✝ REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 30, 2023: Tuesday

“Being ready to grow deeper in the awareness that God is always having a hold of me!”

(Based on Sir 35:1-12 and Mk 10:28-31 – Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1)

One day a person who was going through much spiritual and mental perplexity called up his friend.

He knew that his friend was able to remain sturdy and confident, even in the midst of troubles of life.

And so he desired to learn from him this secret to stay calm

“Tell me,” the anxious friend asked over the phone, “how is it that you can trust God so easily? How is it that you always got hold of God?”

For some time, the person was silent.

And then, taking a deep sigh, he replied, “It surely did take me a while to know and learn this.

But let me be honest with you.

Even now I have my moments when I don’t know if I have got hold of God…
… but one thing I have learnt over the years: ‘God always has a hold of me!”

It was this assurance that God was always holding him…
… that allowed this person to remain calm and confident in his journey of life.

Are we ready to grow deeper in this fact: That God is always having a hold of me…
… and this assurance that translates to a life of trust and confidence!

Our lives in the Lord, is a spiritual journey…

The greater assurance we have in the promises of the Lord, the more pleasant will be our journey

The stronger our assurances in the Word of the Lord, the swifter will be our progress in this journey towards the Lord

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus declaring His assured promises to those who follow Him, sincerely and wholeheartedly.

Jesus tells to Peter and the other disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age…
… and eternal life in the age to come” (Mk 10: 29)

This incident takes place right after the encounter of the rich young man with Jesus (Mk 10: 17-22)

This man was proposed by Jesus to sell all his possessions and then follow Him.

The man, however, found it hard, to let go off his attachments, and instead let go of the Lord.

He went away sad!

Peter, as the leader of the disciples, however, contrasts this “possessive and worldly” tendency of the rich young man by telling Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you” (Mk 10: 28)

Perhaps, there was a growing concern among the disciples, as to whether their radical decision to commit themselves to the Master would go in vain!

Perhaps, there was an apparent fear within the disciples, as to whether their decisions to leave their professions, their families and their aspirations to follow the Lord would go fruitless!

And so the Lord, with a candid straight-forwardness replies that their sacrifices would surely assure them of rewards…
… of a much higher quality and eminence.

How often do our lives also sometimes sink in hopelessness, thinking whether our expressions of faith would end up in meaninglessness!

Sometimes even fearful thoughts and anxious emotions may cross our mind…
… will the various sacrifices and pains that I take up for the Lord, go in vain?
… will my unshed tears, my unspoken prayers and painful sighs, end up in futility?
… will the efforts I make to grow in love and nourish others in faith, lead to fruitlessness?

But the Lord assures us, that none of these efforts – small or great, noticed or unnoticed, seen or unseen – will escape the penetrating eyes of the Lord and go unrewarded.

All our actions, done in love has an assured reward!

What is however, most essential, is our total focus on the Lord and unflinched commitment to Him.

The Lord most certainly assures us of rewards and gifts.

But, in this pursuit, may we not stray or lose focus of Him!

Our lives ought to be impelled by the love for the God of rewards…
… than merely the rewards of God!
Our lives must be lived in faithfulness to the God of gifts…
… than being fascinated only to the gifts of God!

May the Lord Himself be our greatest reward…
… our finest gift!

When we grow in the assurance that God is always holding us…
… we can remain calm and confident in this journey of life.


Are we ready to grow deeper in this awareness?

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises.
It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors.

A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a non-baptized person) requires even greater circumspection. (CCC # 1632)

✝ REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 29, 2023: Monday

“May Mary, the Mother of the Church – our Beloved Mother and the Perfect Disciple – Who followed Her Son wholly, in obedience to the Will of the Father, intercede and inspire us, to use our freedom with responsibility!”

(Based on the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church)

A lady once remarked to her spiritual guide, “I am very afraid to pray, ‘Thy Will be done'”
“And why is that so?”, asked the guide.

“I am afraid…” continued the lady, “… that God will bring some calamity to my only child or send me a heavy trial in life”

The spiritual guide, having patiently listened to her, replied:
“Suppose if your beloved child comes to you and says, ‘Mummy, here after, I want to always do whatever you say and live as you will…’

Would you say to yourself… Ah! Here is my chance!

I will make my child to do all the harsh things.
I will make use of his willingness to obey me, by cutting off all his pleasures
I will make sure he has a tough time because anyway he will do whatever I say”

“Oh no!” answered back the mother, ” I will give him the best possible things that I can.

I will make sure that he is protected from every danger.
I will do anything to ensure him true happiness!”

“And do you think…,” continued the spiritual guide, “Do you think that God is less loving than you?”

The will of every human parent is to ensure the best for their children, isn’t it?

How much more loving and caring is the Will of the Father!

“God’s Will” is best understood in the set-up of a family…

In a human family…
… Every member wishes that the other is taken care
… Every member seeks for the good of the other

How much more is the love and concern in the Family of God…
… to all those who seek to do the Will of the Father!

The Church is this Communion of those who “bind upon themselves to do the Will of the Father”

Today we celebrate the Feast of Mary, the Mother of the Church.

