✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 25, 2023: Wednesday

“Being ready to stick our lives into the ‘jar of God’s honey of love!’”

(Based on Acts 22:3-16 and Mk 16:15-18 – Feast of the Conversion of St Paul)

A little boy was returning home, with a jar of honey in his hand.

A gentleman, walking behind him, was constantly observing the boy…
… how very often, he would stick his finger inside the jar, and taste a little of the honey.

After noticing this quite a few times, he approached the boy and asked:
“Son, what do you have in that jar”

“Sweet Honey” said the boy

“Honey? Is it sweet?” enquired the man

“Yes Sir”

“How sweet is your honey?” asked the man again

“Very sweet Sir!”

“You are tasting this so often. So I want to know how much sweet is it?” the man enquired one more time

“Very sweet Sir!”

“Well, I don’t understand you!” continued the man, “I am asking you how sweet it is, and you are only saying, it is very sweet! I don’t understand you!”

Finally, the boy lost his patience, and sticking his finger into the honey, he said: “Taste and see for yourself!”

Quite true, isn’t it?

Any description of the sweetness of the honey would not suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

Today we celebrate the Feast of one such event of a person, who experienced the Sweetness of the Lord: The Conversion of St Paul.

When we look into the life of St Paul, there are several factors that we can meditate on, and learn from.

One of the very striking aspects is that of the Passion and Zeal of St Paul.

This passion was greatly reflected in all aspects of his life…
… in his preaching and his writings!
… in his dealing with the Gentiles and their cause of faith
… in his aggressiveness against anything that caused scandal and harm to the Church
… in his uncompromising attitude towards anything that endangered his relationship with the Lord!

Some of his writings in the letters reflect this aspect of Passion and Zeal:

“Woe to me, if I don’t preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16)
“I count everything as a loss for Christ…” (Phil 3:8)
“For me to live is to Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21)
“My preaching… was a demonstration of the Spirit and power” ( 1 Cor 2:4)

We need to ask ourselves:

Is my Christian life, filled with passion and zeal?
Do I burn with love for God and His Kingdom?
Does the Lord and His Will come first, in my life?

It’s easy to remain on the “theoretical” dimension of Christian life!

We can very often have only discussions and deliberations about faith
… but not real prayer or living in the Spirit

We can many times have talks being heard or books being read on Christian life
… but not necessarily living the Christian life of virtues and a Sacramental Life

We can sometimes enter into doubts about Christianity, to “know more”…
… but not necessarily growing in our relationship with the Lord or loving Him more

The Feast of the Conversion of St Paul is a mighty reminder to all of us…
… to live our Christian lives “passionately and zealously!”

Yes, just as any description of the sweetness of honey would not suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

So it is with the Lord!

The sweetness of the Lord, however described by others cannot suffice…
… unless one actually experiences it!

St Paul experienced the “sweetness of the Lord”…
… and he gave his life for the Lord – in passion and in zeal.

What about us?

Are we ready to stick our lives into the “jar of God’s honey of love?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – A SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointings of the sick with blessed oil.
Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death. >> Because of this it received the name “Extreme Unction.”

Notwithstanding this evolution, the liturgy has never failed to beg the Lord that the sick person may recover his health, if it would be conducive to his salvation. (CCC #1512)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 24, 2023: Tuesday

“Holding firm in doing the Will of the Lord and thus being assured of His Presence with us, always!”

(Based on Heb 10:1-10 and Mk 3:31-35– Tuesday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1 – Feast of St Francis de Sales)

Three different incidents are a told of a person, who was known to struggle with impatience, anger and exasperation…
… yet would deal with it, with a lot of maturity and patience.

The first incident is of stray man who walked through the streets, and was trying to ‘do him in’ – trying to harm the person.
This person however, would tell him:
“I am told you wish me harm. I can promise you that even if you had put out one of my eyes, I would still look kindly upon you with the other!”

The second incident is when he would be insulted by a certain high official and he was asked, why he did not lose his temper. He would admit and say:
“At that time and many other times, I was seething with anger like water in a pot, boiling over the fire; but that by the Grace of God, even if the violent efforts to resist such passion endangered my life…
… I would not let myself go!”

The third incident would be when the person would be instigated to lose temper and to speak badly to a young man. This would be his reaction to the same:
“What did you want me to do in the matter?
… I did what I could to arm myself with an anger that was not sinful. I took my heart in my two hands, but I did not have the courage to dress him down.

To tell you the truth, I was afraid of losing in a quarter of an hour this little bit of liquid of gentleness…
… which I have attempted to gather for twenty-two years, drop by drop like dew in the vessel of my puny heart!”

