✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Nov 07, 2022: Monday

“Seeking God’s Grace to reach out to others in forgiveness!”

(Based on Tit 1:1-9 and Lk 17:1-6 – Monday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

There is a famous incident associated with Thomas Alva Edison, the renowned scientist.

Edison and his team had undertaken the tedious task of inventing the “light bulb”.
It took the team 24 hours to put one bulb together.

When it was ready, Edison gave the bulb to a young helper boy, to carry up to the steps.

Nervously, this young boy climbed the stairs…
… step by step, with extreme caution and fright – lest the priceless piece of work be dropped!

But the extremely anxious steps of the boy, caused the “unwanted” to happen…
… the bulb fell out of his hands… smashed to pieces!

Naturally, there was great disappointment and even annoyance at the boy.

The entire team worked for another 24 hours to make another bulb.
Finally it was ready… to be taken up the stairs…

Well, no points for guessing, to whom Edison gave this second bulb!

Yes, to the same boy, who had dropped and broken it the first time.

That’s true forgiveness, isn’t it?

The Gospel of the Day deals with the aspect of Forgiveness (Lk 17: 3-4)…
… which is the key for a harmonious living together.

Jesus says: “If your brother wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you, seven times saying, ‘I am sorry’, you should forgive him” (Lk 17: 4)

The example given by the Lord is an experience, which many of us, perhaps, have had in our personal lives….
A person does a wrong to me and I forgive him.
The same person hurts me once again and I forgive him
He does it again, causing a deeper wound to me and I forgive him again.
He does it again and offends me harder and I forgive him again…. but this time I am losing my patience!

Don’t I have a limit for myself to bear?

Should I go on bearing hurts?
Don’t I have feelings which are sensitive?

So we perhaps ask this question to the Lord:
“Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother?”

We are eager to know when to quit turning the other cheek to the one who hits you on one cheek!

The Old Testament Law suggested to forgive three times (Amos 1:3-13).

But the Lord, Who loves to keep challenging… throws out a bigger number.

Now is this demand of the Lord something really practical and viable?
… or is Jesus turning out to be “one of those many idealistic teachers who love to talk in the air….but nothing which is practical or really feasible and doable!”

The Lord invites us to look into the aspect of God’s Forgiveness, to obtain a solution and an insight to this perennial question of “how often should I forgive my fellow brother?”…
… If God were to forgive us only a limited number of times, how many days would we have survived?
… If God were to withdraw His Grace after an “x” number of times, how many situations would we have endured?
… If God were to stop granting us pardon after a period of time, how many blessings would we have been denied?
… If God were to keep an account of all our sins and transgressions, how many of us would have been alive today?

Of course, Forgiveness does not mean…
… justifying the bad behaviours of people!
… supporting the evil deeds of our fellow beings!
… encouraging the faults or situations of wrongdoing or hurts!
… not correcting and reproving the misdeeds and carrying out our duties of rectifying!

But Forgiveness does mean…
… liberating the people from guilt and condemnation in our hearts!
… to have no ill feelings and grudging emotions against the ones who have hurt us!
… seeking to love them, praying for them and avoiding occasions of putting them down!
… to refuse to harbor their mistakes deep in our hearts, though we are wounded & hurt!

Life is an opportunity and a challenge….

An Opportunity to become more Divine…
… to become more forgiving… to become more Loving…!
A Challenge to let go of our ego…
… to cast away our hurtful and wounded feelings… to go beyond our aches!

Let us seek God’s Grace to live up to this challenge and to grab this opportunity!

The “light bulb” of God’s Grace has often been entrusted to us by the Lord

Many are the times when, have “dropped it” and broken it into pieces!
… Yet, the Lord entrusts it, again and again – forgiving us, and trusting in us.

Are we ready to do the same with others?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION

It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament.
In a profound sense it is also a “confession” – acknowledgment and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.”
It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.”

He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.” (CCC # 1424)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Nov 06, 2022: Sunday

“Enjoying real freedom and happiness, by living a life of Grace and Love!”

(Based on 2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14, 2 Thes 2:16-3:5 and Lk 20:27-38 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

Question: Who could be the called as the most ‘blessed’ people in the world?

Answer: Christians

The Reason: In Christ we have the possibility to receive great blessings, to have heavenly experiences on earth by living a faith-filled life and to enjoy the most intimate moments with God in the Most Holy Eucharist.

The Biblical Support: John 10:10, “I have come to give life, and life in abundance”

John 6:51, “I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever”

Question: Who could be the called as the most ‘pitied’ people in the world?

Answer: Christians

The Reason: A Christian who fails to believe & be convinced of a life in Christ after this earthly life & lives only for this world.

The Biblical Support: 1 Cor 15:19, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all”

Am I a Christian who can be called Blessed, because of my faith in Christ which is directed towards Eternal Life ?

Or am I a Christian who is to be Pitied, because of my belief in Christ which is only to satisfy my desires of this world?

The Gospel of the Day invites us to dwell on these aspects with the incident of the Question on the Resurrection.

