Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Holy Week Triduum 2016



The triduum of Holy Thursday today, Good Friday and Easter signify important virtues that were portrayed by Jesus in the most impressive way by his Passion,death and resurrection.

Image result for pope francis washing inmates feet 
The washing of the feet of his apostles on Holy Thursday was an act of extreme humility that Jesus wants us to emulate in our own lives. “If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other's feet”(John13:14).

Pope Francis washed the feet of prisoners and vagabonds to highlight the humility that Jesus wanted to show us. How willing are we to wash the feet of others, especially those under our care and less fortunate than us?

On Good Friday tomorrow we commemorate the Passion of Christ that led to his most brutal crucifixion. In His agonizing Passion and death on the cross he demonstrated his forgiveness towards even those who insulted and persecuted him in the cruelest form. Instead of retaliating with anger and vengeance he reacted with love and forgiveness. As he hung on the cross dying he could still say, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing”(Luke 23:34).This is something no ordinary man can and will do.

The Holy Week culminates in the resurrection of Jesus that symbolizes his victory over death and sin, His resurrection gives us hope that if we continue to do his will and suffer as a result we too will one day come out victorious over the evils in our hearts.

Reflections

Jesus accepted the persecution and humiliation of his Passion willingly without anger and hatred for those who inflicted pain and insult on him.

How do we react towards those who hurt us, insult us and even plot our downfall? How do we react towards those who betray us, punish us unjustly and rob us of our possessions, peace and happiness? Do we harbor hatred and anger against those who have hurt us? Are we willing to forgive those who have hurt us? Are we willing to go out of the way to seek forgiveness from those we have hurt?

Image result for helping the poor and needy 

Today one of the main sickness in our society is apathy that was illustrated by Pontius Pilate in dealing with the trial and sentencing of Jesus. We may be too busy with our work and struggling to make ends meet. We may be too busy to earn to support our family as the cost of living has escalated to levels beyond our reach. In this process we tend to forget those less fortunate than us. We become devoid of feelings for others who may be in pain and agony. They may not need money but just our time, our smile and some comforting words which we find hard to give.

Then there are those who are treated unjustly in our midst, our colleagues and subordinates. They are overworked, underpaid and rights denied and even abused. We may be in a position to do or at least say something in their support but we are too afraid and remain silent.

The triduum is not about feeling sorry for Jesus for his agonizing death on the cross. It is a time to reflect on our attitude towards others with regards to humility and forgiveness. It is about compassion towards others who are less fortunate than us, to feel for them and do the little we can to support them in whatever way we can. Finally it is about giving some hope to those who feel hopeless.


Have a Holy and Blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday 2016

Courage and hope in an environment of fear and injustice

Today Christians celebrated Palm  Sunday, remembering the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.We waved palms as the priest led the congregation in procession into the church where the passion was read.

Palm Sunday should mean more than just waving palms and shouting Hosana. It should mean more than just reading the Passion and feeling sorry for the suffering of Jesus.

Palm Sunday should mean courage to do the right in an environment of evil. It should mean courage to stand for truth and justice in an environment of false and injustice and hippocricy.

It is a day to open our hearts to allow Jesus ride into our lives to give us that courage which is badly  lacking in our society today and sadly even in our church.

This is especially so today in our country which is in turmoil as  evil seem to rule over good,in the "Cash is King" policy.

When everything seem to go wrong we need hope,we need courage and and most of all humility.These are what Jesus demonstrated on Palm Sunday.

Jesus was ready to take up his cross but are we ready to take up ours?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lessons on marriage from a successful couple