Mother Mary is the model for all in the Church to “always say YES to God’s Will!”

This feast which has been promulgated in the Year 2018…
… is celebrated every year on the Monday after Pentecost.

We have concluded a journey of fourteen weeks (nearly hundred days) of walking intimately with the Lord in His Passion, Death, Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit…
… starting with the Ash Wednesday in the season of Lent
… through the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday
… the Ascension and the Feast of the Holy Spirit – the Pentecost.

As we resume the Ordinary times of the Liturgical year, we are presented today…
… with the beautiful example of Mary, the Mother of the Church, Who is the role model for all of us to “use freedom with responsibility”
… and with a message to make an examination of the “quality of our life of faith”, through the Parable of the Tenants.

One of the primary reasons for the celebration of the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church is “to foster Marian piety and the Maternal sense of the Church.”

Pope Francis says that, “this celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored…
… to the Mystery of the Cross
… to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet
… and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed!”

The Marian title of “Mother of the Church,” was given to the Blessed Mother by Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council.

Jesus said, “Whoever does the Will of My Father in Heaven, is my…. Mother!” (Mt 12: 50)

When we scan through the pages of the New Testament, we find, that perhaps no other person fulfilled the Will of the Father as perfectly as Mary

Mary, the Mother of the Church, always said “YES to God’s Will”

Mary was Blessed not just because she gave a physical birth to Jesus…
… but also because She listened and lived the Will of the Father!

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

As St. Irenaeus says: “Being obedient, She became the cause of salvation for Herself and for the whole human race.”

The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience

What Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by Her faith”

Mary used the freedom bestowed on her, with a great sense of responsibility.

We are reminded that it is “freedom with responsibility” that ensures valid enjoyment and proper satisfaction.

Mother Mary is the model for all of us to discharge all our duties with a great sense of responsibility.

She is the first Evangelizer and the first Disciple of Her own Son and Lord, Jesus the Christ!
She is not just the biological Mother of Jesus…
… but, by doing the Will of the Father perfectly, She is also His Spiritual Mother!

Thus Mary is the Mother of the Church!

St Maximilian Kolbe says, “If anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his Mother, he will not have Christ for his Brother!”

Yes, doing the Will of the Father and using our freedom with responsibility…
… is the DNA that joins all the members of the Family of God.

We may perhaps, have our fears in doing His Will….
But let us realize, that the Will of Father is wrapped with much love and affection…
… there is a tenderness in His Will, that ensures each of us, His children are protected!

Jesus is our Supreme Model and Leader in listening and living the Will of the Father

Mother Mary is our Beloved Mother and Perfect Disciple, Who followed Her Son wholly, in obedience to the Will of the Father!

Many saints and holy people also show us, by their sanctified lives that it is worth, meaningful and salvific to do the Will of the Father!

All of them beckon us:
“Come be part of the Family of God…
Listen always to what God wants of you in your life

Ask Him, at all times, what you should be doing in life
Put your trust in His Power and Providence, when you do His Will!”

Are we willing to be members of this Family of God?
… Then we need to be ready to do the Will of the Father!

Let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary, the Mother of the Church to intercede and pray for all of us…
… to be faithful and witnessing members of the Church.

Happy Feast Day of Mary, the Mother of the Church…
… to all Her Little Children of God!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The example and teaching given by parents and families remain the special form of this preparation.
The role of pastors and of the Christian community as the “family of God” is indispensable for the transmission of the human and Christian values of marriage and family…
… and much more so in our era when many young people experience broken homes which no longer sufficiently assure this initiation:
It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise…

… so that, having learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter upon a marriage of their own. (CCC # 1632)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 28, 2023: Sunday

“Realizing that by our Christian vocation, we are constantly in touch with ‘Fresh Waters’ of Grace, and becoming aware of the worth of the ‘source of life’”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Pentecost)

An incident is told of a great ship that was stranded off the coast of South America.

Week after week, the ship lay there, in the still ocean waters with not a hint of a breeze.

The captain was desperate; the crew was dying of thirst.

The salty ocean waters stared at the members of the ship.

Finally, one day, on the far horizon, a steamship appeared.

As this tiny boat, approached them, the captain of the great ship called out:
“We need water. Give us water!”

The steamship replied: “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”

The captain – an experienced person, and who knew that it was impossible to get potable water from the oceans – was infuriated.

But the steamship gave the same reply, “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”, and sailed away.

The captain was all by himself – feeling angry and desperate!

But a little later, when no one was looking, a cleaner boy of the ship, lowered a bucket into the sea and then tasted what he brought up: It was perfectly sweet, fresh water!

How was that possible?

The ship had been stranded, just out of the oceans, into the mouth of the River Amazon (Amazon makes up for nearly 1/5th of the earth’s fresh waters!)

For weeks together, they had been sitting on top of all the fresh water that they needed.

But it remained undiscovered!

So it is, often, with our Christian Lives as well!

What we are really seeking, is already inside us: Waiting to be discovered!

The Holy Spirit, Who has been dwelling within us, from our Baptism, gently whispers to us: “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”

Today, on this Great Day of Pentecost, we are invited to open our hearts to recognize the Power of the Holy Spirit…
… and to become aware of the inherent greatness in our vocation as Christians.