This question on the Resurrection was put forward by the Sadducees.

The Sadducees were the priestly aristocracy among the Jews.

They tried to live in close contact with the Roman rulers so that they might as far as possible promote the secular interests of their people.

Consequently they took little interest in religious matters and in many respects clashed with the Pharisees, especially as regards the Pharisees’ attachment to the ‘traditions of the elders’.

Anything which was not taught by ‘the law of Moses’ (the first five books of the Old Testament) was rejected by the Sadducees as forbidden innovations.

Unlike the Pharisees, the Sadducees did not believe in many aspects:

They didn’t believe…
… in angels.
… in heaven or hell.
… in life after death.
… in the immortality of the soul.
… in the resurrection of the dead.

Thus, the doubt on the Resurrection exposes the hypocrisy of the Sadducees.

They were asking Jesus about something they didn’t believe.

They sought to establish that belief in a resurrection from the dead was unscriptural and impractical by putting forward a highly hypothetical question.

But Jesus, the cleverest and smartest Master outwits their malicious plans.

Jesus establishes that eternal life would not be a mere extension of this presently life

Rather, there would be a great transformation of all that is earthly.

The style and the method of this transformation is known only to God…

The manner and the mode of this transformation is known only to God…

But the Lord with logic & reason and a strong scriptural-support champions this Doctrine of the Resurrection from the Dead.

The passage ends with the statement, “And they no longer dared to ask him anything” (Lk 19:40)

The Sadducees who came to trap the Lord with their malicious doubts were put to silence.

Maybe a few of those Sadducees…
… would have second thoughts on it.
… got a bit confused between Jesus’ words and their own convictions
… felt angered at the convinced reply of Jesus & their unwillingness to let go of their position.

Maybe most of those Sadducees felt threatened by the confident reply of Jesus and their aversion to give up their opinions.

It’s a tragedy when one fails to convert oneself, even after knowing the truth.

It’s a pity when one fails to change oneself, even after becoming aware of the reality.
It’s a calamity when one fails to alter oneself, even after being conscious of the facts.

Are we a practical Sadducee in our lives?

Do I believe in the power of the Resurrection of the Dead? Do I believe that there is a life beyond our earthly existence?

It is not that enough to have a mere verbal belief.

This belief ought to be translated in our personal living.

We need to prepare ourselves for a glorious eternity by living a holy life.

We need to avoid any blocks and sins which can hamper my progress to eternal life.

The world is becoming more and more materialistic today.

The feeling that “after all we have only one life” and “let us enjoy to the maximum” is widespread.

Certainly, God has blessed us with this life…
… and we need to enjoy.

But enjoy it in the proper manner with a sense of responsibility and decorum.

Let us give up anything that reduces the value of enjoyment to mere sensual and bodily-pleasurable activities.

Instead, let us enjoy real freedom and happiness, by living a life of Grace and Love!

We are Christians…

Will my life be the most blessed?
… or will my life be the most pitied?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION

It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion…
… the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin.

It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction. (CCC # 1423)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Nov 05, 2022: Saturday

“Making clear-cut and distinct choices in our Christian life!”

(Based on Phil 4:10-19 and Lk 16:9-15 – Saturday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Luciano Pavarotti was an Italian tenor
(Tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range is one of the highest)

Pavarotti gained worldwide fame for the quality of his tone, and eventually established himself as one of the finest tenors of the 20th century

He was trained under a professional tenor in his hometown in Italy.

Meanwhile, he had also enrolled in a teacher’s college.

On his graduation, he asked his father: “Shall I be a teacher or a singer?”

“Luciano”, said his father, “‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them.
For life, you must choose one chair!”

He followed his father’s advice…choosing the chair, to become a singer…
… and went on to be a successful one!

Pavarotti would later say: “I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book – whatever we choose – we should give ourselves to it.

Commitment, that’s the key.
Choose one chair.”

The Gospel of the Day presents this Call of the Lord to make a clear-cut and distinct choice in our Christian life…
… “choosing just one chair!”

Jesus says: “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other or, be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk 16: 13)

More than any time before, the world faces this deep-rooted problem of a “divided heart”

There is a constant dialectic (tension) between serving God and serving mammon!

We say we obey God…
… but we fail to abide by His commandments and teachings in the Church!

We say we love God…
… but we fail to express this love in a faithful lifestyle of prayers and devotions.

We say we serve God…
… but we fail to extend His love and compassion to our people in need.

We say we honour God…
… but we fail to witness to His Gospel values and dilute them to serve our petty interests.

Let’s not be afraid to look at the naked face of reality staring at us today…

Most people today serve something besides God…
… sin?
… music?
… sports?
… money?
… themselves?
… power and positions?
… cravings of their bodies ?

Am I also serving something else instead of God?

In the Old Testament, one of the greatest accusations made against the people of Israel was: The Sin of Idolatry…
… abandoning the Living and True God and rendering worship and honour to some non-living thing as a god.