All these three incidents would be occasions when a person – like any of us – in the normal circumstance would have got angry and lost patience.

However, this person, with the Grace of God remained calm and composed.

He was willing to “live in holiness and sanctity”…
… and to always seek and go God’s Will.

This person is St Francis de Sales – known as the Gentleman Saint…
… whose feast is celebrated on January 24th.

His life is a great inspiration to all of us…
… as he would allow himself to be moulded by the Grace of God
… and with honest efforts, would grow in virtue and holiness.

He allowed the Mighty Presence of the Lord to “take possession of his heart” and was willing to “let go of everything” that prevented him from being a disciple of Christ!

What about our Christian Life?

Is it centered on seeking and doing the Will of God, at every moment, in every situation?

The Gospel of the Day is a narrative of Jesus displaying His conviction and commitment on the most vital dimension of the Kingdom of God: Doing God’s Will.

Jesus was in the thick of His ministry.

The place was packed with people sitting on the floor, in the passage-way, around the doors and windows, craving to listen to what Jesus was speaking.

It’s at that time that His family members arrived.

His family couldn’t get through to Him

So they send a message in, and it passed from one person to person: “Tell him that his mother and brothers are outside looking for him” (Mk 3: 32)

The message finally reached Jesus.

It is interesting to consider the feelings and reactions of the different persons…

The family of Jesus…
….were eager and concerned to get the Lord back home
… were wanting to meet Him and if possible to give Him a break in His ministry

The crowd around Jesus…
… were understandable that the family of the Lord are keen to meet Him
… were expecting Jesus to stop His preaching, to accommodate meeting His kith and kin

It is in such critical moments and crucial situations…
… that the Lord loves to make use, to put across a message…
… that the Lord loves to thrive on, to send forth a teaching…

Jesus uses the arrival of His physical family as an opportunity to teach about His relationship with His spiritual family.

What is most needed…
… is not human relationships
… is not human affairs

Rather, spiritual relations and spiritual affairs!

Jesus brings to focus the importance…
… to seek and do God’s Will
… to become related in the Kingdom.

What is our attitude and mentality…

Am I concerned more with worldly affairs or do I engage myself more into spiritual realities?

Am I obsessed more with worldly gains or do I be zealous for spiritual graces and blessings?

Very often we lose our focus…

Very often we lose sight of the proper track…

The Lord, today, brings back the “spotlight” on the essentials of a Christian Life.

Christian life sometimes gets diluted with too many “social” concerns…
… at the expense of spiritual realities.

Christian life sometimes gets polluted with too many “interdisciplinary” matters…
… at the expense of true faith and teachings.

Christian life sometimes gets ruined with too many “compromising” practices…
… at the expense of Gospel values and standards.

St Francis de Sales, the Doctor of Love, the Gentleman Saint…
… in His book – The Introduction to the Devout Life (a book recommended for all, especially those in family life) clearly enunciates simple and practical tips of how one can grow in devotion and holiness…
… by constantly remaining in the presence of God
… by continually doing the Will of God

Undoubtedly, in doing the Will of God, we will have to…
… we will have to face moments of loneliness, ‘cos we will find ourselves, swimming against the currents of the world

… we will have to encounter hardships and rejections, ‘cos we would become a subject of calumny and mockery, as others may oppose us

… we will have to go through situations of darkness, ‘cos we would find it hard to even have clarity in our life of faith

But in all such situations, the Lord assures us, with the 5 beautiful words: I WILL BE WITH YOU!

When we cherish to be in the Presence of the Lord, strength and courage is bestowed on us!

When we delight to dwell in the Presence of the Lord, power and grace is favoured on us!

As St Francis de Sales teaches us:
“Do everything calmly and peacefully.
Strive to see God in all things without exception, and consent to His will joyously.

Do everything for God, uniting yourself to him in word and deed.”

Let us “seek and do God’s Will” at all times and thus “soar in the skies of sanctity”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – A SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick:
This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament.

It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord. (CCC #1511)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 23, 2023: Monday

“Having true spiritual growth and nourishment by pursuing credibility and authenticity!”

(Based on Heb 9:15, 24-28 and Mk 3:22-30 – Monday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

Michelangelo has been one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen.

His notable works of “Pieta”, “David”, “Moses”, “The Last Judgment” have been unparalleled in their beauty and perfection.

Another of his fantastic work has been the Frescoes on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling (in the Vatican)

It is said that as this great artist painted the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel – lying on his back for endless hours to finish every detail with great care…
… A friend asked him why he took such pains with figures that would be viewed from a considerable distance.

“After all,” the friend said, “Who will notice whether it is perfect or not?”