On the day of Pentecost, in the Upper Room, as the disciples were gathered in prayer, along with Blessed Mother Mary, “the Holy Spirit filled the entire house in which they were” (Acts 2:2)

It is to be noted that the word used to describe the coming of the Holy Spirit is the Greek word “aphno” which means “suddenly”

“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind…” (Acts 2: 2)

The coming of the Holy Spirit was “sudden”.

This energetic entry of the Holy Spirit is a glimpse to one important characteristic of the person of the Holy Spirit: Vitality!

The Holy Spirit is a spirit of life
… of energy
… of vivacity
… of animation
… of dynamism!

Where the Holy Spirit is, there is the great movement of the will, the mind and the heart!

It was this “sudden” coming of the Holy Spirit that transformed the small group of Jesus’ disciples into mighty warriors of the Kingdom of God.

Fear was transformed into power…

Timidity was changed into boldness…

Uncertainty was converted into conviction…

Our own lives need an encounter of this “life-transforming” experience.

Is my Christian life, dull and slow – merely laced with routine actions of prayers and sacraments?
Is my life of faith, lethargic and tepid – simply being pulled on, without any particular awareness or lived without any enthusiasm?
… then, we need the mighty movement of the Holy Spirit to impress life and vitality to our life and our faith!

The Holy Spirit is undoubtedly one of the most shy person of the Blessed Trinity and therefore, also often, neglected in our daily prayers or devotion

The study and awareness of the Holy Spirit is certainly, in general, given lesser priority and importance in comparison to the other Persons of the Trinity
The Feast of the Pentecost is very often not accorded the “solemn” tone in comparison to other feasts like Christmas or Easter

But let us realize, that in the Holy Spirit and in the celebration of this Feast, we have a great treasure to cherish and enjoy.

Each Christian ought to build an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Each Christian must become more aware of the role of the Holy Spirit in daily living

How wonderful it would be if we could inculcate a few practical resolutions to grow in our intimacy and union with this Powerful and Dynamic Personality of the Blessed Trinity:

  1. Wishing “Good Morning, Holy Spirit ” to Him as we begin the day, thanking for His protection and seeking His help through the day
  2. Invoking a tiny chaplet, “Come Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and minds” as we begin a particular activity or work
  3. Making a short examination of conscience at the end of the day, introspecting our lives in overcoming sin, being grateful for His guidance and seeking to grow spiritually in holiness, with the power of the Holy Spirit
  4. Co-operating with the Holy Spirit to become effective agents of unity in our homes, our communities, our places of work and our churches.
  5. Purposely creating a few seconds of silence in the schedule of our works or our activity or through the course of the day, and talking to the Holy Spirit, as a friend, in the cave of our heart
  6. Listening to the still, gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in the depths of our being, speaking to us to be more active to read God’s Word in the Bible and to partake of the Sacraments more frequently especially Confession and Holy Eucharist.

The Lord has blessed our lives with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

He longs to be empower our lives…

He earnestly wants to be in total control of our lives…

But for this, He needs our permission…

A permission in the form of…
… longing for Him
… making sincere efforts to live a life casting away sin

Let us realize that by our Christian Vocation, we are constantly in touch with “Fresh Waters” of Grace.

Let us be aware of the worth of the “source of life” that is with us, and live a life worthy of it…
… by constantly giving heed to the call: “Lower yourselves, and life will be yours!”

Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Spirit – the Pentecost!

Happy Birthday to our Mother Church!

Let us cherish the life offered by our Mother, in the Sacraments…
… and especially receive the sweetness of the Holy Eucharist more worthily and enthusiastically!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

So that the “I do” of the spouses may be a free and responsible act and so that the marriage covenant may have solid and lasting human and Christian foundations…

… preparation for marriage is of prime importance. (CCC # 1632)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 27, 2023: Saturday

“Being animated by the Power of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be Christ’s faithful and dynamic witnesses, and like St Peter and St John and St Paul – become ‘special students’ of our Great Teacher, Jesus!”

(Based on Acts 28:16-20, 30-31 and Jn 21:20-25 – Saturday of the 7th Week of Easter)

The experience of teachers in a school with the students is pretty interesting.

Each student is unique in their character and nature.

The relationship with each student is also unique

… some students tend to be more in the limelight – due to their high vibrancy and level of enthusiasm
… some students remain in the shadows – due to their soft and timid nature

But the teacher shares a unique relationship with all..
… with some more close, with some just normal, with some just casual

Sometimes the most naughty one, or the mischievous one gets special attention

Sometimes, the most silent one gets a special favour of affection and care

The Greatest Teacher, Jesus also had his class of students – His chosen twelve – the Apostles.

He shared a unique relationship with all of them, undoubtedly.

Yet, among the twelve, there were some with whom Jesus had a special bonding

One among them was very vocal, emotional and actively in the limelight…
The other was more silent, affectionate and passively in the backgrounds…

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the teacher in conversation with these two of His students, with whom He had a special bonding – Peter and John.