Though, as Christians, we may not be explicitly worshipping some idol or running after some gods or crazy over some magical mantras…
… it is not a bad idea to examine our conscience and check whether we really have formed some gods in our lives and thus entering into “practical” idolatry….

Maybe I am too much attached to my electronic gadgets like the phones, TV, music players, cameras…and use them way beyond my “need”!

The idol of gadgets?

Maybe I am too much obsessed with my looks, my styles, my clothing and food habits, my make-up styles…and “over-conscious” than the minimal requirements!

The Idol of the Self?

Maybe I am crazy about gaining over-popularity through an “n” number of picture displays and posts on many social networking sites…and “get totally upset” when I fail to receive the expected appreciations and “likes”!

The Idol of Attention-seeking?

Maybe I am too much occupied with my work, business and other undertakings, that I fail to give attention to my family, my community, the needs of my own spiritual self etc…and lose out on the little joys and happiness of life!

The Idol of Money and Work?

There could be many more idols in our life..

The Idol of Laziness…
The Idol of Bad Habits…
The Idol of Power-obsession…
The Idol of Immoral Lifestyles…
The Idol of losing a Sense of Sin…
The Idol of Criticizing and Judging…

The Gospel of the day places a great choice before us…

Choose to be with God or to follow other idols?
Choose to obey His laws and commandments or to stray away from His paths?

We cannot serve both God and other things…

One leads to life… the other to death.

Which side are we on?

Yes… Choose one chair!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION

“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance…
… obtain pardon from God’s Mercy for the offense committed against him
… and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins

… and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labours for their conversion. (CCC # 1422)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Nov 04, 2022: Friday

“Ready to be Christians with an ‘excellent spine!’”

(Based on Phil 3:17-4:1 and Lk 16:1-8 – Friday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

It was a Bible study class.
The group was doing a study on the Book of Prophet Daniel.

As was the custom, one of the members would start the Bible study by reading the passage of the day, to the group, aloud.

The selected passage for the day was Chapter 6 of the Book of Daniel.

An elderly person, stood up to read.

He, however had some struggle with his sight and was finding it a bit difficult to read.

When he came to verse 3… (which actually says: “… an excellent spirit was in Daniel”)…
… adjusting his thick glasses, the man read: “… an excellent spine was in Daniel!”

(The word ‘spirit’ was mistakenly read as ‘spine’!)

Well…that was bad reading…
… but nevertheless, it was wonderful theology, because Prophet Daniel was indeed a man of excellent spine – a backbone that made him strong and courageous!

Are we Christians with an “excellent spine?”

The Gospel of the Day, with a worldly example placed before us – the Parable of the Unjust Steward – is a mighty challenge to us to examine whether we as Christians, are people…
… who really are bold and courageous to stand for the Gospel principles
… who really are zealous and prudent to preserve our holiness and sanctity!

The story of the Unjust Parable is an interesting as well as an eye-opener for us, in our spiritual and Christian life

This is also a parable that could be classified under the “controversial” or “what-was-He-really-meaning” category!

The summary of the parable would go thus…

A steward has been reported to the Master for squandering the property (Lk 16:1)
Dismissal is on the cards for the steward (Lk 16:2)
Taking stock of the possibilities for the future, he decides and acts on the principle: Manipulation is the best policy for a safer future (Lk 16:3-7)
The Master commends this unjust, yet prudent and craft act of the steward! (Lk 16:8a)

The parable could cause some strange questions to crop up…

Why is Jesus – the Honest-Man-par-excellence – presenting this strangely negative example to His followers?
Does Jesus mean that we should follow the bad ways of the world, in order to win our salvation?
“Hook or Crook” – is that the policy that Jesus says for us Christians, to live in this world?

Well…

Without going deep into the theological debates of such questions…
… we shall look into the answer that Jesus Himself proposed for saying this parable:

“For the children of the world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation, than are the children of light” (Lk 16:8b)

The purpose of Jesus to say this parable is put forth:

Children of this world are often more shrewd to make sure a good future…
… whereas, the children of the light, tend to be extremely relaxed concerning their salvation!

People of this worldly kingdom are willing to go to any extend to secure themselves…
… whereas those who supposedly wish to belong to God’s Kingdom, leisure themselves in lethargy!

This is a technique of “comparative imperative” that is proposed by Jesus…
… by emphasising on the opposite, a challenge is put forth!
… by highlighting a negative dimension, the positive aspect is enforced!

Such “comparative imperatives” can easily be observed in our lives…

We would make every effort to be in time to catch a bus/train/flight, so as not to miss it…
… but don’t mind, being late for our prayers or spiritual activities, including the Holy Mass!

We would ensure every day we have our food and get a good rest, so that our bodies don’t get weak…
… but give no regard to feed and give rest to our souls, by spending time with the Lord in personal prayer and growing in relationship with Him!

We would feel a dreadful sense of disgust if we do not have our daily bath (shower) and cleanse our bodies…
… but have sometimes no awareness to realise our souls are dirty and we need to cleanse them through a daily examination of conscience, and regularly through the Sacramental Confession.