The artist who was known for his perfection at all works replied…
… “I will!”

The motivation for perfection in all things, for Michelangelo, was not from outside…
… it was a based on his conviction that he should be “credible and authentic” in all what he does.

Our spiritual life also follows a similar principle: When credibility and authenticity are lacking in a spiritual endeavour, there is very less spiritual growth and nourishment!

It is credibility and authenticity that helps to gain spiritual progress and advancements!

The Gospel of the Day is an exhibition of how true integrity and authority can work tremendous wonders, conversions of heart and transformations of life…
… and how it can also cause some people to “oppose credibility and authenticity” by engaging in calumny and character-assassination!

The Gospel of the Day begins with the statement that…
… “the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul and by the prince of demons , He casts out the demons” (Mk 3:22)

One of the reasons why the Scribes were irked by the personality of Jesus was because of the tremendous authority that was displayed by Jesus!
Yes, the amazing factor in the ministry of Jesus was His tremendous authority!

The wondrous aspect in the ministry of Jesus was His awesome integrity!

Elsewhere, in the Gospel of St Mark, we read…

The people “were astonished at his teaching, for He taught as one who had authority…” (Mk 1:22)
“… they were all amazed so that they questioned among themselves…. ‘…with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him” ( Mk 1: 27)

This authority and integrity came…
… through His deep union with His Heavenly Father.
… through His faithfulness to the commands of His heavenly Father
… through His undivided devotion to His Heavenly Father

How authentic, credible and integral are we in our life…
… as a Christian?
… in the family?
… as a consecrated person?

Authenticity does not mean arrogance…

Credibility does not mean over-confidence…

Integrity does not mean super-importance…

Authenticity, credibility and integrity in the Lord means…
… filled with the power and strength of God’s Spirit
… imbued with a deep passion for the Lord and His Church
… living an honest lifestyle in accordance to God’s Will and teachings

The Gospel of the Day calls us to check and examine…
… is my prayer life and devotion truly authentic and credible?
… is my preaching and spreading of God’s Word filled with His Holy Spirit?
… is my reception of the Sacraments helping me to make an honest effort to be a true Christian?

Let our prayers become a true raising of hearts to God…

Let the receiving of the Sacraments become an honest transformation for life…

Let the spreading of God’s Word become a credible witness to God’s Kingdom….

Jesus is our model and example to be true and honest in life!

Jesus is our ideal and standard to be faithful and committed to our mission!

Let the motivation in seeking for perfection in all things, be based not from outside…
… rather let it be based on the conviction that we should be “credible and authentic” in all what we do!

May our spiritual life follows the principle: Only when credibility and authenticity are pursued, we can have true spiritual growth and nourishment!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – CHRIST THE PHYSICIAN

However, the apostolic Church has its own rite for the sick, attested to by St. James:
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [presbyters] of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

Tradition has recognized in this rite one of the seven sacraments. (CCC #1510)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 21, 2023: Saturday

“Living with deep conviction and trust in the power of the Lord!”

(Based on Heb 9:2-3, 11-14 and Mk 3:20-21 – Saturday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

It was a tense afternoon in the September of the year 1594.

The Bishop of Geneva in France, had convoked a meeting of all his clergy.

There was an urgent need for priests to go to a place named Chablais.

Chablais was a territory in Geneva, which had been under political and religious siege.

Around fifty priests in this place had been banished.
Many churches had been burnt and devastated.

Chablais had become a place of terror for the Catholic Church.

This city became infamous for its terrible persecution of the Catholic Faith.

In this horrifying situation, the Bishop of the place had called for a meeting…
… to ask for volunteers to go to this place and renew the faith.

But none came forward…

None were willing to risk their lives…

It’s at this point, that there came a gentle yet firm voice:
“My Lord, if you think that I am capable of it, command me, I am ready!”

The voice was of St Francis de Sales.

His own father considered this decision as “utter madness”

Perhaps, the other priests and clergy would have also felt this decision as a “crazy one”

The risk of being driven out, failing in his undertaking and of becoming a laughing stock of the world was great indeed.

But St Francis de Sales stood firm to His decision.

It was a decision which perhaps…
… defied reasons
… seemed out of senses…

But this decision was to become the turning point of a spiritual revolution!

The one who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!

The one who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!
Mad for one’s aim
… obsessed in love
… passionate about one’s goals!

The Gospel of the Day is also a narrative of the “Mad and Insane” Jesus!

St Mark’s Gospel is pretty straightforward – to the point and blunt in its nature.

