REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 08, 2021: Tuesday

“Having courage to be the ‘salt of the earth and light of the world!’”

(Based on 2 Cor 1:18-22 and Mt 5:13-16 – Tuesday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time)

Here is a lovely story of a humble little monk named Telemachus living out in the farming regions of Asia.

Telemachus had no great ambitions in life.

He loved his little garden, and tilled it through the changing seasons.

But one day in the year 391, he felt a sense of urgency, a call of God’s direction in his life – to Rome.

Rome was the heart and soul of the mighty empire.

The feelings of such a call frightened him, but he went anyway, praying along the way for God’s direction.

When he finally got to the city it was in an uproar! The armies of Rome had just come home from the battlefield in victory, and the crowds were turning out for a great celebration.

They flowed through the streets like a tidal wave…
… and Telemachus was caught in their frenzy and carried into the Colloseum.

He had never seen a gladiator contest before, but now his heart sickened.

Down in the arena men hacked at each other with swords and clubs.

The crowds roared at the sight of blood, and urged their favourites on to death.

Telemachus couldn’t stand it.
He knew this wasn’t the way God wanted people to live or to die.

So little Telemachus worked his way through the crowds to the wall down by the arena. “In the name of Christ, forbear!” he shouted.

Nobody heard him, so he crawled up onto the wall and shouted again: “In the name of Christ, forbear!”

This time the few who heard him only laughed. But Telemachus was not to be ignored.

He jumped into the arena, and ran through the sands toward the gladiators. “In the name of Christ, forbear!”

The crowds laughed at the silly little man, and threw stones at him.

Telemachus, however, was on a mission.

He threw himself between two gladiators to stop their fighting. “In the name of Christ, forbear!” he cried.

They hacked him apart!
They cut his body from shoulder to stomach…
… and he fell onto the sand with blood running out of his life.

The gladiators were stunned, and stopped to watch him die.

Then the crowds fell back in silence, and, for a moment, no one in the Colloseum moved.

The site of the dead man, and the reaction of the crowd, led the emperor and his guests to silently stand, turn and leave the Colloseum.

After a few minutes, the Gladiators put their swords down and they too left.

All that remained in that giant stadium was the scrawny lifeless body of the young man.

History claims that this was the very last gladiator game at the coliseum.

The memory of that man screaming to the crowd, and the image of the blood thirsty lust of the crowd had changed the hearts and the minds of the Romans in that instant.

Within an hour, the emperor issued an edict forbidding any future games of war within the Roman Empire.

There was no more killing in the Colloseum.
There were no more gladiator matches in Rome.
All because one man, stood up… and said “In the Name of Jesus, forbear!!”

He, as a true Christian, became, the salt of the earth and light of the world.

This is the call of the Gospel of the Day.

Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” (Mt 5: 13)
“You are the light of the world” (Mt 5: 14)

In ancient Greece, salt was considered so valuable it was called, “theon” – divine.

The Romans believed that nothing was of more value than salt except the Sun. Roman soldiers were even paid in salt.
An ancient Near Eastern custom still practiced among some Arabs today is that a pact of friendship is sealed with a gift of salt.

This call of the Gospel has gained significant importance and urgency in our world today.

We live in times and generation when the need to be a “salt” and “light” has gained tremendous urgency…

The world is losing a taste for things of everlasting value and instead relishes more of transient materials.

Can I be a “salt” in such situations giving the taste of eternity and goodness…
… to revive lives and to orient them towards the real joys of life?

The world is fast degrading and losing values in various areas like moral life, social situations, cultural integrity and religious fervour.

Can I be a “light”, casting away the darkness of ignorance…
… and shedding new illumination and radiance for the revival of sanctified lives?

The world today, and even the Church, sometimes, has her members sadly deeply getting corrupted and there are strong strands of infection and contamination affecting various core dimensions.

Can I be a “salt” which rubs in consciousness for transformation and change…
… and be a healing agent to prick the conscience of people to lead an integral life?

The world and even the Church, sometimes, is easy on closing the eye to the evils that are constantly rising, and fails to be a powerful voice for justice and peace

Can I be a “light” which casts its powerful rays on the dark shades of wickedness…
… and expose the inhuman elements of the society, helping towards a harmonious and pleasant world?

“Salt” and “light” are symbols of purity.

To be the “salt” and “light” in the world, demands a high level of perfection and holiness in our lives.

St Paul reminds us that “it is God Who establishes us… in Christ and has anointed us by putting His seal on us and giving us His Spirit in our hearts as a first instalment!” (2 Cor 1:21-22)

Today let us specially seek the intercession of St Marian Therese, the Indian Saint on her feast day…
…. and may we be willing to rise up to the challenge of being the “salt of the earth” and “light to the world”…
… even if it requires giving up many of our comfort areas of life
… so that our Christian values can be preserved and the love of God may shine forth to the world!

In the dangerous “colloseums of our world” when the Gospel Virtues are often ripped apart…
… let us have the courage, with the Mighty Grace of God, to declare: “In the name of Christ, forbear!”

And thus the “salt of the earth and light of the world!”

God bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
HOW IS THE SON OF GOD, MAN?

Because “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”, in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ’s human soul…
… with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body.
In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ’s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it.
Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from “one of the Trinity”.
The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity: “The Son of God… worked with human hands
… He thought with a human mind.
… He acted with a human will
… and with a human heart he loved.

Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin. (Cf. CCC # 470)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 07, 2021: Monday

“Adopting Divine Attitudes in life and mapping our lives in accordance with the Beatitudes!”

(Based on 2 Cor 1:1-7 and Mt 5:1-12 – Monday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time)

This popular story is told of a trucker who went into a drive-in restaurant along the highway.

He had ordered a large meal and was beginning to enjoy it…
… when four guys on motorcycles – looking rough and toughs – came in.

These people – local ruffians – roughed up the trucker…
… devoured on the meal that he had ordered and finished it.

The trucker did not talk back to them.

He simply paid his bill and left.

The tough guys were revelling and gloating.
Proudly they began to say, “He didn’t have the guts to say a single word or to lift a hand.

So much of a weakling he was, isn’t it
He didn’t to even raise a voice or didn’t know to retaliate!”

The waiter who seeing all that was happening, came along and added: “He didn’t probably know much of driving either probably!

He just backed his truck over four bikes in the parking lot!”

That’s often how human tendencies are, isn’t it?

The tendency to laud over others and to display one’s power and arrogance…
The tendency to give back in revenge and to seek for opportunities to avenge…

These are tendencies that as human beings we all have – in one form or the other – in one measure or the other

But as a Christian – a follower of Christ – we are challenged to move beyond such “human” (or rather, inhuman!) tendencies, and adopt Divine Attitudes in life.

The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful charter of Divine Attributes – BE ATTITUDES – that are to be lived and practised in our day to day being and living!