Peter was the one, very vocal, emotional and being active in the limelight…
John was the more silent, affectionate and remained passively in the backgrounds…

We are the end of the Gospel of St John.

Jesus had engaged Peter in a one-to-one conversation reviving His commitment to Him and the Kingdom by asking him, three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was also entrusted to be the Shepherd of His Church on the earth

However, Peter was also curious what would be the future of the other disciple.

His curiosity is a common human trait: a keen desire to know the future and the prospects of other people.

Sometimes this trait can also degenerate into jealousy…
Sometimes this trait can also be reduced to envy…

In the parable of the workers in the vineyard… those who came at the end received the same one denarii as the first.

The complaint of those who toiled the whole day was not just that they received a less pay; but more so, that why did the last ones…
… get a higher pay!

The generosity towards the others, made them to feel envious

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the prodigal son was given a grand reception on his arrival back.

The complaint of the elder son was not just that he never had enjoyed a luxurious time with his friends; but more so, that the younger sin who had committed many sins…
… was given a special welcome.

The generosity towards the younger son, made him to feel jealous.

Realizing the possibility of this common human trait, Jesus chides Peter who was over-curious to know of the future of John; instead He re-focusses Peter’s attention on what is most important: Following Him.

Therefore Jesus tells to Peter: “What concern is it of yours? You follow me” (Jn 21: 22)

The same advice is rendered to us also…

We sometimes tend to be too anxious about the life of the other…
… but fail to have a proper control in our personal lives!
We sometimes tend to be over-curious about the future of others…
… but fail to live our lives worthily!

The Lord advises us the same too, “You follow me!”

The two special students of Jesus, the teacher – Peter and John – is also a reminder of two ways or levels of Christian holiness…

The Life of Peter… lived in witness to Christ by a life of martyrdom
The Life of John… lived in witness to Christ by a life of loving sacrifices in life

Each one of us are to…
… live in holiness, filled with love, like St John
… live in commitment, willing to give up even our lives, like St Peter

The first reading of the Liturgy also points us to the Life of St Paul…
… a zealous and valiant missionary, who offered his life in total commitment to the Kingdom

St Paul dwells in Rome – considered from St Luke’s perspective as the end of the earth (signifying that the Gospel has moved from Jerusalem, the centre to Rome, the end of the earth!)
“And Paul lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ quite openly and unhindered!”

On the eve of the Great Feast of the Pentecost, let us prepare our hearts to receive the fire of the Holy Spirit.

We seek the special intercession of our Blessed Mother – the Queen of the Apostles – on her Feast Day…
… that She Who interceded with the Apostles, may intercede for us also, for the Mighty Gift of the Holy Spirit!

Let us be animated and constantly live in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, so that we too may be Christ’s faithful and dynamic witnesses…
… and like St Peter and St John – and St Paul – become “special students” of our Great Teacher, Jesus!

Happy Feast of Mary, Queen of the Apostles!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Since marriage is a state of life in the Church, certainty about it is necessary (hence the obligation to have witnesses);

The public character of the consent protects the “I do” once given and helps the spouses remain faithful to it. (CCC # 1631)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 26, 2023: Friday.

“Trusting in the goodness of the Lord and with hope in the mercy of the Lord, let us, tell the Lord, ‘Yes, Lord, I love you!’”

(Based on Acts 25:13b-21 and Jn 21:15-19 – Friday of the 7th Week of Easter)

A young man was supposedly crazy about his girlfriend.

He spent an entire evening telling the girl how much he loved her.

He said that he couldn’t live without her…
… that he would go to the ends of the earth for her
… yes, go through fire for her, or die for her.

But as he was leaving he told her,
“I’ll see you tomorrow night dear…
…. if it doesn’t rain!!”

A whole evening was spent on lavishing sweet words of love…

But as he left her…
…. he made conditions in his expression of love
… he put forward clauses in his demonstration of love

How often is our love also such..

We tell to people in our live that we love them…
… but fail to show it in actions
We tell to others that we care for them a lot…
… but do not show them in deeds

And how much more true is this in the case of our love of God…
… we profess our sentiments of love, but fall short of living it up in our commitment

The Gospel of the day presents St Peter grappling with his weaknesses in expressing his love for his Master…
… and Jesus, knowing very well the frailties of his chosen one, entrusting great responsibilities on him.

Jesus in His post-resurrection appearances to the Apostles, engages in a special one-to-one conversation with the Peter, the leader of the chosen ones…

It’s interesting to see the choice of the Lord for Peter as the leader of His chosen ones.

Peter was a fisherman by profession…

Like the waves, his faith and trust in the Lord would also often waver…
Like the winds blowing heavily, his zeal for the Lord would also often vacillate…

Yet, the Lord chooses him to be a “fisher of man” for His Kingdom…. expecting him…
… to be like the fish – finding life and vibrancy only by being in the waters of grace and mercy
… to be like the net – gathering up the children of God and keeping them together
… to be like the boat – not being stuck on the shores, but ready to launch into the deep waters of evangelisation

Peter had undoubtedly a lot of interest and zeal in the Lord… and in His Mission.