We don’t mind wagging our tongues to say a bad word or a dirty joke or nasty words of criticism and condemnation…
… but think often, when we need to say something positive or appreciate someone or to say an occasional prayer to recall the presence of the Lord!

This “comparative imperative” proposed by the Lord in this parable makes us to reflect deeper:

Am I more enthusiastic about the affairs of this world, which gives only transient joy…
… at the cost of avoiding my spiritual life, which alone can ensure me eternal happiness?

Am I only concerned more about my materialistic concerns and my temporal duties…
… and end up neglecting the solemn duties of our Christian life and being more spiritually rooted?

Our Blessed Lord is extremely serious…
… that we take our Christian lives and faith, on a more serious note!

Salvation is at stake… Eternal Life is at question!

The Lord is perhaps addressing us, and telling:
“For those who are working…
… you would try to make any sincere efforts to make sure you get a better salary, isn’t it?

For those who are studying…
… you would try to put in extra hard work to ensure you get the extra marks, isn’t it?

For those who are at home…
… you would spare no efforts, to ensure peace and harmony and a happy time, isn’t it?

For those in institutes or companies or in-charge of some establishment…
… you would take the extra mile to be the best and co-ordinate to the maximum, to give better performances, isn’t it?

Then why…
… Why sometimes, lethargy only for spiritual life?
… Why sometimes, indifference, only with respect to a life of faith?”

Are we ready to be Christians with an “excellent spine?”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING

The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, Who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, has willed that His Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, His work of healing and salvation, even among her own members.

This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. (CCC # 1421)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Nov 03, 2022: Thursday

“Experiencing the Loving Heart of the Good Shepherd, which is deep rooted in Mercy and Compassion!”

(Based on Phil 3:3-8a and Lk 15:1-10 – Thursday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

A youngster who was very desperate in life – contemplating even of terminating his life – exasperated and lost, was passing along the streets, when he heard the Church bells ringing for the Angelus at noontime.

Something in him, made him go inside the Church.

As he went in, he saw a large statue of Jesus…
… with the Sacred Heart of Jesus prominently displayed

And underneath the statue were written words…
… beautiful words that would bring him much consolation, hope and joy

So much so, that he would take a resolution to amend his life
and to live with greater hope and joy!

The words were as follows:
“As you look into My Heart… remember always, these words…

There is an Eye that never sleeps, even beneath the wing of night
… just for you!
There is a Ear that never shuts, even when sink the beams of light
… just for you!
There is an Arm that never tires, even when human strength gives way
… just for you!
There is a Love that never fails, even when earthly loves decay
… just for you!

And… there is a Heart that never stops beating, even when trials of life lash you hard
… just for you!

This Heart of Mine… is just for you!
Can you also give me your life…?
… and tell me, “LORD, JUST FOR YOU!”

Love, by its nature, gives away…

And the Sacred Heart of our Lord – the Good Shepherd – which is deep rooted in Mercy and Compassion – tells us, “This Heart of Mine… is just for you!”

The Gospel of the Day displays the beautiful Heart of the Good Shepherd, Who goes in search of the lost one!

Chapter 15 of St Luke is an amazing revelation of God’s tremendous love, mercy and longing for each one of us.

We have the Parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin and the Lost Son.

In all the three parables, lost ones are found
In all the three parables, there is great celebration at the end.
In all the three parables, an emphasis is laid on hope for the lost.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd teaches the immense Love that the Lord possesses for each one of us, personally.

The shepherd had a hundred sheep.

During the count as he gathers the sheep at day’s end, the shepherd notices that one is missing.
The sheep needs to be found; otherwise, it may be permanently lost or attacked by hungry predators.

The Shepherd, therefore, takes the risk of leaving the rest behind, and goes out in search of the lost one.

This is the personal Love of the Lord for every sheep!
All are important!

Even the lost one is given great importance!

Have I personally experienced the tremendous Love of the Lord?

I may feel low. I may consider myself to be not very good.
I may think that my life is just not worth living or that my past has ruined my life very badly.

Even with all these things, am I convinced that “Jesus, my Good Shepherd still loves me”, and that He will take me through, by the Power of His Love?

Am I similar to a Lost Sheep?

Lost in the thickets of materialistic living…?
Lost in the valleys of doubts and rejections and failures…?
Lost in the bushes of excessive pride, prestige and power….?
Lost in the wilderness of hopelessness and meaninglessness in life…?

There is still hope!
The Heart of the Good Shepherd is longing for us!

Let us go back to the Lord!

Let us experience His caring love and affection!

Yes…
… the Sacred Heart of our Lord – the Good Shepherd – which is deep rooted in Mercy and Compassion – tells us: “This Heart of Mine… is just for you!”

Today, on the Feast Day of St Martin de Porres, let us be inspired by his words:
“Compassion is preferable to cleanliness: with a little bit of soap I can clean my bed…
… but think of the flood of tears I would require to clean from my soul the stain that harshness against this unfortunate would leave!”
“Everything – even sweeping, scraping vegetables, weeding a garden and waiting on the sick, could be a prayer – if it were offered to God!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING

Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ.
Now we carry this life “in earthen vessels,” and it remains “hidden with Christ in God.”
We are still in our “earthly tent,” subject to suffering, illness, and death.

