Saturday, June 2, 2012


We always begin our prayers invoking the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The reason is that we believe in the Trinitarian dimension of God. God is three persons with one nature. This separates us from other religions.

 Our faith in the Trinity has founded on the Scripture and the Divine Revelation. The Old Testament gives a shadow reference of the Trinity. For example, in the book of Genesis, God says: Let us create human beings in our own image and likeness. The notion of Trinity is completely manifested in the New Testament. For instance, at the time of Jesus’ baptism, all the three persons of the Trinity were present.

 How it is possible to have three persons in one God without dualism is a mystery to understand. Only the Blessed Mary understands this mystery clearly, as she is the beloved daughter of God the Father and the Beloved mother of God the son and the beloved spouse of the God the holy spirit.

 For us what is important is the message of the Trinity. The Holy Trinity tells us about the image or nature of God. God is a relationship. The image or identity of God is love and communion.

God created us in his image and likeness. Therefore, if we want to remain as children of God, we must be in relation with one another.  To love someone means to be with that person and to be for that person….

 Closing fellowship with others means ceasing to live as a child of God.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


When the parish priest was greeting people after the Easter Celebration, he saw somebody new in the crowd. Gently he approached him and said: “Would you like to join the army of Jesus Christ?” “I am already a member of the army of Christ,” he replied. “ But I never see you here!” the priest replied. “Oh! I am in the secret service!” he answered.

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus, His glorious entry into heaven. The Ascension is not only about Jesus but also about each one of us. The two sets of instructions that were given to the disciples by Jesus and the Angel undoubtedly underline this point. For example: The Angel said to the disciples:  Why are you standing here looking at the sky? Jesus said to them: You will receive the power from the Holy Spirit and you will be my witness in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth (Acts of the Apostles 1:1-11). If we put together these two statements, one thing becomes clear, namely, the Ascension is a commissioning. It is an invitation to take up the mission of Jesus. According to Luke, Jesus finished his earthly journey in Jerusalem and the disciples have to continue the journey of Jesus from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.

The Challenges of the Ascension!

First of all, our mission is to establish the Kingdom of God. As Jesus rightly corrected his disciples, establishing the Kingdom consists primarily in ‘witnessing Jesus’ than building up a social institution. Kingdom of God is neither a territory nor an organization but it is the reign of God in human hearts.   The key to evangelization is manifesting God’s reign in each one of us. Once a Bishop said, “One of the means we adapt to evangelize non –Christians is to encourage catholic families to come and stay with the non Christians for a period of time.” The principle is that action speaks louder than words. “Preach all the time but use words whenever it is necessary” (Francis of Assisi). Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine.

Secondly, this witnessing must begin from Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem has biblical significance. All the major salvific events took place in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city of God. It is the meeting place of God. Mount Zion symbolizes God. Witnessing begins from Jerusalem. This means that any act of evangelization must have its source and inspiration in the Word of Jesus. It must be rooted in Christ experience.

And finally, the obligation for evangelization never ceases to exist. Jesus not only fulfilled his mission by offering his life as a ransom for many but also   prepared his disciples to take over it. We also have these twofold challenges: Encounter the risen Lord in our lives and share it with our fellow beings, and prepare those who are in our care to continue this mission. Definitely the starting point of this missionary mandate is our family itself. The Ascension is a call to come out from the secret service to public service. 

There are two ways of spreading light; to be a candle, or the mirror that reflects it. (Edith Wharton)

Friday, April 20, 2012


Today is the third Sunday of Easter. During this season, our readings focus on two things: the resurrection of Jesus, and its impact on his disciples.

The disciples were great admirers of Jesus. Admiration of a person does not necessarily involve commitment to that person. For instance, we admire Pope Benedict.  However, I do not think that we are going to die for him. The disciples admired Jesus and his teachings but were not willing to die for him. This was their story until the death of Jesus. However, the resurrection brought about a sea change in their life. They were even ready to die for Jesus. They became witnesses of Jesus:- a transformation from admirer to witness.