Yet by nature, he tended to be more emotional… indecisive…fluttering

And this caused him to deny the Lord three times, during the passion of the Lord..

But the Lord, in His infinite mercy, restores the brokenness in the relationship, with His healing love.

Our lives too, so often, resembles that of Peter.

We fluctuate in our commitments to the Lord…
We easily break many of the resolutions made to the Lord…
We very often go astray, despite having experienced much love from the Lord…

Yet, Jesus does not abandon us.

Like the Shepherd, who comes after His lost sheep…
Like a Potter, who remoulds His work when dis-shaped…
Like a Physician, who attends with patience for His ailing patient…

The Lord comes to us…
And with much hope puts forward the same question, that He asked Peter:
“Do You love Me?”

The Lord awaits an answer…

It will be easy to jump in and say “Yes, Lord, I do love you”.


Let our answer, not just be triggered by emotional feelings…
Let our answer, not be simply impelled by a ritualistic custom…

Rather, from the depth of our inner-being…
… acknowledging our sinfulness and failures…
… realising our weaknesses and shortcomings…

… trusting in the goodness of the Lord
… hopeful in the mercy of the Lord
Let us tell the Lord…
“Yes, Lord, You know everything….

You know, I love you!!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The Church normally requires that the faithful contract marriage according to the ecclesiastical form.
Several reasons converge to explain this requirement:
Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act.

It is therefore appropriate that it should be celebrated in the public liturgy of the Church. (CCC # 1631)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 25, 2023: Thursday

“Deepening our union with the Father and enjoying greater freedom of happiness and joy”

(Based on Acts 22:30; 23:6-11b and Jn 17:20-26 – Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter)

A cute story of a little boy, who loved fruits.

This little boy fellow was once, tempted to pluck some cherries from a tree, which his father had strictly forbidden him to touch.

“You need not be afraid,” said his notorious companion, “for if your father should find out that you have taken them, he is too kind to hurt you.”

“Ah,” said the brave little fellow, “that is the very reason why I would not touch them;
For I know that my father would not hurt me. So I should not hurt him by my disobedience!”

The little boy knew the love of his Father towards him…
… and so he dared not hurt his Father.

He was not afraid of the punishment of the Father.
He was instead afraid of the hurt that would cause pain to the Father.

True love causes a holy and pious concern of not wanting to cause any offence to the one who is loved.

True Love casts away all fear!
True Love drives away every anxiety!

It is this True Love of the Father that was made known by Jesus to all of us.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus shedding greater light on His intimate relation with the Father and revealing deeper, the love of the Father for each one of us.

Jesus prays, “… so that they may be one, as we are one. I in them and You in Me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn 17: 22b, 23)

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in the Seventeenth Chapter of St John, is another insight into the intimate relation that Jesus had with His Father.

All His life, He sought to do only the Father’s Will
All His life, He sought to reveal the love of the Father to the world.
This was driven by the fact that Jesus was in intimate union with the Father.

To His disciples, Jesus wishes to leave this same legacy – the legacy of loving the Father intimately.

Jesus wishes to tell us that we have a Father who is deeply interested and caring for us.

Jesus wishes to convince us that our lives are secure in the Providential care of the Father.

However, our lives sometimes fails to display this trust and confidence in the providential care of the Father

Some of us may have a wrong notion of God being interested only in finding my wrongdoings and punishing me for the same…
Some of us may have the wrong notion of God being unapproachable, unavailable and inaccessible because of His Holiness and Majesty!

But Jesus drives away all such false impressions.

He tells us that the Father…
… is surely the keeper of justice, and may take us through a time of trials and difficulties.

But those are not to be seen as cruel punishments, but loving acts for improvements towards a holier life!

He tells us that the Father…
…. is surely the Lord and Master of the Universe, and is totally aware of even the calamities or hardships that befall our lives

But in all those hard moments, the loving Father keeps us safely in the palm of His hand, not allowing us, His beloved children to get hurt or harmed!

When we are convinced of this deep love that the Father has towards us, we would be able to orient our lives in a way that is worthy of our call as witnesses of Christ.

Jesus by His unity with the Father, enjoyed perfect freedom.

He invites us to also deepen our union with the Father and enjoy greater freedom of happiness and joy.

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The priest (or deacon) who assists at the celebration of a marriage receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church.

The presence of the Church’s minister (and also of the witnesses) visibly expresses the fact that marriage is an ecclesial reality. (CCC # 1630)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 24, 2023: Wednesday

“Avoiding the ‘chameleon character’; instead, adopting and growing in our ‘Christian conviction!’”

(Based on Acts 20:28-38 and Jn 17:11b-19 – Wednesday of the 7th Week of Easter)

A zoologist, working in a Catholic University, was interacting with a group of youngsters.

As they were discussing about living as a Christian in the world the zoologist – himself a Christian – noted: “There are many of us Christians who live like chameleons!”

(Chameleons are a species of lizards – known for their distinct range of colours, as they are able to shift in different hues and brightness, depending on the surrounding)

The professor went on to say:
“The chameleon takes the colour of its background and environment—tree, bush, or grass.