This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin. (CCC # 1420)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Nov 02, 2022: Wednesday

“Looking to the Lord on the Cross, and finding greater meaning and hope in life!”

(Based on All Souls Day)

“No…..don’t leave me!”…
A cry of a helpless one!

A set of twins were growing inside the womb of the mother.

For around nine months, these little ones have known each other.
They have eaten together, played together, sometimes even fought with each other…
… and above all, shared a lot of love and happy moments.

But now it is the time of delivery.

Little do these infants know the concept of delivery!

As the first one is ready to be delivered, the second twin holds on to it tight….crying:
“No…..don’t leave me….”!”No…..don’t leave me….!”

It’s a heart-breaking cry…a soul-wrenching wail!

To see its partner, being taken away, seems the end of the world for this second twin.
To realize that they can no longer play or live together in the same place, is indeed too sad a moment for this second twin.

Is it all over for this second twin?

Will it see its partner no more?
Why is such a cruelty being inflicted on this second twin?

Well… to those on the other side of the delivery…who are awaiting the delivery…
… these are precious and highly joyful moments.

What seemed death for the second twin… was life for those outside.
What seemed the end of the world for the second twin.. .was the start of life for those outside.

In a few moments, even the second twin will be taken out, and will be reunited to the first…

The wail of tears will be transformed to a well of joy!
The cry of sadness will be changed to a stream of happiness!

This could be a reasonable analogy for our life here on this world.

We are like this second twin…
We fall in love with our close ones…we live with them, share our life, sometimes even fight…yet we love them much.

And finally, one day, mostly unexpectedly, they are taken away from us.
…They die!

We cry, “No…..don’t leave me!”…but nothing brings them back!
Death seems to be an end for us!

But look up…
The Lord who was crucified and was dead for three days and rose to life, with an assuring smile tells us, “No! All is not over.

What seems death for you, is the beginning of life in me.
What seems immense sadness for you, is the start of a real joy in me.
Fear not…cry not… I am the Life and the Resurrection”

This is what St Paul echoed in his First Letter to the Corinthians 15:5, “Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?”

Today is the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed….the All Souls Day.

In the Apostles Creed, we recite, “I believe….in the Communion of Saints”.

The term “communion of saints” has two closely-linked meanings: communion in holy things and communion among holy persons.

The Communion of Saints is the three states of the Church: The Church Militant (the pilgrim Church on earth), The Church Suffering (the faithful departed), the Church Triumphant (the saints in glory)
“… at the present time, some of His disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as He is'” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #954)

On this day, we (the Church Militant), in union with the prayers of the saints in glory (the Church Triumphant), reach out our prayers, intercessions and love in a very special manner for our suffering brothers and sisters (the Church Suffering).

What makes us to pray for the dead… the faithful departed?

It is necessarily in the co-relationship that all human beings share with each other.

We do pray for the people who are in need, when they live on this earth.
We do seek intercessions on their behalf to God, when they are with us.

But when a person dies, his/her existence ceases only in our sight.

They still continue to live in God’s sight.
The dead are not dead for God.

This is what Jesus says in Luke 20:38, “…he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him, all are alive”

Therefore, it is logical and reasonable that we pray for the faithful departed.

“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1030)

Therefore, it is a duty on our part that we pray for the purification of these Faithful Departed.

This Commemoration is also a reminder of our own Death and the death of our close ones.

True, that as frail humans, we may have a natural fear and even a sort of phobia of death.

But our Christian Love, Faith and Hope must gain the upper-hand in us.

Death is frightening for the faithless…
… but for the faithful, it is the doorway to the Fountain of Faith!

Death is horrifying for the loveless…
… but for those who love, it is the passage to the Fullness of Love!

Death is devastating for the hopeless..
… but for those who hope, it is the entry to the Spring of Hope!

Death is a reality.

No amount of reflection or sermons can substitute the pain of this reality.

Sometimes, in such situations, silence is the only answer that we can provide.

But this silence ought to be a silence of hope, a silence of trust and a silence of faith.

When we love God deeper, the fear of death decreases.

When we have a stronger faith in God, the pain of death reduces.
When we have an unshakeable hope in God, the anguish of death subsides.

Death is hard.
And our lips may only cry, “No…..don’t leave me….”

But, the Lord has conquered this death!

Let us look on to Him, on the Cross, and find greater meaning and hope in life.

May our Blessed Mother Mary who bore the pain of the death of Her Beloved Child be our refuge and strength.

May the prayers and example of the Church Triumphant be our inspiration and courage.

May the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen.

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The Eucharist and the unity of Christians.

The Church knows that the Lord comes even now in His Eucharist and that He is there in our midst. >> However, his presence is veiled.
Therefore we celebrate the Eucharist “awaiting the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ,” asking “to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our Lord.”
There is no surer pledge or dearer sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new earth “in which righteousness dwells,” than the Eucharist.