The Eight Beatitudes – one of the most beautiful passages of the B.I.B.L.E. (sometimes expanded as being “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”!) – presents to us a ready reference on how to live as a True Follower of Christ.

The passage begins with the sentence, “Jesus went up to the mountain and SAT DOWN…and HE BEGAN TO TEACH them” (Mt 5:1)

In the Jewish Tradition, the Rabbi (teacher) would sit and teach.

The Hebrew word ‘Rabbi’ is derived from “rav”, which means ‘Great One’.

When St Matthew specifically mentions that “Jesus sat down and taught”, Jesus is presented as the Rabbi: The Great One – The Teacher – who speaks with great authority.

Jesus is the New Moses, who presents the “New Law- the law of Absolute Love!”

What is this teaching of such great authority?

It’s a teaching which calls for a reversal of the worldly values!
It’s a teaching that turns the worldly standards of greatness upside down!

The world holds in high esteem the aspects of power, prestige, richness and prosperity.

The yardstick of greatness of people is very often measured in terms of these external achievements.

But Jesus, the teacher-par-excellence, reverses this false notion of the world…
… And pronounces BLESSEDNESS to the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted ones!

High jumpers while competing with each other, keep raising the bar higher and higher, to achieve victory.

Similarly, the Beatitudes that are pronounced by Jesus raises the bar – the standards of Christian life are raised to a great proportion.

All the beatitudes, focus on one aspect: The need to lower oneself and instead to understand that “God alone suffices!”

Very often many questions pop up in our minds…
…. “Why is my life full of suffering, though I seek to live a genuine life?”
… “Why do the unjust prosper, and the people who pursue for justice fail to receive rewards?”
… “Why does success elude me whereas those who adopt wrong means bask in achievements?”

It’s hard to give a downright answer to such questions…
… but the Beatitudes gives us a glimpse into the mind of Jesus: That in all such occasions, our attitude ought to be, “God alone suffices!”.

“GOD ALONE SUFFICES” ought to be our mantra…
… when we find ourselves at the receiving end, even though after having worked hard, we don’t find the expected success
… when we are still subject to persecutions and hardships even though we live in honesty and truthfulness

Of course, this teaching is hard to follow… may even seem impractical…!

Yet, we are not alone…
… Jesus the teacher, Himself is our Model and Example… He walked the talk!

Hanging on the Cross, Jesus became the epitome of the Beatitudes that He Proclaimed

He is the One…
… Who was and is, the Poor, Mourning, Meek, Hungry and Thirsty,
… Who was and is, the Merciful, Clean of Heart, Peacemaker and the Persecuted One!

Today let us look to Jesus, the Teacher and the One who lived out the Beatitudes, and make our Christian life more meaningful!

As human beings we do have tendencies to laud over others or display power and arrogance or to give back in revenge or to seek for opportunities to avenge etc

But let this Teaching on the Beatitudes help us as a True Follower of Christ to move beyond such “inhuman” tendencies…
… and adopt Divine Attitudes in life.

In the words of Fulton Sheen, “It’s hard to be a Christian… but it’s harder not to be one!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS CHRIST – TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN!

After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ’s human nature a kind of personal subject. >> Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that “there is but one hypostasis [or person], which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity.”
Thus everything in Christ’s human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death:
“He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity.”
The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man.

He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother: “What he was, he remained and what he was not, he assumed”, sings the Roman Liturgy (Cf. CCC # 468-469)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 06, 2021: Sunday

“Growing in the experience of ‘the greatest love story of all time that is contained in a Tiny White Host!’”

(Based on the Solemnity of Corpus Christ – the Body and Blood of Christ)

The initial years of the 20th Century saw communists seizing a Catholic parish and imprisoning the priest in his own rectory near the church. After being locked up in his own house, the priest looked out the window and was horrified to see the anti-Catholic militants enter the church.

Once inside, they went into the sanctuary, broke open the tabernacle and in an act of desecration, threw down the ciborium – scattering the Sacred Hosts on the floor.

The priest knew exactly how many Hosts had been in the ciborium: Thirty-two.

However, the communists either failed to notice, or did not pay any attention to a small girl who had been praying at the back of the Church.

She saw everything.

That night the girl returned, and slipping past the guard at the rectory, entered the Church where she made a Holy Hour.

After her Holy Hour, she went into the sanctuary, and kneeling down, bent over and received Jesus in the Holy Communion with her tongue (Since at that time, it was not permissible lay-people to touch the Sacred Host with their hands)

Each night, the girl returned to the church to make her Holy Hour and received Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue, just as she did the first night.

On the thirty- second night, after having consumed the last Host, she accidentally made a noise that awoke the guard who was asleep at his post by the priest’s residence.

From his bedroom window, the priest could only watch in horror as the heartrending scene unfolded before his eyes!

The girl tried to run away…
…. But the guard chased her, grabbed her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle!

The little girl had a heroic martyrdom – all because of her tender and deep love for the Holy Eucharist!

It was this incident that would inspire Archbishop Fulton Sheen – one of the greatest 20th century proponents of the Catholic Church – to spend one hour each, daily, before the Holy Eucharist

The daring action of that little girl inspired the heart of another fervent soul, Fulton Sheen, who would go on to influence millions to love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist!

How is our love for the Holy Eucharist?

Today we solemnly celebrate the Great Feast of the Corpus Christi – the Body and Blood of Jesus.

The Catechism of the Church teaches, “In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (#1374).

On the night of the Last Supper, Jesus with His chosen disciples, celebrated the Passover Meal, taking the bread and wine, solemnly declaring, “This is my Body” (Mk 14: 22) and “This is my Blood” (Mk 14: 24)

The following day, Jesus would carry out this sacrifice of offering Himself for the expiation of the sins of the world, on Mount Calvary.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist is the perpetual continuation and adoration of the sacrifice of Calvary.

The Holy Mass is not another sacrifice.
The Holy Mass is not a repetition of the sacrifice of Calvary.
The Priest at the Holy Mass is not offering a different sacrifice.

Instead,

The Holy Mass is the same sacrifice of Jesus.
The Holy Mass is the perpetual continuation and adoration of the sacrifice of Calvary.
The Priest at the Holy Mass is Jesus Himself, the High Priest and Victim of the Sacrifice.

What is our understanding, love and commitment to the Holy Mass?

In the Holy Eucharist, we have the promise of the Emmanuel God, “I am with you always, till the end of the age” (Mt 28: 20) being fulfilled.

We live in times when…
… there is a lot of indifference growing
… there are several newer problems and crisis cropping up
… the anxiety and uncertainties caused by the pandemic are taking a toll on us

We live in a situation of faith where…
… there is a tendency to dilute many of the spiritual values
… there is a strong opposition to living holy and sanctified lives

In all such struggling moments and trying situations, we have an answer and solution in the Holy Eucharist.