We are called to be witnesses of Jesus. To witness means to represent. To witness means to make a full commitment. It is more than going to Church on Sundays…It is more than doing some ministries….It is all about conforming to the person of Jesus. It is all about rising to a new life with Jesus.

How do we witness? An important place of witness is one’s own family.  We often forget about this. Witnessing to Jesus must begin by teaching our children and grandchildren about our faith. Our children are very much confused these days. They know very little about our catholic faith even though they are catholic by baptism. Teach them the core of faith, teach them the unique feature of the Catholic Church, and instill in them a love for the Church….Making our home a domestic Church is the core of witnessing. The rest will follow… We are commissioned to witness. Omission of witnessing is a sin.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I had a friend. He was a non-believer. He tried to convince me of the nonexistence of God. “If there is a God, show me” , he used to challenge me. Often I ignored him. One day he called me and said: I have a terrible headache. Do you have any medicine for me?” I went to see him. “Where is your pain? Show me. He pointed to his forehead. “I cannot see your headache. You must not have a headache”, I said to him. “Are you crazy? How can I show my pain?” he was angry.

We cannot see everything. We cannot verify everything experimentally. Many people believe only things that they can see or touch. This was the problem with Thomas. He said: I want a proof to believe in the resurrection of Jesus.

The foundation of life is faith and trust. We may not have all the proof all the time. A little child calls a woman mother. The child does not ask for proof.

God trust us. Jesus trusted his disciples. Peter denied him at the crucial moment of his life. Thomas remained doubtful about Jesus’ resurrection. However, Jesus trusted them. As we heard from the gospel reading, Jesus renewed his trust in them and entrusted them with new responsibilities.

We make judgment on people based on a few experiences. We are more than a few of our behaviors.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The Divine Mercy Sunday. The first Sunday after Easter is celebrated as Divine Mercy Sunday. In 1930, Jesus appeared to Faustina, A Polish Nun, and revealed to her the nature of God’s love. Jesus said to her: “My love is unlimited and available to all, especially to the poor sinners”. Jesus blessed her with a prayer for mercy. Sr. Faustina started a special devotion to the Divine Mercy of Jesus and popularized it. Our Late Holy Father Pope John Paul II encouraged this devotion and in 2000 on the day of her canonization, the Pope advised the universal church to celebrate this devotion on the first Sunday after Easter.

Mercy, another name for God. God is merciful and compassionate. The whole Bible is a series of stories that proclaim the unfailing and unconditional love of God towards humanity. The expressions like “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands, I have written your name; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:15-16) talk volumes about the nature of God’s love. The Evangelist John beautifully summarized the depth and width of God’s love in the following statement: “ For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” John 3:16).

Divine Mercy! What does it Means? The word mercy is derived from the Latin word misericordia. Miseriacordia is a combination of two words: miseri and cordia. Miseri means suffering and cordia means heart. Misericordia means a heart that is willing to suffer for others. God is merciful means that God has a heart which is willing to suffer for us, willing to do anything for us.

Jesus, Mercy incarnated. “I desire Mercy not sacrifice, I haven’t come to call the righteous but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). These words of Jesus beautifully explain how much Jesus possesses the heart and mind of God. Paul says: “God, who is rich in mercy, brought us to life with Christ” (Ephesians 2: 4). Sharing the mercy and love of God was Jesus’ mission. Jesus invited everyone “To find rest in him” (Matthew 12:28-30).

The readings for the second Sunday of Easter further substantiate this point. The Gospel (John 20:19-29) talks about two specific actions of Jesus that reflect his mercy and compassion.

1. When Jesus came to the room where disciples were hiding out of fear and remorse, he said to them: “Peace be with you, receive the Holy Spirit”. Jesus did not bring the past. He did not scold Peter for denying Him on the way to Calvary. Transcending the past, forgetting everything that had happened a couple of days ago, Jesus offered them peace and reconciliation.

