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Showing posts from December, 2010

Fourth Sunday,Advent,99

Wordsworth, one of the most famouspoets of English Literature and whose poems most of us have read and studied wrote very magnificently about the Blessed Virgin Mary in one of his later poems, known as the Ecclesiastical sonnets. He speaks of Mary as “ our tainted nature’s solitary boast, purer than foam on central ocean tossed,” and “Brighter than Eastern skies at day break.” The Protestant writer and Professor of history at YaleUniversity, Prof.Jaroslav Pelican writes: “ It is impossible to understand the history of Western spirituality and devotion without paying attention to the place of the Virgin Mary.”Why has Mary captivated the imagination of poets, artists, writers and millions of ordinary people down through the centuries? The answer is given in today’s Gospel: “Hail Mary, full of Grace …you have found favor with God.” Mary is God’s favored daughter, unparalleled in spiritual and physical beauty, the recipient of all the beautiful blessings of God. That is why no century can…

Fourth Sunday,LentB,April2.jn.3:14-21

Speaking of the mercy and hope instilled into him by the Gospel, St.Augustine says: “ Jesus came to us captives as a Redeemer, not an oppressor. The Lord shed His blood for us, redeemed us, gave us new hope …. Even while we are being tossed about by the waves on the sea, we have the anchor of hope already fixed upon the land.” The mercy and compassion of Jesus makes St.Augustine say again: “I will hold fast to you, Lord, as you hold fast to me.”As we are nearing the end of the period of Lent, we become more aware of the need of God’s mercy in our lives, in the context of our own sins and failures. All the readings from the Scriptures today speak to us about His great mercy and love.The Book of Chronicles shows how in spite of the infidelities of Israel and their betrayal of their faith in the Lord, God offers them hope in their period of suffering, in their time of captivity. God makes them understand that their period of captivity will be over soon and they will be brought to their m…

Fourth Sunday,Ord.A,Feb.3,02.Mt.5:1-12

4th Sund.Ord.A,Feb.3,02All the readings in today’s Scriptures speak to us about the marvelous way in which God lifts up the poor and the humble to be carriers of his message and the symbols of His presence in the world.In the first reading, the Prophet Zephaniah points out how God would choose a remnant of Israel, a most humble section of the people who would live out in their lives their absolute and irrevocable faith in the Lord to symbolize his presence in the world. St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians again highlights the same point. It is the humble and the foolish of the world that God has chosen to be the announcers of His kingdom. “ God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong."These ideas get a clear focus when we come to Jesus as he begins to reveal the nature of His kingdom through the Sermon on the Mount.The Sermon on the Mount is a radical call to a new way of life, a way of life that is so different …

Fourth Sunday of Lent,C.March 25,2001.Lk.15:1-3,11-32

4th Sunday of Lent,C,Mar.25,2001Near the end of his life, Russian writer Dostoyevsky called his family to his bedside and asked his wife to read to their children the parable of the Prodigal Son. Then he told his children: “My children, never forget what you have heard. Have absolute faith in God and never despair of his pardon. I love you dearly, but my love is nothing compared with the love of God for you.” Today all the readings from the Scriptures including the parable of the Prodigal Son speak to us about the unparalleled love of God.The first reading from the Old Testament speaks of a new beginning in the life of Israel. The old days of God taking care of all their needs was over. They are now brought to a new land that was promised to their forefathers. They have to be ready for a new beginning in their lives.It is in a way an inspiring call to every one who believes in God that there is a new opportunity, a new chance to begin anew their lives. Failures, weaknesses and sins sh…

Fourth Sunday ,Advent,Dec.24,2000C.Lk.1:39-45

4thSun.of Adv.Dec.24,2000, CWithin a short time, we will be celebrating Christmas and enjoying all the joys of that magnificent event. Christmas, although celebrated in a month of cold and snow is spiritually an experience of inner warmth, an experience of a warm Sun-rise in our hearts. One of our great poets, Wordsworth who was a great lover of the glories of nature’s beauty would go into raptures at the slightest experience of the tiniest forms of natural beauty. Clouds, daffodils, rivers, humble village folks would all arouse in him intense feelings of joy. Remembering his visit to the river Wye, he speaks of the intense emotions it has aroused in him and calls the nature, the mother of these beauteous forms, the nurse, the guide and the guardian of his heart and soul. All these poetic expressions of Wordsworth are incapable of describing one of the most beautiful events that happened in human history, the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ—God becoming man.In today’s Gospel we come ac…