The Eucharist is the story of a God who longs to dwell with us and in us.

The Eucharist is the saga of a God who is madly and passionately in love with us.

From the Cross, our Blessed Lord cried, “I thirst” (Jn 19: 28b)

Shall we not respond, with a positive affirmation, to this cry of the Lord?

It’s also good to quickly go through some “unnoticed” parts of the Holy Mass – and realize its significance, in order to understand and love the Holy Mass, more deeply and devoutly.

THE INTRODUCTORY RITE:
The Opening Prayer:

Called as the ‘Collect’, this prayer, gathers together all the intentions, and unites with the prayer of the High Priest, Jesus Himself.

An action to do: Use the moment of silent, to bring before the Lord all intentions and prayers

LITURGY OF THE WORD:
Signing ourselves on the forehead, lips and the chest

We seek His Help to cleanse our minds, lips & hearts, that we may worthily receive Jesus, the Word into our lives!

An Action to do: Use the moment, to truly have clean thoughts (mind), sincere words (lips) and honest feelings and deeds (heart)

THE OFFERTORY
a. The Offering of Bread and Wine

The Gifts, represent fruits of our labour. As the gifts, we pray, that we too be changed into His Body and Blood.

An Action to do: Use to moment, to offer our entire life to the Lord – just as we are – with all our situations, struggles, aspirations and hopes.

b. The mingling of a drop of water in the wine by the Priest

The water represents, our littleness, which is totally mingled with the wine, signifying, our intention to be one with the Divine Lord

An Action to do: Use the moment, to sincerely wanting to be united with the Lord and becoming more and more like Him!

c. The washing of the hands

The Priest – the representative of the People of God, cleanses himself and prepares, for the Most Holy Sacrifice of Calvary.

An Action to do: Use the moment, to repent of our sins and praying earnestly, never to fall into sin again!

THE PREFACE
a. Lift up your hearts
Our minds and hearts need to transcend our human worries, concerns and troubles, and be raised in heavenly contemplation

An Action to do: Use the moment, to ascend to the heights of glory, in order to recognise and be united to the Will of God in our lives.

b. Prayer:
The Church enlists (as per the Liturgical Season or the theme) the various ways in which the Lord has worked in human history. We (the Church Militant), seeking intercession for the Faithful Departed (the Church Suffering) join the beautiful choir of the saints and angels (the Church Triumphant) and angels, singing Holy Holy, Holy to the Most High God!

An Action to do: Use this moment of intense praise and Divine worship, to be longing to possess Heaven and to be filled with the radiance of this joy in this world.

THE COMMUNION RITE
Epiclesis

The portion where the power of the Holy Spirit is invoked, so that the gifts of bread and wine, may be transformed into Divine Species.

An Action to do: Use this moment, to pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit, that His Power may overshadow us

THE CONSECRATION
A small piece of the host is mingled with the Sacred Wine

Signifying the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord pointing symbolising Resurrection, and also the Unity of the Body of Christ, the Church.

An Action to do: Use this moment, to pray for the grace to share in His Resurrection and to love the Church and be thankful for our Catholic Faith

THE HOLY COMMUNION
A moment when heaven touches the earth…when the Divine lowers itself to embrace the fallen Humanity, to raise it up to Divine status…

An Action to do: Use this moment, to be totally absorbed in the mighty ocean of God’s Mercy and experiencing the consummation of His Divine Love!

THE RITE OF THE DISMISSAL
We are asked to be the Eucharist to one another – breaking ourselves, in service!

An Action to do: Use this moment to pledge to be a True Missionary, giving His Love to all – in the little way, that we can!

There is nothing more beautiful on this earth, than the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist – the Holy Mass!

As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says: “The Eucharist is our most precious treasure… it contains all the mystery of our Salvation!”

Let us truly “Experience and Enjoy the Eucharist!”

May we grow in the love of the Holy Eucharist, for, as Bishop Fulton Sheen says, “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white Host”!

In this time of the pandemic, in case, due to restrictions, we are unable to physically receive the….
…. let us make this PRAYER OF SPIRITUAL COMMUNION and experience the Merciful Love of the Eucharistic Lord:
“My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You, Amen”

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Eucharist!

May our Blessed Mamma of the Holy Eucharist, help & intercede for us, to love the Lord more!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God’s Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed “that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.”
The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine person of God’s Son assumed it.

Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed: Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; “like us in all things but sin”. He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.” (Cf. CCC # 466-467)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 05, 2021: Saturday

“Responding with faithfulness and gratitude even in fiery and harsh situations of life!”

(Based on Tob 12:1, 5-15, 20 and Mk 12:38-44 – Saturday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

A missionary in a particular place came across a man who had bandaged and scarred hands.

When asked what had happened, he said, “My neighbour’s straw roof was on fire.

I helped him to put it out and that’s how my hands were burned.”

It was only later that the whole story was known.

The neighbour hated him and had in anger, set his roof on fire…
… while his wife and children were asleep in the hut.

They were in great danger.

Providentially, the Christian was able to put out the fire in his house on time.

But sparks flew over to the roof of the man who had set the house on fire…
… and his house started to burn.

There was no hate in the heart of this Christian!

There was only love for his enemy

And so, he did everything he could to put out the fire in his neighbour’s house.

That is how his own hands were burned!

Life was being pretty harsh and “fiery” to him…
… but he chose to respond in faithfulness and gratitude.

Am I loyal and dedicated to do my responsibilities even if unrewarded?

The Gospel of the Day presents an act of faithfulness and courage by a widow who make a “small but highly significant contribution” to the Temple Treasury.

The passage of the day is the culmination of the 12th Chapter of the Gospel of St Mark.

This has been a volatile passage…

  1. Jesus tells the parable of the Tenants (Mk 12: 1-12)
    … thereby giving out a sharp message to the Jews to accept the Messiah and not forfeit the many graces and blessings that they had been blessed with.
  2. Jesus gives a fitting response to the question of paying taxes (Mk 12: 13-17)
    … thereby exhorting the concerned people to not get stuck to earthly obligations and instead gear one’s life in total allegiance to the Lord Creator
  3. Jesus corrects the false notion regarding the teaching on Resurrection (Mk 12: 18-27)
    … thereby challenging to live a life in worthiness of eternity and to have the correct and deeper faith in the Living God and His Teachings
  4. Jesus makes clear the greatest commandments (Mk 12: 28-34)
    … thereby inviting all to understand that there is only one true God and He deserves all the love and affection of our being and this love ought to be expressed in love of neighbour.
  5. Jesus points out from Scripture that He is the Messiah, the Lord (Mk 12: 35-37)
    … thereby opening the eyes of the people to read Scripture with greater openness to the Spirit and an invitation to accept Him as the Lord of their lives.