By offering them the Holy Spirit, Jesus was absolving them from their failures because God the Holy Spirit is the principle agent of sanctification. This is evident, if you recall the prayer of absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “God, the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit upon the church for the forgiveness of sins…”

2. Jesus showed the same mercy towards Thomas too. When Thomas was reluctant to believe in the resurrection, Jesus came to him, showed his wounded hands and satisfied his desire in the way Thomas wanted.

The way of mercy is the way of Grace. God is merciful. It is not enough to receive mercy from God. We need to show mercy to others. This is evident when Jesus said: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7) and “I desire mercy not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mt 9:13). The disciples understood this message. After they themselves witnessed the mercy of Jesus, they started a new life style based on the same principle. The second reading (Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35) is the practical application of this new life style. “They took care of each other. There was no one among them who was in need”. Jesus expects us to show mercy to one another. On the day of the final Judgment, the only criterion that Jesus is going to use will be ‘whether we were merciful to one another’ (Matthew 25:40,45). Finally, as the second reading (1 John 5:1-6) states: When we practice mercy in our daily life, we proclaim that we are the children of God.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


As we gather this morning to celebrate Easter, I wish you all a very Happy Easter. Friends, Easter is not just another event. It is the center of our Faith. Paul says: And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile. If we look at the preaching of the first disciples of Jesus, they were all focused on the resurrection of Jesus. The preaching about Jesus’ teachings came much later.

What does Easter stand for? We may be able to look at the message of the Easter from different angles. However, the primary meaning of the Easter is hope. It is an invitation to ‘look beyond’ our expectation…Hope against hope. The paradise is not lost forever.

There is a great story. A father and his teenage son were living in Mexico City. They had had an argument, and the son, Rafael shouted curses at his father and then stormed out of the house and did not return. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. The father searched the city over and finally in desperation he went down to the newspaper and took out an add. It said, "Rafael, if you read this, I want you to know that all is forgiven. I love you and I will be waiting for you at this Sunday at the entrance to the city park. I hope you show up, love dad."

He said that Sunday morning 200 Rafaels showed up at the park, all looking for forgiveness.

There are so many people searching in this world, searching for forgiveness, for hope, for meaning.

The great message of Easter is that if Jesus Christ was powerful enough to move the stone and overcome the grave, then he is powerful enough to move the stones that are blocking my life.

Our tendency is to stay in the grave of our frustrations and disillusionment. Like in the story of Martha and Mary, our tendency is to think that even God is helpless. Remember what Mary said to Jesus: “Lord it is already four days? There will be a stench”. After crucifying Jesus, they left thinking that Jesus would never come back…They were proved wrong.

For God, nothing is too late, nothing is impossible. If he could roll away his stone, he could remove ours too. Therefore, Easter is a feast of Hope.

Secondly, Easter is all about the faithfulness of God. If we take God seriously, then God will take us seriously. Jesus abandoned his life in the hands of God. God did not abandon him. He raised him up and bestowed him the name that is above every name.

Easter also invites us to focus on what is lasting and eternal. Everything that is worldly, tangible and material will pass away. We do not have an eternal home here. We are travelers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012



A husband was feeling romantic one day. He tenderly asked his wife, “Do you love me?” The wife, too busy with the household chores, did not mind him. The man insisted, “We have been married for thirty years, and you rarely said you love me.” Again, the wife did not bother to answer him. The man was hurt. “Perhaps, you do not love me anymore because you do not want to say ‘I love you.” The wife stopped, looked at her husband in the face and said: “Every single day for thirty years, I cook your meals, I wash your clothes, I clean the house, I sleep with you, I take care of your children, and all these I do without pay. If this is not love, then what is it?”

The wife was right. She was expressing her love, not by words, but by action, and not only for a day, but every day for many years. On the other hand, the husband wanted to hear words of love. However, love is not an ordinary word; it is an action word. Without action, love remains an empty word.

In the Gospel of St. John, we read: “Jesus loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.” On Holy Thursday, the day before he suffered and died, Jesus showed his followers the depth of his love. He just did not say it – he showed it; he proved it.