Many Christians are chameleon-like in the facility with which they can take on the colour of the world about them”

And he added, “And… just as it is difficult to distinguish the chameleon from the background, the colour of which he has taken…
… so it is very difficult to distinguish many Christians from the background of the world in which they live!”

Are we living ‘chameleon-like Christian lives’…
… changing our colours and choices in life, to suit the corrupt ways around us, rather than being faithful to Christian teachings?

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus praying to the Father: “I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them safe from the evil one.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn 17: 16)

The call of a Christian is to live as a people “set apart” for Christ.

The Lord wishes, desires, wants and makes it a must that the one who follows Him, must seek to follow Him fully, wholeheartedly and unreservedly.

But the Lord was also very much aware that this His desire for a people “totally set apart” would face a lot of challenges and crisis from the Evil One.

He knew that His followers would struggle much in living a pure life…
… in the midst of many impurity, uncleanness and contamination.
He knew that His followers would find it hard to preserve holiness…
… in the hub of wicked temptations, ensnaring enticements and luring persuasions

St Paul warns the Church at Ephesus to be aware of the many dangers that may allure them in the world…
… and to remain focussed and alert

“Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the church of the Lord which He obtained with His own Blood.

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things…
… to draw away the disciples after them.
Therefore, be alert…” (Acts 20:28-31)

We often find ourselves lost in this strange maze of the world….

We immerse ourselves too much in worldly activities and works….
… But, somehow at the end of the day, when lying down on our beds, we, perhaps, feel ourselves lost and not having a true sense of satisfaction!

We plunge ourselves to enjoy a lot of worldly pleasures, comforts and luxuries…
… But, somehow, after having been sort of saturated with those externals, we, perhaps, find ourselves still unhappy or experiencing a void!

We engage ourselves in an excess use of the social media, networking sites, chatting applications and remain attached constantly to modern communication gadgets…
… But, somehow, though we are in contact with many people, we, perhaps, realize that there is a grave presence of loneliness and not having genuine relationships of love and true care!

And therefore, Jesus, the ever-practical, sensible and realistic Master…
… Firstly, prays for His followers for strength and courage: “I pray for them…. Holy Father, keep them in Your name… “ (Jn 17: 9a, 11b)
… Secondly, reminds His followers on the need to set their hearts on Him because they belong not to the world: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn 17: 16)

This then ought to be our strength and hope, as we seek to live a Holy Christian Life in this world, often corrupted by sin and transgressions…
Knowing that Jesus has prayed for us!

In His prayer, we can find hope and blessings
In His prayer, we can find encouragement and support

Setting our heart entirely on the Lord and not being totally attached to the aspects of the world

In His Love, we find meaning in our relationships
In His Presence, we ought to engage all our activities

Light passes through pollution, but doesn’t get contaminated!

Every Christian, a reflection of the Light of Christ, ought to be such…
… focused on the Lord, seeking to be pure and unsullied, in holiness and sanctity.

Let us avoid the ‘chameleon character” by compromising to suit the pleasures of the world…
… instead, let us adopt and grow in our “Christian conviction!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage…
… that the marriage never existed.

In this case, the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged. (CCC # 1629)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 23, 2023: Tuesday

“Having close intimacy with our Father by growing in our life of prayer!”

(Based on Acts 20:17-27 and Jn 17:1-11a – Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter)

The earthly life and ministry of Jesus is presented in the Bible mainly through the Four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.

Of these, Mathew, Mark and Luke are termed as the Synoptic Gospels (synoptic meaning ‘same view’) because they have a common view.

The Gospel of John reflects a Christian tradition that is different from that of the other Gospel.

It differs significantly from the synoptic gospels in theme, content, time duration, order of events, and style.

One important distinction that is seen between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John is that, while some events are very clearly and narratively described in the Synoptics, the elements of the same are found in the Gospel of John, either figuratively or in more detail.

One such event is the Temptations.

The temptations of Jesus find a clear mention in the three Synoptic Gospels as a one-time event.

But the Gospel of John would present the same temptations, not as a one-time affair, but spread through the life and ministry of Jesus.

Another event we see is the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

The narrative of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist finds a specific mention in all the three Synoptic Gospels, at the time of the Last Supper

The Gospel of John presents a very long teaching on the Holy Eucharist (Jn 6) and clearly presents the implications and consequences of being a Eucharist through the washing of the feet and His explicit commandment of love (Jn 12)

Another event or incident that finds a mention in two of the Synoptic Gospels is the Lord’s Prayer – the Our Father.

But it doesn’t appear as one-block of prayer in the Gospel of John.

However, the Gospel of John also presents a very extensive teaching and displays a method of prayer.

The Gospel of the Day is this beautiful expression of Jesus praying in the Gospel of John and presents to us elements which need to become part of our own prayer life.

The Seventeenth Chapter of the Gospel of John is traditionally called as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus.

The Gospel passage of the day (Jn 17: 1-11) presents a few basics and essentials of prayer:

Jesus prays for the glory of the Divine
Every prayer ought to be an expression of praise, worship and exaltation of the Holy Name of God.

Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to Your Son, so that your Son may glorify You!” (Jn 17: 1)

The lips of the Lord moved in praise of His Father and seeking the glory that was due to Him.