These five pronouncements finally concludes with Jesus denouncing the action of the scribes especially in devouring the lives of the poor widows.

Jesus says, “The scribes devour the houses of widows, and as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers” (Mk 12: 40)
• Widows were an easy trap to be cheated…

However, the chapter ends with a beautiful counteract…

A widow – symbol of all the other widows, who have been cheated, or oppressed or facing humiliations – comes in to the Temple and drops in her ‘everything’ in the treasure!

This is indeed a powerful symbol of faithfulness and duty…
• She is a symbol of being oppressed – yet she is heartily generous
• She is an object of being condemned – yet she is mightily liberal

And she becomes a symbol of self-giving and total-emptiness.

This poor widow becomes a great challenge for us in our lives…
• Life may bite us hard with cruel luck and bad destiny…
• Life may oppress us through various elements in the society…
• Life may cheat us in the form of many people or circumstances…

Yet, through all this…
Like this poor widow,
• Can I be firm to still give to God in gratitude?
• Can I be faithful to do my responsibilities even if unrewarded?

St Paul beautifully inspires us by his life of commitment, as we hear him proclaim the words of hope:
“For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing!” (2 Tim 4:6-8)

Life will often present “fiery and harsh” situations…
… can we still chose to respond in faithfulness and gratitude.
… can we still remain loyal and dedicated to my responsibilities?

May the Blessed Mother Mary, who Herself was a poor widow, and gave Herself entirely to the Lord…

And Jesus, who like the poor widow, gave Himself entirely to His people and in doing God’s Will…
… be our inspiration, our strength and our hope!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS CHRIST – TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN

The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man…
… nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human.
He became truly man while remaining truly God. JESUS CHRIST IS TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN.
During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it.
The first heresies denied not so much Christ’s divinity as his true humanity (Gnostic Docetism).
From apostolic times, the Christian faith has insisted on the true incarnation of God’s Son “come in the flesh”.
But already in the third century, the Church in a council at Antioch had to affirm against Paul of Samosata that Jesus Christ is Son of God by nature and not by adoption.
The first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325 confessed in its Creed that the Son of God is “begotten, not made, of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father”…

… and condemned Arius, who had affirmed that the Son of God “came to be from things that were not” and that he was “from another substance” than that of the Father (Cf. CCC # 464-465)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 04, 2021: Friday

“Willing to ‘taste and see’ the HOLY BIBLE in order to recognise the Power and Goodness of the Holy Word of God!”

(Based on Tob 11:5-15 and Mk 12:35-37 – Friday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

“You tell me that your Book is the Word of God, but can you prove it so?” challenged an owner of an orchard (= enclosed land with fruit trees)…
… to a Christian who was quite enthusiastic about his faith.

The owner of the orchard had very little regard and hardly cared for things of the Divine.

Faced with that question of the faith, the Christian, admiring the fruit trees in the orchard…
… went closer to an apple tree – full of luscious and juicy red ones – gently held one of the apples and said: “What fine looking apples!”

And then, changing the subject said, “But what a pity! They are of such poor quality when it comes to eating them!”

“What!” exclaimed the shocked orchard owner, “Of poor quality? How can you make such a blunt and baseless statement without even having tasted one of them!

Pick one or two and try them…!”

The Christian obliged.

As he began to eat an apple, smacking his lips he said, “Yes, you are right! The apples are excellent!”

But he went on to say, “Now Sir… you must deal with the BOOK, in the same way I dealt with your fruit!

Taste and see… the goodness contained in the Word of God!”

Yes, its only when we are willing to “taste and see” that we recognise the Power and Goodness of the Bible – the Holy Word of God!

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” are the famous words of exhortation of St Jerome, the doctor of the Church.

The Scriptures talk to us of God and of His love and providence

The Scriptures tell of us people who experienced God’s mercy and lived in His presence
The Scriptures help us to experience His care… to grow in His love.

Are we genuinely making efforts to grow in knowing and understanding the Scriptures so that we can know and understand and love our God, more deeply?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus exhorting the people to have a closer look into the Scriptures and thereby, discovering Him in a deeper manner!

Over the last few days, we have seen Jesus facing various sorts of groups and quizzed over different aspects…

  1. The Chief priests, Scribes and elders questioned Jesus on His authority
  2. The Pharisees and Herodians interrogated Jesus on the subject of paying taxes to Caesar
  3. The Sadducees confronted Jesus on the topic of the Resurrection
  4. Another scribe enquired Jesus on the first of all the commandments

After this long round of being questioned, Jesus now puts a question to His listeners, “How do the Scribes claim that the Messiah is the Son of David? David calls Him ‘Lord’; so how is He his Son?” (Mk 12: 35,37)

The nation of Israel had King David as her greatest King.

And it was through the line of David, that the Jews knew the future Messiah would be coming.

They eagerly awaited this ‘Son of David’.

Thus was written in the Scriptures.
Thus was taught from the Scriptures.
And Jesus was aware of this aspect.

However, the Lord invites and challenges His listeners to look at Scripture in a deeper manner and to understand its greater implications.

Therefore, Jesus quotes King David from Psalm 102 which presents David calling the Messiah as the Lord.

And then He puts forward this very simple query… “How can the Son of David also be Lord of David”?

Implied in this question was the powerful claim by Jesus, that…
… He Himself was the Messiah – the Son of David and the Lord of David

Implied in this question was also the powerful answer to the previous questions that were put forward to Him by the various groups:

  1. To the query on the greatest commandment…
    … Jesus declares that He is the Lord, who is to be loved with one’s whole heart, and one’s whole soul and with one’s whole mind and with one’s whole strength
  2. To the confrontation on the topic of Resurrection…
    … Jesus declares that He is the Lord of the Resurrection and the One Who grants eternal life
  3. To the interrogation on the subject of paying taxes to Caesar
    … Jesus declares that He is the Lord who is above all earthly kingdoms and to whom absolute allegiance is to be rendered
  4. To the questioning on His authority
    … Jesus declares that He is the Lord who is the source of all authority and requires no one’s permission or authorization!

The Jews were familiar with the Scriptures…

They were familiar with the Psalms particularly…
They were familiar notable with the passages especially concerning David and the Messiah..
Yet, they had seldom considered Scriptures in the way that Jesus was presenting to them!

Jesus had cast new light on the reading of the Scriptures!

Jesus had opened a new way of looking at the Scriptures!

Our own lives can parallel the lives of these Jews, with respect to the Scriptures.

How eager and zealous are we regarding the Word of God?

How faithful and committed are we…
… to reading the Scriptures daily?
… to spend some time regularly in studying the Bible?
… to understand the person of Jesus and grow in Him through His Word?
… to inculcate the light of His Wisdom and to practice it in our daily activities and life?

Let us seek the grace of the Holy Spirit to grow in our understanding and love of the Lord and to live a life in Him!