First, he gathered them in the Upper Room for supper. It was his last supper with them. He did not only eat with them; he fed them. He gave them food to eat. By experience, we all know that nourishment is the best expression of love. The mother nursing her infant at her breast is the perfect picture of this. But Jesus did not only feed his followers. He himself became the food and drink: Taking the bread, he said to them, “This is my body. Eat it.” And taking the cup filled with wine, he said, “This is the cup of my blood. Drink it.”

The Eucharist is the sacrament of God’s love for us. This love is not meant to remain in the confines of the Upper Room; it is meant to be shared. That is why at the Last Supper, Jesus gave a deeper meaning to the Eucharist when he rose from the table and washed the feet of his apostles – his second act of love that evening. He removed his outer garment and bent down to wash the feet of his disciples. And he instructed them: “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. As I have done for you, you should also do.” The love we receive in the Eucharist should move and inspire us to render humble service to one another.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Priesthood when he instructed his apostles: “Do this in memory of me.” This is his third act of love that evening. It is through the priests, human instruments appointed by God that we receive the abundance of God’s love in the sacraments of the Church, especially the Eucharist. The priesthood and the Eucharist are intimately and essentially united. The Eucharist is continually offered by the ministry of the priesthood; and the priesthood gets its power and inspiration from the Eucharist. The one cannot do without the other.

Holy Thursday is a day of love – the day when Jesus showed us the depth of his love. He instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist where he gives us his own body and blood as our eternal food, and makes present to us in the here and now the eternal and one sacrifice he offered on the cross. And to make sure he continues to be with us as our eternal nourishment, he instituted the sacrament of the Priesthood. Through the ministry of priests, the Eucharist is celebrated until Jesus comes again in his glory. Finally, he washed the feet of the apostles to teach us by example that the love we receive in the Eucharist is meant to be lived in humble and loving service to one another, the essential fruit of the Eucharist and the mark of a true follower of Christ. Let every Eucharistic celebration arouse in us the irresistible desire to love and serve God and His people with the same love and service that Jesus has shown us.


One of my friends from a different faith asked me: Why you Catholics keep the image of the Crucified Jesus in your Church. Is he not risen?

On this Good Friday, let us together reflect on the meaning and implication of the Crucifixion and death of Jesus. What does the death of Jesus really means? To have an understanding of the meaning and implication of Jesus sacrifice on the Calvary, we need to pay attention to the two extraordinary events that happened at the time of his death.

According to the Scripture, when Jesus died, the Temple Curtain was torn down into two pieces from top to the bottom. Jerusalem Temple had a curtain. The purpose this curtain veil was to prevent the unclean men from approaching the Holy of Holies. Sin separated us from God…The immediate effect of his death was the removal of that separation….The Holy of holy become accessible to humanity…Havens were opened for us. When Jesus received baptism, heavens were opened for him. From the cross, from the heart of Jesus, when water and blood flowed and bathed the universe, the holy of Holies became accessible to everyone. The heart of God was revealed to the Humanity. The centurion understood this and representing the sinful humanity, he acclaimed, “This is really Son of God”.

Secondly, according to the Scripture, while Jesus was giving up his self, a powerful earthquake shook the earth, graves were opened, and the dead came back to life. By dying our death, Jesus defeated the power of the world and death… So the death of Jesus brought a new hope to the world….Therefore, this is a Good Friday….A Friday that defeated the power of death and the principalities of the world; A Friday that recaptured the lost paradise.

Jesus, however, achieved this, not by the display of power and might. The devil that tempted Jesus in the desert was present at Calvary. He said,” If you are son of God come down from the cross and save yourself and us….But Jesus rejected that path. He achieved it through obedience to the will of God the Father, even though it cost his life…..Jesus said: Father into your hands I place myself.

The death of Jesus on the Cross-clearly tells us…..The only way to Life is conformity to the plan of God even if it demands a huge price….The thief realized that….He won the paradise…We have a choice… The way to life is narrow and the way to destruction is wide.