The Lord was out to preach and proclaim the Kingdom of Love and Mercy…

Broken lives were mended by the balm of His Holiness
Ruined minds were revived by the power of His teachings
Shattered destinies were made whole by the cure of His touch
Hardened hearts were touched by the softness of His presence
Ruptured consciences were restored by the gentleness of His love

The crowd following had increased
… the popularity ratings had soared!

This however causes a great disturbance and distress in the family of Jesus…
“Again the crowds gathered, making it impossible for them, even to eat.

When His relatives heard of this, they set out to seize Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind’ ” (Mk 3: 20-21)

Jesus was labelled as being “out of mind!”

Jesus was tagged as being “insane and mad”
Jesus was branded as being “crazy and odd”

The one who is filled with God’s love is indeed an obsessed person!

The one who has eyes fixed on one’s goals is indeed a mad person!
Obsessed in love
… mad for one’s aim
… passionate about one’s goals!

And Jesus was indeed passionate and highly zealous for His mission…

So much so, that even His own relatives misunderstood and mistook Him.

The Bible and the Church is a gigantic collection of deeds and acts of such people who were “mad” and who took “crazy” decisions in life…

Abraham was “crazy” to have faith in God, to have children, even at the ripe old age of hundred!
Moses was “mad” to trust God to lead a tiny nation from the clutches of the imposing Egyptian empire!
Mother Mary was “crazy” to give up her promising life and instead consent to an Angel to become the Mother of God!
St Peter was “mad” to abandon his career and family to follow Jesus for a ministry of unknown and uncertain future!
St Paul was “crazy” to undergo tremendous sufferings and agonizing troubles for the sake of the spread of the Gospel!
St Francis De Sales was “crazy” and “mad” to undertake risk of going to the Chablais mission and renew the faith of the people!

When one is really passionate towards one’s mission, there is an element of “craziness!”

When one is really zealous about one’s purposes, there is an element of “madness”!

Do I have and reflect this “mad” passion and zeal for God’s love?
… by seeking Him in all our works, activities and plans
… by reaching out His love to the needy and the disadvantaged
… by spreading hope, courage and optimism in this broken world

Let us dare to walk and live the path of the Crucified Lord…
… the One who was called mad and insane
… the One who was misunderstood and unaccepted

Because He chose to live and die for His convictions of Love!

Let us not be worried, let us not be anxious
… but trust in our Loving God!

In the words of St Francis De Sales, whose feast we celebrate on the 24th of January:
“God takes pleasure to see you take your little steps; and like a good father who holds his child by the hand, He will accommodate His steps to yours and will be content to go no faster than you.

Why do you worry?”

We seek today also the intercession of St Agnes of Rome – the thirteen year old girl – who offered her life in martyrdom to the Lord, on her Feast Day

She knew the worth of her life consisted in the fact that she was deeply loved by the Lord…
… and that her faithfulness to the consecration to the Lord was her strength

And so with deep conviction, she would exclaim:
“You may stain your sword with my blood…
… but you will never profane my body that I have consecrated to Christ.”

“Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue…
… I belong to Him whom the angels serve!”

May the life and words of St Agnes inspire us, as we seek to grow in our “spirituality of living in love – with gentleness and kindness!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – HEAL THE SICK

The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord.
But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses.

Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church. (CCC #1508)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 20, 2023: Friday

“Knowing that the waters of gentleness and kindness always find a way to seep through the rocky terrains of tough situations of life!”

(Based on Heb 8:6-13 and Mk 3:13-19 – Friday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A hostel warden had fallen into the disagreeable habit of yelling at the boys who were in his charge.

He thought this necessary in order to maintain his authority

Once, he was confined to bed for a week with severe laryngitis (inflammation of the vocal cords)

He could not speak above a whisper…
… and had to run the affairs of the hostel from his bed.

“Do you know,” he confessed afterwards, “I found that the children were far more well-behaved and good-natured when I could only speak to them in a whisper…
… than when I used to shout at them!”

The waters of gentleness and kindness always find a way to seep through the rocky terrains of tough situations of life!

And it is God’s Mighty Love that causes us to act with gentleness and kindness…
… and “to repay evil not with evil, but to do good to people!”

The Gospel of the Day (Mk 3:13-19) presents Jesus Who moves about with His Ministry of “failing to stop in the face of evil, and continuing to do good!”

Jesus, in the midst of a ministry, of people rejecting him, and failing to accept His words…
… refuses to give in to failure or to stop doing the good.

Instead, “He responds to evil, by doing good” and establishes a band of twelve chosen ones…
… who were to join Him and continue His Noble Mission of “doing good, even in the face of evil!”