On this First Friday of the Month of June, as we seek to renew our commitment and love to the Sacred Heart of our Blessed Lord…
… we are invited to take the resolution of spending at least a few minutes, daily – without fail – in reading the Holy Bible.

We need to read His Word
We need to learn His Word
We need to practise His Word

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ!

Let us grow in our passion for His Holy Word and be committed to His Kingdom, so that our lives may mightily proclaim, “Jesus is Lord!”

Let us joyfully and with docility be willing to “taste and see” the HOLY BIBLE…
… in order to recognise the Power and Goodness of the Holy Word of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
THE INCARNATION

Taking up St. John’s expression, “The Word became flesh”, the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it.
Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”

Such is the joyous conviction of the Church from her beginning whenever she sings “the mystery of our religion.” He was manifested in the flesh! (Cf. CCC # 461-463)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 03, 2021: Thursday

“Hearing the Loving Invitation of the Lord, knocking at the door of our hearts, and in turn, expressing to Him our love and affection!”

(Based on Tob 6:10; 7:1,9-14;8:4-8 and Mk 12:28-34 – Thursday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

A nurse who was known to be very jovial and kind, on the paediatric ward, before listening to the little ones’ chests…
… would plug the stethoscope into their ears
… and let them listen to their own heart.

Their eyes would always light up with awe.

Once as she was doing this with a four-year old boy named David, she was amazed to hear his response!

Gently she tucked the stethoscope into little David’s ears…
… and placed the disk over his heart: ‘Listen’, she said, “What do you suppose that is?”

David drew his eyebrows together in a puzzled line and looked up as if lost in the mystery of the strange tap…
… tap, tap… tapping deep in his chest.

Then his face broke out in a wondrous grin…
… and he asked: “Is that Jesus knocking?”

This beautiful incident reminds all of us of the Gracious Presence of the Divine in each one us…
… knocking at the door of our heart, every moment

And inviting us: “Do you experience My Unconditional Love, and are you ready to offer your love to Me?”

The Gospel of the Day, is a challenging invitation to reflect on this fundamental aspect of our Christian Life…
… with the mention of a scribe, who had been watching his fellow-scribes in an argument with the Lord, and feeling impressed with Jesus, coming up to Him with a question:
“Which commandment is the first of all” (Mk 12:28)

We are not too sure of the motive of this scribe.

As per the versions of the same incident, in St Matthew (Mt 22:35) and St Luke (Lk 10:25), the person posed this question to Jesus, in order to “test him”.

The Markan version is however, silent on this aspect.

But whatever be the intention, the scribe most certainly was reflecting a common query that was widespread among the teachers and scholars of the Law:

Which was the greatest commandment or law?

God had issued the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel.

These laws were intended for the people of Israel to be “distinguished” as the chosen nation of the Lord – chosen from among all others in the world.

These laws – simple and direct in nature – were aimed towards demanding a total commitment and loyalty from the part of the people, to the Lord.

However, over time, these uncomplicated laws by which the people of Israel were to live…
… began to be expanded and extended and expounded.

It resulted in 613 commandments or stipulations:

365 of them (corresponding to the number of days in a year) were negative commandments, as in ” You shall not…”
And 248 of them (corresponding to the number of bones and major organs in the body, as per the Jewish understanding) were positive commandments, as in “You shall…”

When the Lord was asked to mention the First of all these Commandments, He puts forward the basis and the foundation of all these various laws, stipulations and commandments:
“You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk 12: 30)

And “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12: 31)

Note the insistence on the word “all”….
… “all” your heart… feelings, emotions, desires
… “all” your soul… will, choices, decisions
… “all” your mind… reason, knowledge, memory
… “all” your strength… talents, abilities, capacities

The Lord commands and demands a “total” and “complete” loving!

He does not permit compromises to let our wishes to slide through…
He does not allow framing excuses to let our desires to be fulfilled…
He does not consent devising justifications to let our inclinations be satisfied…

He demands an “absolute” and “unadulterated” love!

As Christians, we often…
… seek to find “loopholes” in laws of loving the Lord and our neighbour…
… try to spot “gaps” in commandments which ask to love the Lord and our neighbour…

Our selfishness often creeps in…
Our personal desires often spoil it…
Our sinful tendencies often gain an upper hand…

But the insistence of the Lord is clear:
“Love Fully”
“Love Totally”
“Love Completely”

This is the ideal to which we, as Christians are called!

If not for this highest ideal, our life as a Christian would cease to have a uniqueness!

If not for this loftiest ideal, our life as a Christian would fail to be different from others!

Each of us as Christians are called…
… “to be holy”
… “to be set apart”
… “to be different”

This holiness comes when we seek for the highest ideal…
… loving God totally and expressing this love wholly to our neighbour.

This setting apart comes to fruition when we seek for the premier ideal…
… giving to God entirely and articulating this self-giving in humble service of others.

The call is indeed great and very lofty…

The Lord is knocking at the door of our heart, every moment…
… inviting us to “experience His Unconditional Love, and calling us to offer our love to Him!”

Shall we, at this moment… place our hands on our heart…
… hear His Loving Invitation and answer Him:

“Yes Lord, I recognise it’s You… knocking at the door of my heart… I LOVE YOU, LORD!”

God bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
WHY DID THE WORD BECOME FLESH?

The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love:
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness!
Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after His example.
The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”
“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”

“The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods (Cf. CCC # 458-460)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 02, 2021: Wednesday

“With deep faith, hope and love, living in accordance with the Will of God, in our journey towards Eternity!”

(Based on Tob 3:1-11, 16-17 and Mk 12:18-27 – Wednesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

There was a young Christian woman – resolute and strong in faith – who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been just a few weeks to live.

She had resigned herself to the Will of the Lord…
… and so had also accepted this painful reality.

As part of her preparation for a meaningful departure from this life, she also contacted her parish priest and spoke at length.

Among the many things that she discussed, she also told, with a great sense of excitement:
“I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The priest stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say, and replying, “Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request!”

The young woman explained:
“My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.

In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared…
… someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’
It was my favourite part because I knew that something better was coming…
… like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.
Something wonderful, and with substance!’

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’

Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork… the best is yet to come!”

The eyes of the priest welled up with tears of joy, though with a heavy heart!

He knew that this would be one of the last time he would see her…
… but he also rejoiced that the woman had great faith and hope of the glorious life to come!

At her funeral, people walking by the young woman’s casket were deeply surprised …
… seeing the fork placed in her right hand.

Over and over, the priest heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’

And over and over he smiled…
… and replied: “Keep your fork… the best is yet to come!”

And indeed, it’s so true!

How deep is our faith and hope in the eternal promises of the Lord…?

And how passionate are we to live in accordance with the Will of God with our eyes set on eternity…?

Do we live in accordance to this truth of the “glorious life of eternity?”

