonging to Jesus…
… and we are expected to wear the wedding garment of “being constantly striving towards holiness and building a stronger relation with Jesus”

Are we without this garment and instead just being okay to be wearing our own clothes of being lethargic, impassionate, negligent and a relaxed attitude with respect to our Christian commitment and consecration?

The Gospel of the Day is a strong reminder for each of us to be vigilant and careful in wearing the wedding garments demanded by Jesus our King.

We ourselves have chosen to be part of the banquet of Jesus.

Let us make ourselves worthy of this calling by putting on the garments of the Lord.

The man wanted the good food
… but did not want to comply with the norms.

The man wanted to be part of the celebration
… but didn’t want to a relationship with the King.

We too may want blessings from the Lord.
We too may want many of our wants to be fulfilled by the Lord.

But we fail to have a relationship with Him…
… we fail to comply with His norms and rules!

Prophet Isaiah speaks of the feast to which God calls of us: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined!” (Is 25:6)

The Lord is inviting each one of us to His banquet… daily…

The Banquet of the Holy Eucharist. The Banquet of His Divine Word.
The Banquet of His Tender Love. The Banquet of His Immense Joy.
The Banquet of His Holy Spirit.

But we also ought to respond, by wearing the proper garments for the occasion.

If we respond, HE is always there as the strength of our life:
“I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
… and my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:13, 19)

Yes, God is able and almighty!

But it is important and vital that we take up “responsibility” on ourselves, by responding to His ability to work in our lives!

Let us “Respond” to the Lord by acknowledging and accepting His “ability” to transform our lives…
… and thus fulfill our Christian Responsibility!

Are we ready and willing?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “To advance well, we must apply ourselves to make good way in the road nearest to us…
… and do the first day’s journey!”

October 10, 2020 – 27th Week in Ordinary Time

“Seeking to live in accordance with the blueprint in the Hands of God – the Great Engineer – by doing His Will always!”

(Based on Gal 3:22-29 and Lk 11:27-28 – Saturday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time)

A highly skilled engineer had been confined to his bed due to a paralysis of the lower limbs.

So great was his reputation, that even though he was sickly, he was asked to draw the blueprints for a great suspension bridge.

With much determination, the engineer completed the blueprints and handed it over to those who were to carry out the work.

Months passed by…
… and the work of the bridge was completed.

Four men came to the engineer’s room and carried him, on the cot, to the place…
… from where he could see the bridge, suspending over a wide river

Tears filled his eyes as he gazed at the engineering marvel…
… and with the blueprints in his hands, he cried out:
“It’s just like the plan! It’s just like the plan!”

God, the Great Engineer, has his blueprints for each one of us, in our lives…
… His Holy Will!

Do we build our lives as per this blueprint?

The Gospel of the Day invites us to have our wills in harmony with this blueprint…
… the Will of God!

In today’s Gospel, a woman from the crowd calls out to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who bore you and nursed you” (Lk 11:27)

This woman had probably been following Jesus for some time or had observed some of His works or had heard about Him.

This greatness of the Man was attributed to His Mother.

The woman had probably a driving principle behind this thought, “Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman…constantly supporting and nourishing”.

Mother Mary was recognized and understood as this Woman behind the success of Jesus!

Let’s just visualize how Jesus would have felt when He heard these words…

Every child is proud and to hear good of one’s parent…
… especially about the mother.

Jesus too, would have been very proud and happy of His Mother.

He would have thought of the moments that His Mother…
… would have taught Him various prayers
… would have taught Him the scriptures.
… would have taught Him to love God

Jesus surely had many things to thank and praise His Mother.

But the Lord doesn’t remain fixated on the level of mere human praise and efforts…

The Lord loves things of the High….and His concerns are of the High!

And so, he invites and challenges the woman to look higher…

“Surely blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it as well” (Lk 11:28)

The Lord was probably telling the woman…
“Yes, surely my Mother is truly great for Her tender care of me.
She is indeed wonderful for Her amazing upbringing of me.

But My Mother is great, not just because of these earthly factors…

There is much more…

There are many more reasons which makes Her truly great.

She is blessed because…
… She listened to God’s Word and accepted it wholeheartedly.
… She was obedient to God though she did not understand many things
… She chose to put Her faith in God, though the path ahead was dim
… She lived and shared the love that she received from God.”

The Lord made the woman to not just be satisfied with transient, material aspect, but to have a higher perspective in life.

The same message is reached out to each one of us today….

Am I a person who is simply satisfied with only the concerns of the material world?
Am I a person who remains stunted on just listening to God’s word, but not practising it?
Am I a person who fails to fly higher, to also be concerned with the aspects of the Divine?
Am I a person who is excited to hear and listen to the Bible, but afraid to live it in my life?

God has his blueprints for each one of us, in our lives…
… His Holy Will!

Do we obediently carry out our works, as per His plan?

May this Great Engineer, seeing our lives…
… and with the blueprints in His hands, exclaim:
“It’s just like the plan! It’s just like the plan!”

God bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “God’s Will is as much in sickness…

… as it is in health!”