Fourth Sunday,Lent,A,March.10.02.Jn.9:1-41

When Pope Paul V1 landed in Bombay, to participate in the First International Eucharistic Congress in India , he addressed the people with the following words from the Indian Scriptures: “Lord, lead me from falsehood to Truth, from darkness to Light, from death to Immortality.” Struggling with religious doubts and anxieties, Cardinal Newman, composed the following prayer: “Lead kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on. The night is dark, and I am far from home, lead Thou me on.”Light is the most perennial symbol of wisdom, of awareness, of spirituality, of God himself. It is this symbol of Light that Jesus uses in today’s Gospel to move his listeners from the world of their spiritual blindness to the light of Eternal Love through the vision given to the blind man.The whole miracle of the sight being given to the blind man is an unbelievably gripping story of an illiterate person teaching the wise men of the society the first lessons in logic. The Pharisees could not ac…

Third Sunday,Easter

Third Sunday after EasterAll the readings in today’s Scriptures speak to us about the different appearances of Our Lord after his resurrection and their impact on the lives of the apostles and disciples.In the first reading , we see with total amazementthe bold and unflinching courage with which Peter addresses the crowd who was there. A few days before this event, Peter did not have enough courage even to mention that he was even in a casual way associated with Jesus. After the events of the death and crucifixion of Jesus, he even triesto forget the whole drama of Jesus’ life by going for fishing with the other apostles. But all of a sudden things begin to change. The impact of the Resurrection and the reception of the Holy Spirit make him one of the boldest and powerful witnesses to Jesus Christ. He asks the same crowd to change their obstinate minds and become followers of Jesus in whom only they can find their salvation.The transformation that happened in the lives of the apostles…

Third Sunday,Lent,C.March 18,01.Lk.13:1-9

3rd Sunday, Lent, C, Mar.18, 2001(Lk13: 1-9)A few years ago I attended the funeral of a young friend of mine with deep sadness in my heart. He was a daily participant at the early morning masses in the college chapel, a good basket ball player, and a model student in behavior, character and in the practice of his faith. When he developed some pain in his leg, we thought it was because of some injury that he had sustained from his basket ball games. Since the pain did not go, at the doctor’s suggestion, more tests were conducted and in the end it was discovered that he had developed bone cancer. He came home from the hospital with one of his legs amputated. But that did not deter him from being cheerful and accepting God’s will in his life. But, later, the cancer spread to other parts of his body and when he knew that his end was coming near he told his parents that he wanted to see all his priest friends and teachers. It was only with tears in our eyes that we attended his funeral. In…

Third Sunday,Lent,C.Jan.21,01.Lk.13:1-9

3rd Sunday,C,Jan.21,2001Concluding the Jubilee year and offering a new sense of hope in the new Millenium, the Holy Father closed the bronze door of St.Peter’s Basilica, on Jan.6 .He addressed the congregation with the following words: “ While today we close the Holy Door, a symbol of Christ, the heart of Jesus remains more open than ever.” The Holy father added further: “ We need to set out anew from Christ, with the zeal of Pentecost, with renewed enthusiasm, to set out from Him above all in a daily commitment to holiness.” The ceremonies of the Jubilee Year are thus over, but the work of the Jubilee now begins—begins in our hearts, in our families, in our neighborhoods and workplaces, the work of forgiveness, remission of debts, and compassion to the poor and the weak.These are exciting times—we are witnessing the unfolding of a new millenium, the beginning of a New Year, the installation of a new Archbishop, and the inauguration of a new President.Words like a new era, a fresh sta…

Third Sunday,Lent,B.March26,Jn.2:13-25

3rd Sunday of Lent B,Mar.26Addressing the people gathered in the Holocaust Memorial in Israel a couple of days ago, the Holy Father expressed his anguish and heart-felt pain in the following words: “In this place of memories, the mind and heart and soul feel an extreme need for silence. Silence in which to remember. Silence in which to try to make some sense of the memories which come flooding back.” Holy Father adds further: “ We wish to remember….But we wish to remember for a purpose, namely to ensure that never again will evil prevail, as it did for the millions of innocent victims of Nazism.”These words of the Holy Father are not addressed to that small audience only but to all of us and ask us to reject evil and all its powers that conjure to destroy the peace of our soul. The readings from today’s Scriptures take us to a path of renewal and rebirth. In the first reading from the Book of Exodus, the people of Israel are reminded of the covenant they entered with God and of the de…