Is my prayer an expression of my desire to ‘lift up the name of the Lord on high?”

Or does my prayer degenerate into merely asking for things and wanting to focus the attention on me, than the Divine?

Jesus prays for the gift of eternal life for His people
Every prayer ought to have its intention aimed towards eternity!

Jesus prayed, “… just as You gave Him authority over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all You gave Him” (Jn 17: 2)

The purpose of the Lord was clearly focussed on eternal goodness and everlasting benefits.

Is my prayer an articulation of my longing for heaven and centred towards seeking the higher-things of life?

Or do I get limited in my prayer with merely earthly and transitory things of life; not that they are unimportant, but whether they snatch away our minds from the true needs and requirements of life?

Jesus prays with an expression of His intimacy with God and His People
Every prayer ought to be a manifestation of my unity with the Lord and the people to whom I am connected.

Jesus prayed, “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you and you gave them to me… ” (Jn 17: 6)

The prayer of the Lord showed that He was in intimacy with the Father and was in close union with the people in His life

Is my prayer a sign of my close friendship with the Lord as well my close binding with the many people in my life?

Or am I failing in my prayer due to a breakage of relation with the Lord due to sin, and suffering from disturbance of mind due to damaged and hateful links with the people in my life?

Jesus prays for the unity of the people and safety from the evil

Every prayer ought to make me closer to the Lord and His people and cause to me stay further away from the evil.

Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one” (Jn 17: 11b)

The heart of the Lord moved to seek to protect the people He loved and also grow in greater intimacy

Is my prayer constantly drawing me to purge away sins from my life, so that I can remain in His name, and also make me assist His people in service?

Or does my prayer life make no effect on me to stay away from the evil and fail to be expressed in loving actions of charity and help?

The Lord desires that just as He prayed, in close intimacy with His Father, we too may grow in our life of prayer and union with the Heavenly Father.

It’s this intimacy that will make us to offer our lives in total service to the Lord – not counting costs, or losing one’s comforts – just like St Paul who testified at Ephesus:
“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit, not knowing what shall befall me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God!” (Acts 20:22-24)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism*

The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear.
No human power can substitute for this consent.

If this freedom is lacking, the marriage is invalid. (CCC # 1628)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 22, 2023: Monday

“Not being discouraged by the problems of life; instead, considering them as golden opportunities to grow deeper and stronger in the Love of the Lord, knowing that ‘strength of any kind grows only by exertion!’”

(Based on Acts 18:1-8 and Jn 16:29-33 – Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter)

Space scientists in the 1960’s and 70’s made several efforts to help astronauts (cosmonauts) to have a safer and healthier stay in space.

The major hurdle to this was the fact that no matter how well prepared physically the cosmonauts or astronauts for the trip…
… even a short stay in space had a massive negative influence on their health.

Weightlessness (antigravity) and lack of movement (hypokinesia) caused immediate retardation of the whole body space traveller – muscles, bones, peripheral and central nervous systems degenerated within several hours to a large extent.

Upon return to Earth, the astronauts had to readjust to Earth’s gravity and experienced problems standing up, stabilizing their gaze, walking and turning.
They needed a long-term intensive rehabilitation to get back in shape.

To counteract this, a running suit laced with elastic bands was utilized.

The function of this elastic band, was to resist every move that the cosmonaut would make.
This resistance would force them to exert extra strength.

This worked!

When they had resistance, their muscles were stronger and it prepared them for recovery back into the earth’s atmosphere.

The greater pressure they exerted, the stronger was their physique and faster did it help them to get back to normalcy faster.

How true is this of our life as well!

The easier our life, the greater is the possibility of our spiritual fibre being weak…
The comfortable our living, the higher are the chances of being lax and lethargic…

Strength of any kind grows, only by exertion!

And therefore, the Gospel of the Day will present Jesus encouraging and motivating His disciples and we, His followers to be firm and strong, even in the midst of any sort of persecution or problems.

Jesus tells, “In the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16: 33)

The Lord in His final discourses to the Disciples constantly gives the message of Hope and Encouragement.

Jesus is a not a leader who shies away from presenting the truth.

He plainly tells them that His going away from the world will result in a number of persecutions.

He predicts that His chosen ones would desert Him in His time of agony and suffering: “Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to His own home and you will leave me alone.” (Jn 16: 32)

Yet, He assures His followers, that He will still remain with them and strengthen them.
He is bold to tell them, “… Take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16: 33b)

Our life is also beset with many problems, afflictions and difficulties.

… we do ask ourselves, “Why do I face so many problems?”
… we do feel, “Why such immense pains in our life?”
… we do question, “Why is life so unfair to me?”

But the Lord tells us, that we ought not to get discouraged or disheartened.

Rather, we need to realize, that such hardships and problems, keep us oriented towards seeking the help of God.