Every time this mystery is celebrated, “the work of our redemption is carried on” and we “break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ!” (CCC #1404-1405)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Nov 01, 2022: Tuesday

“Making a choice – like all the saints – to preserve purity, even at the cost of one’s life!”

(Based on the Solemnity of All Saints)

The forests of northern Europe and Asia are home to a little animal called the Ermine.

It is characterized by its snow-white fur

Some countries have the state robes of the judges lined with this fur…
… the white fur being a symbol of honour and purity.

The Ermine would do anything to protect and safeguard its fur.

Fur hunters however, take undue advantage of this weakness of the Ermine.

They don’t keep a snare to catch the ermine

Instead the smear filth on the entrance and the interior of its house – usually in a cleft of a rock, or the hollow of a tree.

Dogs are then left behind the ermine…
… Frightened, the ermine runs towards its home, the only place of refuge.

However, it finds the entrance dirty and unclean.

It is unwilling to spoil the pure white fur coat.
And so, the ermine makes a choice…

To give in to the hungry and fierce dogs…
… than to spoil the purity of the white fur!

A choice is made – to preserve purity, even at the cost of one’s life!

Every Christian is expected to do the same…
… preserve the purity of one’s holiness, even at the cost of one’s life.

Today – on the Solemnity of the All-Saints – the Church invites us today to lift our gaze to heaven…
… and thank and praise God for the innumerable people who preserved purity, at the cost of their life!

On this Solemnity of All Saints, we celebrate and thank the Lord, for the perseverance in their faith…
… and the manner in which all Holy Men and Women of God, built up Christ’s Kingdom in the world.

Saints are not superheroes in the worldly sense…

What sets them apart…
… is not their miraculous power
… is not their popularity and fame.

Rather, what makes them saints, is their faith and their discipleship and their service to others.

The word – SAINT – sometimes strikes an odd chord in our minds…

Saints are often considered to be people…
… beyond our reach and too holy for our lives
… for whom the path to sanctity was made easy and cosy
… who are given a special boon from God to live a holy life

But the truth perhaps, is quite contrary…
Saints are people…
… who are truly very close to us and lived in simple and ordinary life situations like us.
… who had to struggle through many hardships and trials in the path to holiness.
… who co-operated with the grace of God and remained faithful to their commitment and call

Every Christian is called to a life of Holiness and to be a Saint…

How is this possible in our lives…?

The Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus, in today’s Gospel shows us the path… (Mt 5: 1-10)
Being a saint…
… by depending on God in all dimensions of our life and seeking His Kingdom above all
… by mourning over our sins and seeking to live a life in repentance.
… by living a life of firm gentleness and trusting patience in the midst of injustice and pain
… by becoming agents of justice and seekers of establishing truth
… by offering mercy to the needy and even to those who we feel, don’t deserve
… by preserving purity in our thoughts, words and deeds
… by striving for establishing peace and harmony even in conflicting situations
… by accepting suffering and becoming stronger in our struggle to establish God’s Kingdom

This Feast day is a chance for us to sneak into the personal diary of the saints…
… and to “steal” some tips for us to admire and imitate them…

The Saints’ Favourite Food: The Holy Eucharist
The Saints’ Favourite Dress: The Armour of Faith
The Saints’ Favourite Pastime: Doing anything with immense Love of God
The Saints’ Favourite Symbol: The Holy Cross
The Saints’ Favourite Moments: Every time they discovered more the depth of God’s Love

The Church has a marvellous number of saints who are canonized.

On this special day, we also take our time, to raise our hearts in gratitude, for the many other holy men and women, who sparkle with sanctity, but have not been officially declared so.

A few may be known to us, in our family or friends circle…
Most of them, will remain unknown and unfamiliar and unheard.

But in the Lord’s presence, they dazzle and shine, in holiness and purity.

This galaxy of Saints beckon and encourage each one of us today to tread this path of holiness.

As St Augustine says:
“Do you aspire to do great things?

Begin with the little ones”
… Doing our simple works with much love of God.
… Living our Christian life with much faithfulness
… Seeing the deep presence of God in all areas of our life.

Let us live a life…
… of self-sacrifice, renunciation and trust in God
… seeking to do God’s will at all times
… laced with the tender Love of God in all our activities.

Like the ermine, in the world, we are faced to make a choice…

To die to the hungry and fierce world…
… than to spoil the purity of holiness!

Yes, we need to make a choice – constantly, at every moment…
A choice to preserve purity, even at the cost of one’s life!

Today, all the saints in heaven, with a loud chorus invite each one of us:
“Come, dear Child… Be a Saint!
Do not be afraid! We are with you!”

What is our response?

Happy Feast to all the Saints in Heaven… the Church Triumphant!

Happy Feast to all the faithful departed, being purged to be saints… the Church Suffering!
Happy Feast to all of us, striving to be saints, here on earth… the Church Militant!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – THE EUCHARIST – “PLEDGE OF THE GLORY TO COME”

At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples’ attention toward the fulfilment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: “I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she remembers this promise and turns her gaze “to Him Who is to come.”