Third Sunday,Advent,Dec.17,2000 C.Lk.3:10-18

3rd Sunday of Advent,C,Dec.17,2000Walker Percy, one of our noted novelists once observed that it is strange to find Christians so unhappy in their faith in spite of their claim that they have the Good News. Percy’s observation has a lot of truth in it because of the way we live our faith. Many of us experience our faith as a sort of long list of obligations to do and view it as something that kills the joy of life, asking us to deny everything that we think is pleasurable and capable of giving joy. So many of our people born and brought up in the faith leave the Church for one reason or another. They don’t find their church, their faith communities attractive enough to draw them towards them. According to the 1999 Year Book of American and Canadian Churches, out of the 61 million Catholics in the United States, 17 million are non-practicing Catholics. It is against the background of this lack of interest in the faith and disenchantment, that we have to look at the readings …

Third Sunday,Advent 99,A.Mt:11:2-11

3rd Sunday of Advent-’99Recent TV images of earthquakes, cyclones and other natural disasters have given us an idea of the immense suffering endured by thousands of people in different parts of the world. We have also seen how much the tiniest of helps in the matter of shelter and food are appreciated by the victims of such colossal disasters. To the suffering any help is ofgreat significance and makes them greatly comforted and strengthened.It is in a similar context of devastation and helplessness experienced by the Israelites in their exile in Babylon that the prophet sends his message of hope and comfort, telling them that God has anointed him for the special task of bringing healing to the suffering , freedom to the captives, freedom to the captives and dignity and honor to those who are persecuted and calumniated.The words of the prophet send a fresh breeze of comfort and strength in the hearts of his people hurt by the harsh experiences in exile and by the deprivatio…

Third Sunday,Lent A,March 3,02.Jn.4:5-42

3rd Sund. Of Lent, A, March,3,02Thomas Merton in his autobiography “The Seven Storey Mountain” speaks about his feelings of rebirth as he responded to his priest’s questions at his baptism by saying “I believe”. He says mountains were from falling from his shoulders. He also describes how scales of dark night were peeling off his intellect. Describing his first confession, He says: “One by one, species by species, as best I could, I tore out all those sins by the roots, like teeth. Some of them were hard, but I did it quickly, doing the best I could.” This experience of falling mountains and the peeling of scales of dark nights, and tearing of the roots of sin made him a new person and helped him to enjoy peace which he never did experience in his life. In today’s Gospel, we find the archetype of such peelings and fallings in the life of the Samaritan woman as she began her process of conversion in the presence of Jesus.The dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman …

Third Sunday,Ordinary,A,Jan.27,02.Mt.4:12-17

3rdSun.Ord.A, Jan.27,02Thomas Merton describes the call he received when he happened to enter a Catholic church in New Yorkat the time when the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was concluding. These are his words: “I looked straight at the Host, and I knew, now, who it was that I was looking at, and I said: “ Yes, I want to be a priest, with all my heart I want it. If it is your will, make me a priest---make me a priest.” He knew it was a call that came to the depths of his being and that he could not resist it. He went all the way to accept that call, renouncing everything that he had in the world, joining a Trappist monastery.In today’s Gospel we hear the call of all calls: Jesus calling the humble fishermen he saw around him, asking them to follow him. “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” No questions were raised by them, no doubts were clarified, no anxieties were shared: they left everything they had and followed Him. They were called to preach the go…

Second Sunday,Easter,2000,Jn.20:19-31.C

Second Sunday of EasterAll the readings in today’s Scriptures speak to us about the impact of the Resurrection on the lives of the disciples and how the different appearances of Jesus have strengthenedtheir faith and transformed them into very powerful witnesses to His life and message. In the first reading from the acts of the apostles , we hear about the beginning of the early Christian community –how they have passed through those great moments of unparalleled significance .We cannot imagine the heights of euphoria, the depths of despair and the intensity of hope they have passed through as they led their life’s journey through the life, death, and the resurrection of Our Lord.Onething that remained with them was their intense attachment, their loyalty , their faith.Everything else , they seemed to have forgotten. They lived as a community , sharing everything, praying together,and treating each other as the members of the same family.There was no distinction on any basis …

Second SundayC,Jan.14,2001.Jn.2:1-12

2nd Sunday,,C,Jan.14,2001St.John’s Gospel is full of signs and symbols. He uses these to interpret the miracles and wondrous deeds done by Jesus as different manifestations of his Divine Life and power. The wedding at Cana is one of the signs that St.John uses to indicate that the time of the Old Testament is over. He wants to emphasize through this that the time of rituals and traditions has to be replaced with a new life, and that instead of the ritual acts of purification, one has to live by the blood of Jesus that comes to us through the Eucharist. Of the seven signs described in the Gospel, the wedding at Cana stands at the top as the gateway to all the events in the life of Jesus.The wedding feast at Cana is charged with multi-level meanings and the various dimensions of the ministry of Jesus are interlaced with it. One of the significant aspects is Mary’s intervention to save the face of the master of the household whose stock of wine has run short. With the compassion…