The twelve disciples who are chosen (Mk 3:13-19) would be schooled in the Discipleship of the Lord…
… to “leave everything and adopt the Divine Strategy of ‘doing good, even in the face of evil’”

We are invited to grow into Christians who display the Love and Mercy of God to people…
… by a life of gentleness and patience!

We are often placed in situations which are hostile, antogonising and even depressive

How do we respond in such situations?
Can we still hold aloft the light of faith?

Jesus, remarkably responds to hostile and antagonistic situations in His Ministry…
… by establishing a “group of people who would be invited to become agents of the Lord’s Mercy and Compassion!”

Let us always remember that the waters of gentleness and kindness always find a way to seep through the rocky terrains of tough situations of life!

And it is God’s Mighty Love that causes us to act with gentleness and kindness…
… and “to repay evil not with evil, but to do good to people!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – HEAL THE SICK

The risen Lord renews this mission (“In my name… they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
And confirms it through the signs that the Church performs by invoking his name.

These signs demonstrate in a special way that Jesus is truly “God who saves.” (CCC #1507)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 19, 2023: Thursday

“Becoming a magnetic Presence of the Lord to others by being touched by His Love!”

(Based on Heb 7:25-8:6 and Mk 3:7-12 – Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A magnet is an object made of certain materials which creates a magnetic field around itself.

This magnetic field causes objects of certain properties to attract to itself…

The closer the objects are to the magnet, the stronger they are pulled to the attracting force.

Another interesting thing is that…
… objects attached to the magnet, over a certain period of time, themselves become magnetized
… and are able to attract other things to itself.

The Gospel of the Day is a wonderful exhibition of this Magnetic Presence of Jesus!

St Mark beautifully presents this attractive power of the Lord through the words:
“A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.

Hearing what He was doing, a large number of people came to Him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan and from the neighbourhood of Tyre and Sidon” (Mk 3: 7-8)

The popularity of the Lord was spreading far and wide…

His power over sin had many to look up to Him…
His authoritative teaching was astonishing to many…
His dominance over evil spirits was awe-inspiring for many…
His amazing healing power had caused a stir among people…

Like a magnet, the Lord was attracting many to Himself!

Like a magnet, the Lord was pulling variety of people to Himself!

The magnetic and charming power of the Lord attracts us too..
… but are we remain willing to get attracted to this amazing force?

The Living Presence of the Lord in our midst is in the Holy Eucharist.

The Holy Eucharist is the powerful magnet that can pull and attract many!

The tragedy in our life is that very often, this “magnetic” Eucharistic presence remains abandoned and forsaken!

It’s a pity that the Living Lord is hardly visited in the Blessed Sacrament!

Chapels and Churches often remain empty and forlorn…
Very few to visit Jesus in the Eucharist!
Hardly any say ‘Hello’ to the Lord in the Eucharist!

We sometimes are reducing ourselves to a generation seeking only after mighty wonders!

We sometimes are making ourselves to be a people wanting only fascinating miracles!
We sometimes are forming ourselves to be ones who are attracted only to external sensations!

But the Eucharist – the greatest wonder and miracle of the world often remains unnoticed!

There is nothing more sublime in this world than the Holy Eucharistic Presence!

There is nothing more beautiful than moments spent before the Eucharistic Lord!
There is nothing more awesome than an experience of love in the Holy Eucharist!

Am I ready to get attracted and charmed by this magnetic presence of the Holy Eucharist?

The Lord waits for us
… every moment
… every day!

The Lord seeks for us
… every second
… every hour!

We may have different excuses to evade and avoid time before His presence…

Maybe too many works and occupations…
Maybe a feeling that it is too dry and boring to be with Him…
Maybe an attitude that social works suffice and go beyond all such pious devotions…

But no excuse and no theory can give justification to miss the Presence of the Lord!

He is the magnet who can infuse us with power and strength!

The closer we are, the more attracted we be!
The more we remain with Him, the more we become like Him!

May the Magnetic Power of the Holy Eucharist be sought more!

May the Magnetic Love of the Holy Eucharist be longed more!

And may, we, in turn, become a magnetic Presence of the Lord to others!
… Seeking the Eucharist, to be a Eucharist to the other!
… Loving the Eucharist, to break and share oneself to the other!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – HEAL THE SICK

Christ invites his disciples to follow him by taking up their cross in their turn.
By following him they acquire a new outlook on illness and the sick.
Jesus associates them with his own life of poverty and service.
He makes them share in his ministry of compassion and healing:

“So they went out and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them. (CCC #1506)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 18, 2023: Wednesday

“Being inspired by Jesus, the ‘Lion’ to instil in us the urgency to take necessary good actions in our life!”