In her prayer, she calls for his coming: “Maranatha!” “Come, Lord Jesus! May your grace come and this world pass away!” (CCC # 1403)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Oct 31, 2022: Monday

“Living the Christian Life joyfully, with its contradictions and paradoxes!”

(Based on Phil 2:1-4 and Lk 14:12-14 – Monday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Christianity is described as a way of life with contradictions…
… Paradoxes are perhaps a way of life, for a Christian.

The Christian Lifestyle could be described in the following few lines:
“The way to be master… is to be servant;
The way to receive… is to give;
The way to be rich… is to be poor;
The way to be wise… is to be a fool;
The way to be exalted… is to abase oneself;
The way to live… is to die!”

The Gospel of the Day is a call from Jesus to examine our attitude towards others and to grow to become more and more selfless..
.. and thus be more and more Christian!

We are in the 14th Chapter of St Luke.

Jesus has been invited for a dinner to the house of a leading Pharisee on a Sabbath Day.

He has just cured a person with dropsy… a disease wherein water gets retained in the body
He also tried to cure persons with hypocrisy… a disease wherein duplicity gets retained in the mind!

And now He seeks to cure the attitude of the people who have a false understanding of giving.

Jesus says, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends, or your brothers and relatives and wealthy neighbours. For surely they will invite you in return and you will be repaid” (Lk 14:12)

Much of our giving is based purely on the (hidden) aspect of receiving back…

Much of our sharing is based purely on an (unconscious) agenda of getting back…

We share our time with friends…
… often expecting that they too will accompany us in our times of hardships and difficulties!

We render service to many people who are in need…
… often expecting that they too will render us assistance in our difficulties!

We pray to God & make a lot of sacrifices…
… often expecting that He’ll meet all our expectations, in the way and time, we want.

We love many saints…
… often expecting that they’ll make faster intercession on our behalf and get our works done quickly.

We have, perhaps, become very business oriented:

I give, and expect return
I share, and expect a bonus.

But the Lord, in today’s Gospel comes down heavily on such an attitude.
“When you give, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind…because they cannot repay you” (Lk 14:13)

We are exhorted to give to those, who may never be able to repay back.

We are challenged to help those, who may never have a chance to return back the favour.

The Lord who said these words, shows us an example in the highest manner possible…
… in the Holy Eucharist.

The Holy Eucharist is the best example and model – of such kind of a giving..

A giving without expecting back!
A sharing without seeking back.!

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the poor…

We who are poor…
… in our morals and purity
… in our commitment and dedication

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the crippled…

We who are crippled…
… with our many sins and faults
… with the guilt of many past failures

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the lame…

We who are lame…
… in our longing and thirst for the Divine
… in our acts of self-giving and self-sacrifice

The Eucharist is a banquet for us, the blind…

We who are blind…
… to the cries of those around us
… to see our habits which needs repentance & improvement.

Jesus, who gives Himself entirely in the Holy Eucharist today challenges us to do the same..
“I give myself to you as food and nourishment… even though many people fail to thank me

Can you also give yourselves to nourish the lives of others… even if they fail to acknowledge?”

“I give myself to you in joy, happiness and peace… even though many despise and mock me

Can you also become a source of joy to others… even if they back-bite and spread calumny?”

“I give myself to you as a healing for sin and guilt.. even though many hate and desecrate me.

Can you also become a healing touch to the other… even if it means dying slowly to your self slowly die in the process?”

The onus is on us…

Can we truly pray and live…
… the Christian Life – with its contradictions and paradoxes?

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – THE EUCHARIST – “PLEDGE OF THE GLORY TO COME”

In an ancient prayer the Church acclaims the mystery of the Eucharist:
“O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of the life to come is given to us.” >> If the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled “with every heavenly blessing and grace,”…

… then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory. (CCC # 1402)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULE – Oct 30, 2022: Sunday

“Restoring our faith and being revived by His Mercy!”

(Based on Wis 11:22-12:2, 2 Thes 1:11-2:2 and Lk 19:1-10 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C)

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

His pious and devout wife would often exhort him to return to faith…
… but he cared least!

They would even often have fights over this issue.

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

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

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

As he got himself ready with the axe, to chop down the tree…
… he heard a voice thundering within him, “Are you not also like this dead tree…. Fit only to be burned?”

He tried to banish away such thoughts…
… but the higher he lifted up the axe to cut the tree, the greater was the voice heard!

He went on to strike the tree a few times…
… but the thought kept flashing in his mind: “Will God ever tell me.. ‘Cut it down… fit only to be burned!”

Eventually, the thoughts became so great, that he fell on his knees…
… and pleaded with God, to receive him back.

The story goes on to say, that he went back to his wife and was reconciled to her…
… and had his faith restored in the Lord…
… revived by the Mercy of God!

Is my life like a dead tree….without spiritual energy and “fit only to be burned?”
… then the Lord today thunders in our hearts: To restore our faith and be revived in His Mercy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus, Jericho bore the brunt of a curse.