When difficulties creep in life, our face is set more towards the Lord.
… But when life goes on too smoothly, there are chances that tend to relax our relation with Him

When problems surface and surmount, our minds are attuned more towards seeking the Lord
… But when life is too cozy and comfortable, there are possibilities of being too casual in prayer life

When hardships bite us hard, our hearts long deeper for the presence and providence of God
… But when life goes on a smooth sailing, there are prospects that we tend to forget the important role of the Lord in life

Adversities in life act as elastic bands that cosmonauts or astronauts use…
…. They function in a way, to resist our every good action and aspiration…

But resistance ought to make us exert greater effort and have a stronger dependence on the Lord!

The greater the adversities, the stronger ought to be our dependence and trust in the Lord.

Strength of any kind grows only by exertion!

St Paul is a beautiful example of a person who never got discouraged by the troubles of life.

After having prayed for the gift of the Holy Spirit on the believers at Ephesus, who had never even heard about the Holy Spirit… (Acts 19:1-7)
… St Paul went on to preach and boldly proclaim about the Kingdom, in the synagogues: “And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8)

Let us not get discouraged by the problems of life…
… instead, consider them as golden opportunities and graces to grow much deeper and stronger in the Love of the Lord!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The consent consists in a “human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other”: “I take you to be my wife” – “I take you to be my husband.”

This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two “becoming one flesh.” (CCC # 1627)

✝💫 REFLECTION CAPSULES – May 21, 2023: Sunday

“With conviction in His love, having the zeal to be His Missionaries and the passion to make this world a holier place!”

(Based on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord)

On the coast of Norway was a lighthouse where the keeper lived with his two little children.

One day the keeper went to the distant shore for provisions.

A storm arose, and he was unable to return.

It was, however, time for lighting the lamp.

Elena, the elder child, said to her little brother, “We must light the lamp, Willie.”

“How can we?” asked Willie. “We are not big enough!”

The two children climbed the long, narrow stairs to the tower where the lamp was kept.

Elena pulled up a chair and tried to reach the lamp in the great reflector.

It was too high!

Groping down the stairs, she ascended again with a small oil lamp in her hand, she climbed on the chair again, but still the reflector was just beyond her reach.

“Get down,” said Willie; “I know what we can do.”

She jumped down.

The little boy stretched his little body across the chair. “Stand on me,”he said.

She stood surprised for a moment…
… but then soon stood on the little fellow as he lay across the chair.

She raised the lamp high, and its light shone far out across the water.

Holding it first with one hand, then with the other, to rest her little arms, she called down to her brother, “Does it hurt you, Willie?”

“Of course it hurts,” exclaimed li’l Willie, “but keep the light burning!”

The little kids made sure every effort was taken to keep the light lit, even if it meant difficulty and pain.

  • Are we keeping the light of Christ’s love burning in the world, even though it hurts?
  • Are we holding it up so that all nations may see its beams afar?

Today is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord.

This is the day…
… on which He gave the mission mandate of preaching His Good News to the entire world.
… on which He ascended to the heavens, as a culmination of the glory of the Resurrection

In our proclamation of the Apostles’ Creed, we affirm, ” … He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty!”

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is a declaration of various pointers for our reflection…

  1. The Ascension is an event that reminds the glory and majesty of the Lord, who is sovereign over all

The Lord ascended.

Elsewhere in the Bible, we have incidents of persons being taken up to heaven

  • Enoch was taken up by God: “Then Enoch walked with God and he was no longer here, for God took him” (Gen 5:24)
  • Elijah went up: “As they walked on conversing, a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between Elisha and Elijah, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind” (2Kgs 2: 11)

Mother Mary was ‘assumed’ into heaven, body and soul (Dogma of the Assumption)

However, Christ ‘ascended’

It was His Power that made Him to ‘go up’ to the heavens.

This is a tremendous demonstration of His Divinity, His Glory and His Power!

  1. The Ascension is an event which radiates hope to the suffering and optimism to the distressed

The interesting saga of Christ’s life, which beginning with….
…. His simple yet powerful event of His Birth…
… His ordinary yet impressive event of His ministry…
… His agonizing yet impactful event of His passion and death…
… His glorious and spectacularly amazing event of the Resurrection…
… finds its joyful and resplendent finale in His Ascension to the heavens.

This is a beautiful exhibition of how a life, lived in faith and commitment, even if it has to go through the barbed wires of pain, humiliation, suffering and uncertainty has a splendid and magnificent ending!

  1. The Ascension is an event that prods our memory and commitment to be the missionaries for the Kingdom of God

The Lord’s concluding words to His apostles constituted a binding mandate…
… to go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation
… to be an instrument of His power to cast out demons, to speak in new tongues, to endure poisons, to lay hands on sick and restore them to recovery.

This is a dutiful reminder of how the Lord trusts and has immense confidence in each one of us to be the proclaimers of His word.

The Lord wishes to reign over in our hearts.

  • He wishes to be the sovereign ruler of our lives.

May the Feast of the Ascension be a reminder for us to open our hearts to let the Lord to be in total command of our lives.

May the conviction in His love, the zeal to be His Missionaries and the passion to make this world a holier place help us, even in the face of pain and suffering and hardships, to exclaim…
“Of course it hurts, but I still keep the light burning!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the marriage.”

If consent is lacking there is no marriage. (CCC # 1626)