(Based on Heb 7:1-3, 15-17 and Mk 3:1-6 – Wednesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A beautiful Turkish proverb goes thus:
“A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man!”

This quote is a beautiful reminder to every person to understand the inherent power and capability within every person!

It is this power that can help a person to face every situation of fear…
… FEAR, of course is nothing but, “False Evidence Appearing Real” (F.E.A.R.)

Jesus in His early ministry demonstrated His brave and bold presence by displaying Himself as the Powerful Lion of Judah.

Today the Lion, associated with Mark’s Gospel is set to “roar!”

Yes, Jesus, the Marcan Lion is out to “roar” in the Synagogue!

It’s another Sabbath day…
And Jesus is in the synagogue where there is a man who has a withered hand.

St Mark is particular to mention that the Pharisees were watching him keenly, to observe what Jesus, the healer would do (Mk 3:2)

They did not look, to praise God… they observed in order to pinpoint faults!
They did not seek, to glorify God’s name…they scrutinized in order to defame the Lord!

What a pity when religious leaders become only harsh law-enforcing personnel and fail to administer compassion and love!

What a pity when protectors of the law become too rigid and stubborn to keep the rules that they become perpetuators of a perpetual hypocrisy!

As the Pharisees keep watching what He is going to do, Jesus throws the ball in their court.

The Lord knows the secrets of human hearts!
The Lord gauges the depths of human hypocrisy!

And so Jesus, the Marcan Lion roars and asks, ” Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” ( Mk 3:4)

A basic and a fundamental question was staring on the faces of the Pharisees…

They were people…
… who were staunch to uphold the laws and the rules.
… who would strive to maintain faithfulness to the minutest regulations
… who would raise their voice at any violation of God’s commandments.

Was it love that drove them to do God’s commandments?
Was it pure motives that made them to be zealous for God’s law?
Was it a striving for God’s glory that impelled them to be strict keepers of the rules?

Here was a moment for them to express their intention behind all these things…

Here was a chance to tell the world what was their aim in doing all the obligations…

“But they remained silent” (Mk 3:4b)

What an anti-climax it turned out to be!

They gave the worst possible reply to the life-convicting question: Silence!
It was a deafening silence that was brutally wounding and viciously hurting!

It was a booming silence of their cruel disapproval of Jesus’ healing ministry!
It was a crashing silence exposing their wickedness of heart and duplicity of minds!

And so Jesus, the Lion roars…
“Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of hearts…” (Mk 3:5)

The inhuman silence of the Pharisees provokes Jesus, the Lion to anger!

The hypocritical hush of the Pharisees instigates Jesus, the Lion to fury!
The dreadful stillness of the Pharisees wounds Jesus, the Lion to grief!

How many of us are similar to this attitude of the Pharisees….?

We see people withered in misery and abjection…

And we assume a dignified silence of inaction and apathy!

We see others withered in sinful situations and evil circumstances…

And we take refuge in a silence of not doing anything to help them, come out of this condition!

We see families, societies and communities withering in disunity and discord…

And we maintain a “clean-image” of silence, instead of doing the unpleasant task of unifying!

We see ourselves withered in corrupt inclinations and errant behaviour…

And we uphold a silence of indifference and lethargy and avoid reformation and renewal!

But the Lord, the great Lion, roars in all such “unfair and debasing” moments of silence!
It angers Him…
It grieves Him…
It provokes Him…
It pains Him…

At the same time, we realise that Jesus – the Lion of Judah – Who “roars” fiercely…
… is also the Gentle Lamb who sacrificed His life for our transformation, renewal and reformation!

ROOARRR!!

The Lion of Judah is “roaring” for a positive and active response from us….
… for a change in our attitude and mentality!
… for a radical transformation in our misery of indifference!

Let the “roar” of Jesus, the Lion instil in us the urgency to take necessary good actions in our life.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – CHRIST THE PHYSICIAN

Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows Himself to be touched by the sick, but He makes their miseries His own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

But He did not heal all the sick.
His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God.
They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover.
On the cross, Christ took upon Himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,” of which illness is only a consequence.

By His passion and death on the cross, Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to Him and unite us with His redemptive Passion. (CCC #1505)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 17, 2023: Tuesday

“Drawing our light from Jesus, the Sun of our Life, irrespective of the circumstances and situations of life!”

(Based on Heb 6:10-20 and Mk 2:23-28 – Tuesday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A common story is told of a judge who had been frequently ridiculed by an arrogant lawyer.

When asked by a friend why he didn’t rebuke his assailant, the judge replied:
“In our town lives a widow who has a dog.

Whenever the moon shines, it goes outside and barks all night.”

Having said that, the magistrate shifted the conversation to another subject.

