Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Reflection 2013

Jesus is risen and alive in our midst

Tomorrow we will be celebrating the great feast of Easter that marks the resurrection of Jesus. The church considers this as the greatest feast in its liturgical calendar as the resurrection forms the basic foundation of our faith.
The resurrection of Jesus 3 days after his death on the cross remains a mystery despite being clearly documented in the Gospels as witnessed by those close to him. It could have taken place 3 millenniums ago but it continues to be the strength of our faith.

What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to us today? It is not so much of Jesus walking out of death and physically ascending into the heavens. Instead it is more about Jesus being still alive in our midst today despite being crucified more than 2,000 years ago. He may not be physically visible, heard or felt but he is definitely present in each and every person we meet and in every event that occurs in our lives, good and bad alike. If we believe in his resurrection, then we must believe that he is alive in each and everyone one of us.

In whatever we do or say we must bear in mind the words of Jesus, Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.”(Mathew25:40). It doesn’t matter who the person is but as long as we do something to him we do it to Jesus as Jesus lives in that person with whom we deal. If only we realize this basic fact that Jesus left behind by Jesus we will never do bad to anybody but only good. If only we understand this fact, we will not waste our time, money and energy in search of the risen Jesus in places he may not dwell. 

As we celebrate Easter seek that risen Jesus in everyone we meet especially the poor and despised. Let us seek him in every problem that we face as we journey through life.

A blessed and joyous Easter

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday - forgiveness

Cross - Love, Sacrifice, Forgiveness 
Today on Good Friday Catholics will gather in churches to commemorate the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. One of the most significant rituals in today’s celebration is the veneration of the cross, when the members of the congregation take turns to honor and kiss the cross on which Jesus died. It used to be a very exciting ritual when we were young but today I wonder whether what we did then was just a ritual without any real meaning in our lives.

Today being much older and having undergone the bitter and happy experiences in life we tend to understand the true meaning of the cross. The cross reminds of the agonizing final moments of Jesus before his death. It reminds us of the excruciating pain Jesus would have endured before he was mercilessly nailed to the cross. It was truly a very painful time but the beauty was that Jesus did not resist arrest and subsequent torture before finally being crucified. He accepted all that willingly without anger and hate for those who plotted and killed him for standing up for truth. He even forgave those who tortured him by saying, “Father forgive them as they not know what they do”. This extreme sacrifice and forgiveness is what makes Jesus different from ordinary humans like you and I. His Passion and death was a wonderful lesson for all us who fight and kill to fulfill our greed and jealousy.

Today the cross to us refers to the numerous trials and tribulation that we have to undergo in life from the time of birth till death; as a student, working adult, a husband or wife, a parent, a caring child to our parents, a retiree and finally as a neglected elderly parent during the last days of our lives. It refers to the many troubles we face in standing up for truth and justice in this world where the meek and humble are bullied. It refers to the many challenges we face in bringing up our children through thick and thin. It refers to the pain we undergo when our children neglect us at the time when we need them most. It refers to the pain and suffering we undergo when a major illness or tragedy strikes us and our families. Finally it refers to the pain that we go through when someone close leaves us and when people who meant so much us betray us.
The cross should remind us fop the need to have a heart to forgive even the cruelest and those who do all kinds of harm to us. It should also remind us not resort to anger, hate or violence even against those who hurt us.

As we venerate the cross today let us remember the many people around us who may be suffering like Jesus on that fateful day of his crucifixion. Let us remember the many people who are longing for food, shelter and above all for our love and consoling words and physical presence.

Let us pray for those suppressed and despised in society and those seriously ill or dying. Let pray asking God to give us the courage and a loving heart to bring a little comfort to them. Let us finally pray that God give us the virtue forgiveness, to forgive even our worst enemies.

The cross is not a symbol of sorrow but one of love, sacrifice and forgiveness

Have a Blessed and Thoughtful Good Friday

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Thursday – humility in our lives

 Jesus washing the feet of his apostles

The most significant act of Jesus that we commemorate on Holy Thursday is the washing of the feet of the apostles by none other than their master, Jesus himself. This act is one of extreme humility that Jesus wants us to emulate in our own lives when he said, “If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must    you must wash each other's feet”(John13:14).

Today over 2,000 years later we still remember this act and our priests without fail wash the feet of their parishioners on every Holy Thursday. But do they do it out of humility or is it just a ritual that has to be done every year? Unfortunately to many of us too it is has become just a ritual of humility which we forget soon after we leave the church. 

The decision of Pope Francis to say his Holy Thursday Mass at a juvenile detention center in Rome and wash the feet of the inmates there is a very bold but right move, which shows his humility. This humility    is the real meaning of the Last Supper of Jesus. The Holy Father by his actions is leading his clergy to serve their congregation with humility. He is leading us too to serve those under our care with humility.

The question is how willing are we go down to wash the feet of those less fortunate than us. It is not literally washing their feet but going down to their level to be part of their sorrow and joy. On Holy Thursday by washing the feet of his apostles, Jesus is calling us to put aside our pride and be one with those who are poor and despised, to empathize with their plight and share the little we have with those who don’t have any. Humility should be our way of life not just on this Holy Thursday but throughout our life.

Let us pray specially this Holy Thursday that God grant us the wisdom and courage to choose the right people as our elected representatives in the coming 13GE to serve the people with humility and simplicity.

Have a blessed Holy Thursday

Monday, March 25, 2013

Palm Sunday – Courage to do right

Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday which commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem just before his most cruel and agonizing torture and death of the cross. On Palm Sunday the people gave him a rousing welcome like a king, waving palms and shouting “Hosanna”, but days later those very people turned against him and turned him over to the Romans to be killed in the cruelest way – crucifixion
This action of Jesus, to me illustrates 2 important things in life even today and I am sure you will feel the same way as you go through life. The first lesson is about what we should do and the second is about what we shouldn’t.

1. Courage to do the right. Jesus knew well he was going to be betrayed and put to death. He knew that the death will be most agonizing and painful but he still went ahead to go through without any anger or hate for the people who betrayed him or the powerful forces that crucified him.

In our own life, in the family, in the place of work, in the church and in our country, we too are faced with such challenges, may be not to that extent. We are often called to stand up for truth and justice. Do we have the courage to do so? When we do the right thing we are criticized and condemned and even isolated. Do we have the courage to stand up and continue doing the right?

2. Selfish in protecting our selves. The Jews knew that Jesus was right and speaking the truth which hurt and angered those in power, as truth always does. In order to save themselves they quickly ‘sacrificed’ Jesus and stood idle watching him being tortured and crucified right in front of their eyes. They even denied knowing him altogether .Even Peter, the closest to Jesus denied knowing him.

This type of selfish behavior is commonly seen in our lives. The good always seem to be victimized and the majority cunningly escape and standby watching the good being punished. But Jesus showed and demonstrated to us that the good will always come out victorious in the end.

Let us reflect on this historical fact demonstrated by Jesus on Pam Sunday. It is not just about waving palms and shouting “Hosanna” but is  all about trying to emulate what Jesus was trying to teach us by his joyous entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey over 2,000 years ago. It is about having courage to do the right and not selfishly standing idle and watch the good being sacrificed on our behalf.

In our country we are now being faced with that courage to take the risk to bring change for good or being selfish and  stand idle watching others who fight for us and face the consequences all by themselves.Yes, I am referring to the 13GE,the most crucial in our country.Do we have the courage to say no to corruption,power abuse and racism and yes to CHANGE?  

Have a blessed Holy Week