Or are we a “practical Sadducee?” – failing to be open to the Truth of Eternity and living in casualness and lethargy

The Gospel of the Day presents a group of opponents – characterised by rigidity to accept the truth.

The Sadducees came to Jesus to put forward a hypothetical riddle regarding the question of the Resurrection.

The Sadducees were the top people in the nation, the elite group of aristocrats who owned a lot of land, wealth and rank.

They were the power brokers in Israel’s supreme court, the Sanhedrin.
Even the high priests came from the families of the Sadducees.

They were selective in what they accepted from the Scriptures.

They rejected all the historical books.
They also rejected all the psalms and the other ‘writings’ like Job and Ecclesiastes.
Not one of the books of the prophets would they accept.
They were left with just the first five books of Moses.

Moses was their person of authority.

That is why when they come to Jesus, they characteristically begin, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us…” (Mk 12:19)

They also rejected the resurrection of the dead.

“Men stay dead,” they said; human beings only have this life here and now.
That is what they believed: No judgment; with death, the soul perishes with the body.

We live in a world where we also encounter many of “practical” Sadducees.

People who live as though there is no Resurrection
People who deny giving any significance for life after this life
People who fail to uphold any teachings or thoughts that support a life after death

For such “practical” Sadducees,
… Life consists in basically enjoying the pleasures of this present life to the maximum!
… Life is not to be drowned in “boring” piety and “dull” devotions with a hope for the future!

Perhaps, some of us, may also share such thought-patterns of the Sadducees.

Yet, the Lord addresses us, just as He did to the Sadducees, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mk 12: 24)

The Scriptures clearly testify to the various references that are made to the fact of the “dead” not really being dead…
… rather, alive in the Lord!

The power of God clearly testifies that God as the one who created creation out of nothing…
… also has the power to grant new life to those who are dead!

The Gospel passage ends with the statement by Jesus, “You are greatly misled” (Mk 12: 27b).

Another translation would read, “You are quite wrong”

The Lord was not afraid to clearly and bluntly tell the Sadducees that they were wrong and misled in their understandings.

And perhaps, if we are in the category of being a “modern and practical” Sadducee…
… the Lord uncompromisingly tells us also: “You are greatly misled”

We need to be open to the voice of the Lord, calling us to trust deeper, in the presence of a life after this life.

Let us cease to be a “practical Sadducee” – professing belief in the Resurrection only in lips, but failing to display this belief by a life of holiness!

It is true that we don’t have much awareness of how the “next life” would be…
… We do fall short of words to explain the nature of the life-to-come or rationally describing “how heaven would be!”
… We may even have our own fears and anxieties in thinking of death or in the parting moments of our loved ones!

But we do know for certain one thing: that we would be one with our Lord- the lover of our soul…
… the fullness of joy
… the supremacy of holiness
… the culmination of every desire

With deep faith, hope and love, let us always remember: “Keep your fork… the best is yet to come!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
WHY DID THE WORD BECOME FLESH?

With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”
The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”:
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again.
We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us.
Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Saviour; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator.

Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state? (Cf. CCC # 456-457)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – June 01, 2021: Tuesday

“Being bolstered by the Powerful Personality of Jesus, to be all determined and full of convictions”

(Based on Tob 2:9-14 and Mk 12:13-17 – Tuesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)

A little boy was pulling on some weeds with long deep roots…
… trying to get it out of the ground.

He pulled and pulled again…
… then decided to give one last jerk

And when he did…
… it came out – but he went tumbling over backwards!

Someone watching this said: “That was a tough fight, wasn’t it?”

The little boy – recovering himself and trying to get up, feeling a bit exhausted – replied: “Ah yes! It should have been!

After all… the whole world was pulling against me!”

How often does it happen that it seems the entire world is pulling against us…
… against our convictions and principles of life
… against our values and virtues of life

De we remain firm and determined, even it means undergoing some falling back and setbacks…
… or do we yield in to those forces – and quit and give up in life?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus – who is all determined and full of convictions – boldly encountering the “deadly trap” being laid before him by the leaders of his time…
… and how He remains unscathed and uncompromising in presenting the full force of the Truth!

The Gospel passage begins with the verse: “Then they sent to Jesus some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said.” (Mk 12:13)

The “they” in this verse refers to the chief priests, the scribes and the elders (Mk 11: 27b)

This group had already been silenced by the Lord…

In questioning Jesus of His authority, they found themselves facing a tougher question from Jesus. (Mk 11: 27-33)
Jesus also told a parable of the Tenants in the vineyard, which alluded to their closed attitude to accept Him as the Messiah of their lives (Mk 12: 1-12)

This group of chief priests, scribes and the elders, went away…
… with hatred in their against Jesus
… with a mind to plot further against Jesus

So, they got together two opposing parties, in their scheme to oppose Jesus.

These two opposing parties were the Pharisees and the Herodians (Mk 12: 13)

Who are the Pharisees?

The Pharisees were primarily not a political party but a group of scholars and pious people. They enjoyed a large popular following, and in the Gospels, they appear as spokesmen for the majority of the population.

They hated the pagan Roman occupation of Israel.
Their hope was for a new Judas Maccabee who would arise and throw off the Roman empire.
Many of the common people embraced their patriotic message.

Who are the Herodians?

Their name came from King Herod, who was a half Jew and had made a made a political deal with the Romans.

The Herodians held political power, and supported King Herod Antipas, the Roman Empire’s ruler over much of the land of the Jews from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39.
The Herodians favoured submitting to the Herods, and therefore to Rome, for political pragmatism.

The Pharisees were obsessed with their religious traditions…
… while the Herodians had little religion at all.

Yet, when Jesus spoke and opposed both formalism and love of worldliness…
… these two groups came together in their opposition to Him!

And they trap Jesus with a very cunning question, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” (Mk 12: 14c)

If Jesus had said:
No, you should not pay taxes….
… that no true Israelite who loves God should willingly pay the tax as the Roman Coin with the image of Caesar and all of his titles claiming to be divine is blasphemous…

All of the common people would have said, “How godly man is He!”

But Jesus would have been arrested for sedition and treason.

On the other side, if Jesus had said:
Yes, you should pay taxes….
… that it is not bad since the Roman empire brings stability and economic prosperity…

All of the common people would have abandoned Him saying, “He is a betrayer of God’s law!”

Jesus would have been badly persecuted for misleading them from the path of God.

It was trouble either way…

But Jesus, the Lord of all wisdom and knowledge, found His way through the maze of human shrewdness by answering:
“Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mk 12: 17)

Jesus said that what is most important in life is one’s supreme allegiance to God!

Political demands, social commitments, familial duties, communitarian stipulations all have their place and position…

But above all, what needs to be given the prime importance in one’s life is: Allegiance to God!

We live in times and situations wherein there are many forces, philosophies and thought-patterns, that join hands in opposing the teachings of Jesus and the Church.