After sometime, someone asked, “But Judge, you did not complete saying about the dog and the moon…
… What happened thereafter?”

“Oh,” the judge quipped, “the moon went on shining—that’s all.”

In life, we often face situations when criticisms are thrown at us…
… and we come under the scanner of “people’s unfair observations and judgments!”

What is our attitude to such situations of life?

Do we react negatively and thus lose our peace of mind…
… or do we remain firm and patient – trusting in God’s Protection – and being convinced of standing for the truth?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus and His disciples coming under the “observant scanner of the Pharisees and the Scribes”…
… and Jesus responding to the situation with conviction in the Truth!

Jesus and His disciples were walking through a field of grain on the Sabbath.

The disciples were hungry and decided to pluck some of the grain. (Mk 2: 23)

The OT law of keeping of the Sabbath in no way prohibited picking a handful of grain to satisfy one’s immediate hunger

In Dt 23:25, God makes a wonderful provision for travellers:
“When you enter your neighbour’s standing grain, then you may pluck the head with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle in your neighbour’s standing grain”

The traditional law however added many rules and regulations.

These traditions were rigid concerning Sabbath observance.

The Talmud – the book of Jewish traditions – has 24 chapters listing various Sabbath laws.

A rabbi would sometimes spend 21/2 years studying one chapter to figure out all the details.

The safe guarders and protectors of these scrupulous laws were the Scribes and the Pharisees.

And today they are out, to catch hold of Jesus and His disciples.

Their detective eyes are keen to observe the mistakes committed by them.

Their probing eyes are on the look out to get hold of their Sabbath breakages!

Do I sometimes adopt this tendency of the Pharisees and the Scribes…

Being on the constant look out for mistakes of others…
Watching others behaviours to probe faults and failures in them…

It’s interesting that the Scribes and the Pharisees failed to see that they also broke the Sabbath Law!

The Pharisees were following Jesus and His disciples….

This meant walking beyond the stipulated steps prescribed by the Sabbath Law!
But, they conveniently avoid in mentioning this!

They self-justified themselves but accused others of guilt!

They self-approved themselves but blamed others of faults!

Am I a person prone to only find faults and negativity in situations and in others…
… or can I make constructive criticisms and also be a person who genuinely appreciates?

Am I a person constantly bickering about what is lacking and missing in my life…
… or can I rather be a person who is delightful and content with all what God has blessed me?

Am I person who magnifies the weaknesses of others and defames others character…
… or can I be a person who understands others and encourages them to be stronger?

It’s human to chance upon the weaknesses of others…

It’s Divine to accept, understand and encourage them to be better instead!

It’s human to always look into the negative dimensions in a person…

It’s Divine to have a magnanimous heart to look to positives in life!

Life and situations may often go on “barking criticisms” at us…

Let us continue to shine as the moon…
… drawing our light from Jesus, the Sun of our Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – CHRIST THE PHYSICIAN

Often Jesus asks the sick to believe.
He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing.
The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from him and healed them all.”

And so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us. (CCC #1504)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 16, 2023: Monday

“Trusting that our Divine Master knows what is best for us, and thus obeying His commands to enter into newness of life!”

(Based on Heb 5:1-10 and Mk 2:18-22 – Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

A popular legend is told of a certain king who needed a faithful servant.

Two men were candidates for the office.

The king took both at fixed wages, and his first order was to fill a cane basket with water from a neighbouring well…
… saying that he would come in the evening and see their work.

After putting in one or two basketfuls, one man said:
“What is the good of doing this useless work?
As soon as we put the water in one side, it runs out the other.”

The other however, answered:
“But we have our wages, haven’t we?

The use is the master’s business, not ours.”

“I am not going to do such fool’s work,” replied the other.
Throwing down his basket, he went away.

The other man continued until he had exhausted the well.

Looking down into it he saw something shining – a diamond ring.
“Now I see the use of pouring water into a basket,” he cried, “If the basket had brought up the ring before the well was emptied, it would have been found in the basket.

Our work was not useless!”

The obedient servant understood the importance of trusting in the word of the master…
… and he would reap the benefits of gaining the approval of the master!

Christians must realise that their Divine Master knows what is best, and obey His commands…
… and in due time, they will know and understand the worth of the Master’s Word!

It is this trust and confidence that makes one to “enter in the newness of the Lord!”

The Gospel of the day is an invitation to “enter the new”
… by letting go of things of the past which block us from receiving God’s Grace
… by being open to the ways of the Lord and being docile to His Spirit.

In the Gospel, we have the Pharisees and the Scribes who question Jesus on the aspect of fasting (Mk 2:18-22)

The Pharisees and Scribes were stuck on following their own ways of understanding the ways of God…
… and failed to have an openness and docility to the Will of God!