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

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

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

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

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

God comes to a place, which has been now cursed because of sin.
But two persons hide themselves in the trees of the garden.

Interesting similarity, isn’t it?

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

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

But with the similarity, there are also striking differences…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lord is gazing, addressing and seeking for us.

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

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

Giving up of possessions…
Letting go of my undue desire for money, cheap popularity, the riches in my life etc.
Repaying those whom I have cheated…
Forgiving and accepting those whom I hurt, whom I don’t like, whom I am not in good terms etc.

Zacchaeus was a despised man.
… because of his short stature.
… because as a tax collector, he worked for the enemy-government and would cheat and defraud people.
… because Jesus came to his house – a house of a sinner.

But the encounter with Jesus made him a transformed person

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

This same transformation is at hand for us…

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

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

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

God Bless! Live Jesus!


📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – THE FRUITS OF HOLY COMMUNION

Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.”
It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper… profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.”

When, in the Ordinary’s judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions. (CCC # 1400-1401)

✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Oct 29, 2022: Saturday

“Imbibing the honourable virtue of humility!”

(Based on Phil 1:18-26 and Lk 14:1, 7-11 – Saturday of the 30th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)

Portraits, pictures or statues of people, in general, depict and reveal their character and personality.

Usually, if people are asked to have…
… a photograph taken
… or a picture drawn
… or a statue created

They would prefer posing with some expensive artefacts/costly goods.

What if there is a person in history who preferred instead to pose with a broom!

And has most of his images/statues holding a broom…
… along with a cat and dog around him!

So much is his association with the “broom” that he is called as the “Saint of the broom!”

This person is St Martin de Porres.

Born in Lima, Peru, in the 16th century, this saint – being of a mixed race and cast lower as belonging to an inferior social caste – was able to raise his life with the Great Virtue of Humility!

So much was his zeal to dedicate his life for the Lord, that he would willingly accept to be a “donado” – a volunteer who performed menial tasks in the monastery – in return for the privilege of wearing the religious habit in the community.

He devoted his life to penance, charity and humility…
… spending nights in prayer and penitential practices
… dedicated days in nursing for the sick and caring for the poor – regardless of their color, race, or status
… and reflecting extraordinary gifts: ecstasies that lifted him into the air, light filling the room where he prayed, bi-location, miraculous knowledge, instantaneous cures, and a remarkable rapport with animals!

This Saint – St Martin de Porres (whose feast is celebrated on Nov 3), beautifully exemplifies the Gospel Passage of the Day, wherein Jesus exhorts and explains the importance of growing in the Virtue of Humility.

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted!” (Lk 14:11)

One of the most supreme and vital messages that we learn from the Life and Teachings of Jesus is that of Humility – a virtue in direct contrast to the dangerous vice of Pride!

There are two kinds of pride: good and bad.

‘Good pride’ is our dignity & self-respect
‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that stinks of conceit and arrogance.

What is pride, as a vice?

In simple words, it could defined as “wanting our own way!”

Therefore, what is humility, as a virtue?

In simple words, it could be defined as “wanting God’s Will!”

This is what Jesus teaches through the parable of “how a person sought the highest place, but got humiliated in being forced to accept the lowest place!” (Lk 14: 7-9)

In our life, it is easy for us to lose our focus from the Lord and have an egoistic style of preferences for our own selves…

Many times in our works, we forget the blessings that the Lord has showered on us…
… and instead attribute all successes to our own talents and abilities.

Many times in our ministry, we lose sight of the Lord, the real purposes of our vocation and the mission…
… and instead seek to fulfil our personal agenda and motives.

It is easy to bask in the glory of popularity and fame.
It might even seem pleasurable to enjoy the sunshine of reputations and recognitions.
… But let them never lead us to have a “self-glorifying” approach of just “looking” into ourselves.

We need to make conscious efforts in order to have the humility, to acknowledge that it is God’s power being manifested in our works.

We need to make deliberate choices to have the acceptance, that it is God’s Graces that lifts us to higher positions and achievements in life!

St Augustine says:
“It was pride that changed angels into devils;

It is humility that makes men as angels”

Life constantly tempts us to “pose with the expensive artefacts/costly goods” of pride and vanity

But the Lord invites us through the Gospel and through the example of St Martin de Porres – to prefer to “pose with the broom”…
… the “broom” of selfless service and altruistic assistance!
… the “broom” of humility and lowering oneself in self-effacement!
… the “broom” of being ready to accept our weaknesses and depend totally on the Lord and His Power!

May the words of St Martin de Porres, “Everything – even sweeping, scraping vegetables, weeding a garden and waiting on the sick, could be a prayer – if it were offered to God”
… be an inspiration to all of us, to imbibe the honourable virtue of humility!

God Bless! Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE EUCHARIST IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION – The Eucharist and the unity of Christians.

Before the greatness of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, “O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!”
The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him may return.
The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all – by apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy.”

A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, “given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged. (CCC #1398-1399)