Jesus is still an enemy to many of the truth-denying realities in the world.
The Church is still opposed by many of the immoral entities of the world.

It is our duty to remain firm in our faith and render absolute allegiance to the Lord…
… in order to oppose and fight against such adverse and opposing factors in the world.

Even when it seems that the entire world is pulling against us…
… against our convictions and principles of life
… against our values and virtues of life

We are called to remain firm and determined, even it means undergoing some apparent falling back and setbacks!

We specially thank the Lord for the Gift of the month of May – and in particular to the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary…
…. And as we begin this new month of June, we offer ourselves specially to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Let us be bolstered by the Powerful Personality of Jesus, to be all determined and full of convictions…
… boldly encountering the “deadly traps” being laid before us by the forces of our times
… and with His Grace, remain, unscathed and uncompromising in presenting the full force of Jesus, the Truth!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS, THE LORD

By attributing to Jesus the Divine Title “Lord”, the first confessions of the Church’s faith affirm from the beginning…
… that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because “he was in the form of God”
… and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory.
From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ’s lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized…
… that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
“The Church believes that the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man’s history is to be found in its Lord and Master.”
Christian prayer is characterized by the title “Lord”…
… whether in the invitation to prayer (“The Lord be with you”)
… its conclusion (“through Christ our Lord”)
… or the exclamation full of trust and hope: Maranatha (“Our Lord, come!”)

… or Maranatha (“Come, Lord!”) – “Amen Come Lord Jesus (Cf. CCC # 449-451)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 31, 2021: Monday

“Allowing the Graces of God to be extended in humility and loving service to God and His people!”

(Based on the Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother Mary)

A little boy, who was reading the life story of St Joseph…
… came to his father and asked an innocent question: “Daddy, did not St Joseph accompany Mother Mary, when she went to visit Elizabeth?”

Daddy was pretty much surprised at this question…
… and had, in fact, never thought about it even!

Of course, he knew that the Gospels certainly do not mention about St Joseph accompanying Mary in her visitation.

But with a little deeper thought, he went on to tell his son, “Child, of course, the Gospels do not mention that St Joseph physically accompanied Mother Mary.

But your question has made me feel with a great certainty, that spiritually and mentally, St Joseph would have surely accompanied Mother Mary in that act of service and humility!”

In this Year of St Joseph, as we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, we reflect on this Great Feast, from the perspective of some of the virtues that are greatly celebrated in the life of St Joseph.

The Gospels present the powerful imagery of St Joseph, as being “a righteous man” and…
… one who willing to undergo any struggle in order to fulfil the Will of God

This excellent virtue propelled St Joseph to become “a person of humility and service”
… Being Humble: Before God
… Being in Service: To others

This Feast of the Visitation also celebrates these two great virtues in the life of our Blessed Mother.

Today, on the Feast Day, we contemplate through this beautiful incident on how…
… Blessed Mother Mary rendered Her life “in humility and service” to God and others – and thus allowed the graces of God to bloom within Her!

This Feast of the Visitation of our Blessed Mother has its origin in the medieval times.

It was observed by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its practice spread throughout the entire Church.
Previously it was celebrated on July 2….
… now it is celebrated on 31st May – between the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord ( Mar 25) and the Birth of St. John the Baptist (Jun 24) , in conformity with the Gospel accounts.

One of the interesting term used by St Luke in his description of this incident (Lk 1: 39-56) is the word “HASTE”.

St Luke says: “In those days, Mary arose and went with HASTE…..” (Lk 1: 39)

The Angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary and announced the Good News that She was to be the Mother of the “Son of the Most High” (Lk 1: 31)

Mary was “overshadowed by the Power of the Most High” (Lk 1: 35)
The Angel had also pointed to the mighty work that was done in the life of her cousin Elizabeth (Lk 1: 36)

The Annunciation became the turning point in the life of Mary!

She was no longer the same…
… The simple girl had been exalted and chosen to be the Mother of the Most High God!
… She would no longer be seeking to do her desires; She would seek to God’s Will at all times!
… Her life would no longer be carried by her plans; Her life would be impelled by what God wanted!

The Child in Her, would now make Her to be “always in haste”!
… In haste: to serve others
… In haste: to follow perfectly the Will of God
… In haste: to have Jesus as the centre of Her life

The Holy Spirit completely possessed the Virgin Daughter of Nazareth and impelled her to act.

The beautiful incident of the Visitation of Mother Mary teaches us this beautiful lesson:

When Christ grows inside of us, we will be in HASTE….
… to reach out to others in service
… to spare no efforts to get out of our own comfort zones of pleasure, relaxing and lethargy
… to forget one’s own needs and be totally other-centred and radiate joy and hope to others

Mother Mary becomes the “Woman on the move” – on a continual and constant journey:
… She would embark on an hard trip to Bethlehem, while pregnant (Lk 2:4)
… She would again move – after the birth of the Child – along with Joseph, and flee to Egypt (Mt 2:14)
… She would return back to Nazareth, under the instruction of the Angel of God (Mt 2:23)
… She would further travel to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast and there would go in search of Her Beloved Child, when He was lost (Lk 2: 45)
… She would be travelling with Jesus in His ministry – may not be physically, but Her Heart and Soul completely accompanying Her Son
… She would, finally, even accompany physically, with Her Innocent Child on the Way of the Cross (Jn 19: 25)

Mother Mary lived the words of the poem which centuries later would be formulated by another great Saint – St Francis of Assisi:
“It is in giving that we receive…
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life…”

The Feast of the Visitation is a reminder for us examine – along with Mother Mary and St Joseph – on some of the important aspects of our life…
… Am I a person allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me and take complete possession of me – my words, my thoughts, my actions?
… Am I a person, having Jesus in me, impelled to reach out to the other in service? As St Paul says: “The love of Christ impels me” (2 Cor 5:14)
… Am I a person, who is daring to be a “person on the move” – moving out of my safe comfortable zones, moving out of conditioned and prejudiced mindsets, moving out to make my life of praise and honour to God?

St Ambrose says: “Delayed efforts are foreign to the grace of the Holy Spirit”

Charity is never idle!

Charity is always on the move …
… Sensitive to the needy
… Seeking to do good

St Francis de Sales beautifully says: “It was the two virtues of charity and humility which motivated Mary, and made her leave her little Nazareth…
… for charity is never Idle

It burns in the hearts where it dwells and reigns, and the Most Blessed Virgin was full of it, because She bore Love Itself in Her Womb.
She made continual acts of love, not only for God…
… She also loved Her neighbour in a most perfect degree…”

Mother Mary and St Joseph remind us today, that the Graces of God in us ought not to get stagnant…
… instead they need to be extended in loving service to God and His people…

And thus our life should be a beautiful Magnificat that sings: “My Soul magnifies the Lord my God, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour!”