This “closed mentality” caused them not to accept the teachings of Christ…
This “closed mentality” prevented them from experiencing the Salvific Love and Mercy of the Lord!

They felt that they “knew better”…
… and thus, failed to accept the Words of the Lord!

We are all called to have an “openness and docility” to the Word of the Lord.

When we are open to the Lord, “the old gets transformed and the new is ushered in!”

This is what the Lord puts proposes by the examples of the old & new cloak and the old & new wine

He uses two examples that would have been readily understood by his listeners:

No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. (Mk 1:21)
No one pours new wine into old wineskin (Mk 1: 22)

Each of us are invited to allow the “New Wine of God’s Word” to be filled in the “new wineskin of our minds – in obedience and openness!”

We are also warned to not try to patch up the “old garment of our disobedience” with the “new garment of God’s Commandments and Instructions!”

We are to remember that, “failure to obey the words and commands of the Lord will lead to our downfall!”

Let us always trust that our Divine Master knows what is best…
… and thus obeying His commands, may we be blessed to discover the “shining ring” of God’s Love!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – CHRIST THE PHYSICIAN

Christ’s compassion toward the sick and His many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand.
Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins…
… He has come to heal the whole man, soul and body
… He is the physician the sick have need of.1
His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that He identifies Himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.”
His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul.

It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them. (CCC #1503)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Jan 15, 2023: Sunday

“Listening to God’s Will; living a Life of Holiness; letting the light of His Love to shine”

(Based on Is 49:3, 5-6, 1 Cor 1:1-3 and Jn 1:29-34 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

Six-year-old Johny made a trip to some European countries with his parents.

On returning back to the Catechism classes, his teacher asked him about his experiences.

And Johny said, “I loved all the churches in Europe – they are so many and they are so beautiful!
They have so many glass paintings on the windows of these bog churches of many saints!”

On hearing the word, “Saint”, the teacher asked Johny: “So tell me, who is a saint?”

And Johny, recollecting those glass paintings on the Church windows said:
“A saint is someone, who allows the Light of the Lord to pass through!”

That’s a beautiful description of a Saint, isn’t it?

One who allows the Light of the Lord to pass through!

The Liturgy of the Day invites each of us to allow the Light of the Lord to pass through…
… and become a light – a witness – of God’s Love to the world!

The First Reading (Is 49:3, 5-6) is one of the Four Servant Songs in the Book of Isaiah, about Jesus, the Messiah. (The other three – Is 42:1-9, 50:4-9, 52:13-53:12).

The Servant is named Israel (Is 49:3)

And elsewhere, the nation of Israel, is called the servant of the Lord (Is 41:8-9, 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 48:20).

But Israel failed in its vocation.

This title of the “Servant of the Lord” is, however, faithfully lived by Jesus…
… who is shown to be the one faithful Israelite (Mt 12:15-21, Phil 2:6-8).

This title is later also given to those who make up God’s reconstituted Israel – all those who follow Jesus!

Each of us is thus invited to be “the light to the nations, that His Salvation may reach to the ends of the earth!” (Cf. Is 49:6)

St Paul beautifully shows this way to be the light to the nations: By doing His Will and living a Holy Life!

St Paul understood the depth of his vocation by identifying himself with the Will of God…
… “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…” (1 Cor 1:1)
He also invites the people of Corinthians to live a sanctified life…
… “to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” (1 Cor 1:2)

When we do the Will of God in our lives and live a holy life, we allow God’s light to shine through us

When doing what God wants becomes the first priority for us, we become His Authentic Witnesses!

This is what we find St John the Baptist doing in the Gospel: Following the Will of God, he takes up this mission and duty of “being a light – a witness!”

“The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” (Jn 1:29-30)

Jesus would later testify to this fact when He tells about John the Baptist:
“He was a burning and shining lamp…” (Jn 5:35)

Our Christian lives are to be lived…
… by seeking and doing God’s Will!
… by living a holy life!

It is this transparency and openness to the Will of God that will help us to allow the Light of the Lord to pass through…
… and become a light – a witness – of God’s Love to the world!

May our prayer be, like the words of that beautiful hymn to our Blessed Mother:
“Mamma Mary, help me be open
To let the Light shine through me

Mamma Mary, teach me obedience,
Make me transparent like You!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK – ITS FOUNDATIONS IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION

The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God.
It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing.
Illness becomes a way to conversion; God’s forgiveness initiates the healing.
It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: “For I am the Lord, your healer.”
The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others.

Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness. (CCC #1502)