Marriages are made on earth in front of God
Recently I had the opportunity to attend a dinner in honour of a couple celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary. They were both in their late sixties and did have much wealth or in high positions but were extremely happy spending their time visiting their grown up children and grandchildren locally and overseas. I am sure they had their problems and challenges in their lives which they had managed to overcome and keeping their marriage intact for such a long time. I was impressed with what the wife said about the success of their married life.  
She gave wonderful account of their secret of success being together despite the ups and downs in their life. It was nothing but love which we all take for granted. To her, love for her husband consisted of 2 things. Firstly it was forgiving him for whatever he said or did that hurt her as she believed that “he does not know what he was doing” and secondly she was always quick to say “I’m sorry” whenever she feels she had said or done something wrong. It was that simple which many couples find it so difficult to do thereby resulting in breakdown of their marriage and their family. 
I am sure all of us who are already married for years now have a lot to learn from this elderly couple. Their experience is a great lesson for not just us but many who are in the process of taking their first step into married life. In a world driver by materialism, matrimony is fast losing its sanctity leading to infidelity and divorce but to have a couple who has been faithful to each other for 45 long years in our midst is indeed a blessing for us which we must treasure to the utmost.
Marriage is not about finding the right partner but being the right partner ourselves as there will be never a perfect person readymade for anyone. It is we who make the marriage not others as they will never be able to that. We often belief that marriages are made in heaven and pass the responsibility to God to keep us together in thick and thin, not realising that marriages, may be made in the presence of God, but is made right here on earth, in our homes and families. Others can only break not make a marriage.
Almost every marriage starts out as a huge and at times a grand celebration. Together with their family and friends, each couple is full of hopes and dreams for their future life together. But the road to a happy marriage is far from easy. As today’s divorce statistics demonstrate all too well, many couples opt not to complete the journey. Very often they drop off their journey for very trivial reasons.
Most problems that lead to the breakdown in marriage can be traced back to the most important factor- love, which we all think we have in abundance for each other. True, we may have abundance of love for each other when we started the journey years back but during the course of the arduous journey through rough terrain, we find the love that we thought was deep enough was just not strong enough to keep us bound together. It was just the physical beauty that kept us together not true love that could stand the test of time.
The type of love that is needed in marriage is well described in 1Corinthians 13, “Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong doing. It does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.".Do we have such a love for our spouse?
The first 20 years of marriage is usually the happiest time when the children are small and we slog for their happiness and well being. Indeed their happiness brings great satisfaction to us. All that is needed is hard work for which we had energy in abundance at that stage in our lives. We have the strength, charm and beauty of youth which keeps us together as husband and wife.
The second 20 years is the most trying time as during that time we begin to lose our physical beauty and vitality. The children leave home and their peer influence becomes stronger that our own. They become independent making important decisions by themselves at times not even consulting us. We watch helplessly with dismay when our children make wrong decisions in major events in their lives.
It is the period of trials and tribulations when sickness and other tragedies may strike us and our families. It is a period of great difficulties, uncertainties and trials which can drive apart even the most loving couples.
It is the time when our trust in God is being put to the test. It is very to say “Lord I love you” when times are good but extremely difficult to say that in times of tragedy. If we can remain united, endure and overcome the pain together as husband and wife with unwavering trust in God during this period of great difficulties as we promised to God when we took our matrimonial vows, then He will bless us with success, peace and happiness in the final stage of our journey in life.
It is in difficulties that we become closer if only we keep our promise to God and to our spouse to be “true to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love  and honour each other all the days of our life till death do us apart.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Honouring successful marriages



I had the opportunity to attend the golden wedding anniversary of an elderly couple lately. I was impressed with the way the duo lived their lives together for 50 long years, each saying they always gave in to the wishes of the other whenever some disagreement arose. They did this not because of fear but love. That they said was the success of their marriage for fifty long years.
Matrimony is a Sacrament instituted by the church to safeguard the sanctity of marriage. It was a time when the couple took their solemn wows in the presence of God to be always true to each other not for a year or two but till death. The couple who celebrated their 50 years of marriage did so with so much pride which touched me as they consider their wedding day to be so important in their lives.
The Church which gives great importance to the Sacrament of Matrimony does not seem have the same level of enthusiasm to appreciate and honour couples who have gone through marriage, successfully holding on their wow with great difficulty, some over 50 years.
The institution of marriage today is being seriously threatened with moral decay and divorce. We all have a role to play to stop this decay and the Church as a moral institution should take lead. It could do this by giving more importance and greater emphasis to wedding anniversaries of couples in their congregation. Couples wanting to celebrate their silver and golden anniversaries must be encouraged and hold these officially in the church with special masses and blessings by the priests. 
Those of us having gone through many years of successful marriage will understand the pains and trials we had undergone to build and keep our families together. It is sad that many such couples are not appreciated by the congregation and the priests and at times by even their own children.
The least we can do is to acknowledge the married couples in our midst for the sacrifice, perseverance and love for one another is not by giving money or gifts but by just greeting them from the bottom of our hearts.