Happy Feast of our Blessed Mother Mary – the Mother Who moves us, constantly… towards Jesus!

Heavenly Intercessions of St Joseph, who also inspires us to live in humility and service!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
JESUS CHRIST – THE LORD

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the ineffable Hebrew name YHWH, by which God revealed himself to Moses, is rendered as Kyrios, “Lord”
From then on, “Lord” becomes the more usual name by which to indicate the divinity of Israel’s God.
The New Testament uses this full sense of the title “Lord” both for the Father and – what is new – for Jesus, who is thereby recognized as God Himself.
Jesus ascribes this title to himself in a veiled way when he disputes with the Pharisees about the meaning of Psalm 110…
… but also in an explicit way when he addresses his apostles.
Throughout his public life, he demonstrated his divine sovereignty by works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.
Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as “Lord”. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.
At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Lord” expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus.

In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: “My Lord and my God!” It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: “It is the Lord!” (Cf. CCC # 446-448)

REFLECTION CAPSULE – May 30, 2021: Sunday

“May the Blessed Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit- help us to grow in our intimacy and union, and in turn, help to reflect His image to all people in our lives!”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity)

A story is told of various fruits, coming together for a discussion.

The topic of discussion was to know the reason, why no other fruit, but the grape, contains juice, from which the best wines were made.

They also discussed from the Biblical perspective, as to how, the wine from the grape, is an important element in Sacred Scriptures.

“Her drink is famous throughout the world”, declared all the other fruits.

“Why is she more worthy, than we are, to be so blessed by God?” they asked one another.

A cluster of grapes, which were hanging nearby in the garden, heard the complaint and told them:
“All of you grow individually – each one to oneself and by oneself.

But we, grapes, always, grow in bunches.

We always hang on to each other.

That is our nature – that is the only way we can grow.

And it is this mutual dependence on one another, that puts something special into the wines that come forth from us!”

Mutual dependence, selfless unity and constant integration with one another, was their nature – and this brought the best in them.

These qualities, also ought to become the nature in our own families, communities and society – and that will bring out the best in us!

OUR GOD – FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT – THE BLESSED TRINITY is the Perfection of this Mutual Dependence, Selfless Unity and Constant Integration with one another!

Today, as we celebrate the Great Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, we are invited to grow into this nature of our God.

The Dogma of the Blessed Trinity is indeed the most fundamental, yet the most baffling and confusing mystery of the Christian Faith.

However, we are encouraged by a great truth about this mystery…

The mystery of the Trinity is more to be lived, than merely be understood
The mystery of the Trinity is more to be encountered, than merely be grasped
The mystery of the Trinity is more to be experienced, than merely be comprehended

This feast is celebrated on the Sunday, following the Feast of the Pentecost.

The encounter of the Holy Spirit, was a life-transforming experience for the Disciples.

It brought about a huge upliftment in courage for their sagging and fearful spirits.
It brought about a massive alteration of mind, to being bold and dynamic in their faith.

Along with this, it also brought in the tremendous experience of the Holy Spirit as a God!

This was something very new, strange and heart-experiential.

The disciples, as we know, were Jews.

Jews believed in strict monotheism – One God.

They professed this belief in One God, daily, by the ‘Shema Israel’: “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one God….” (Deut 6:4)

However, in Jesus, the disciples encountered a deep Divine experience.

On Pentecost Day, they also encountered a deep Divine experience in the Holy Spirit.

This tremendous experience, along with the grace of God, helped them to reflect on the many words and sayings of Jesus that pointed to the dimension of Three Persons in the One nature of God.

Thus, with gradual and deeper reflection on the words of the Lord, and the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples – strict monotheists – began to understand the mystery of God in a new light…

God is One
There are three Persons – the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God
The Father is not the Son and the Spirit; the Son is not the Father and the Spirit; the Spirit is not the Son and the Father.

This Triune invocation was the way the Lord exhorted to Baptize disciples in all the nations, as we see in the Gospel of the Day:
“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, in the name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT” (Mt 28: 19).

The Dogma of the Blessed Trinity has explanations, rationalization and details in the Holy Scripture and the Teachings of the Church.

However, with all that, the Dogma continues to remain a mystery…

And this is the beauty of the Mystery of the Triune God…
… It is something to grow in, daily
… It is something to develop a deeper relationship, daily
… It something to be lived and experienced in practical life, daily

As Evagrius of Pontus, a Greek monk of the 4th century said: “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If God could be grasped, God would not be God!”

This is our Blessed Triune God…
… He escapes being subjugated to the prisons of the mind; instead, invites to forge a powerful bond with the heart!
… He gets away from being trapped in the intriguing theological explanations and philosophical reasoning; instead calls forth to form an everlasting covenant of love!

Our whole world reflects the Triune nature of the Blessed Trinity…

Water exists in three forms – solid as ice, liquid as water, gaseous as steam
(In physics, it is also proved that theoretically, water exists as solid, liquid and gas at the same time at something called the triple point – a temperature of 0oC or 273.16 K and at a pressure of 611.2 Pa)

Sunlight displays a triune dimension – the substance of the sun, the heat, the light

The universe consists of three things: matter, space, and time.
(Each one of those is itself a trinity.
Matter = mass + energy + motion.
Space = length + height + breadth.
Time = past + present + future)

Human beings have a triple dimension, consisting of the body, the mind and the soul

The reflection of the Blessed Trinity is indeed everywhere!

The most important factor that is needed is that we need to grow in this awareness and deeper our love for Him!

The Lord presents this deep love of the Blessed Trinity, in perhaps, the most popular verse of the Gospels: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him, may not perish, but may have eternal life!” (Jn 3:16)

Are we willing to grow in cultivating an intimate and close bond with the Triune God – the God of Love and Holiness?

Are we willing to live the beautiful virtues of the Blessed Trinity – Mutual Dependence, Selfless Unity and Constant Integration – in our personal relationships with one another ?

Let us become greatly aware of the many invocations we make to the Blessed Trinity (Sign of the Cross, in our daily prayers etc)…
… and perform those actions with greater meaning and significance!

May the Blessed Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit- helps us to grow in our intimacy and union, and in turn, help to reflect His image to all people in our lives…
… and thus, bring the “best wine” in us all!

Happy Feast of the Blessed Trinity!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah’s Divine Sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood.
Jesus is superior even to the angels. He distinguished His Sonship from that of His disciples by never saying “our Father”, except to command them: “You, then, pray like this: ‘Our Father'”, and he emphasized this distinction, saying “my Father and your Father.”
The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his “beloved Son”.
Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God”, and by this title affirms His Eternal Pre-existence.
Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title “Son of God” its full meaning.
After his Resurrection, Jesus’ Divine Sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity.
He was “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”.

The apostles can confess: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Cf. CCC # 443-445)