Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Problem of Prison

I have a colleague who loves the spice. Yesterday someone asked her, “Do you put sugar in your tea... or would you rather have it with chilli”. The reading of yesterday reminded me of this as the Prophet Ezekiel found the scroll with Lamentations as sweet of honey. Top that up with a song from the Mary Poppins movie - Just A Spoonful Of Sugar - made the message go down.

August 14th is the Feast Day of St. Maximilian Kolbe - a brave priest who willingly took the place of another at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. I read a fantastic report in the Reader’s Digest July 2017 issue titled ‘Father Kolbe’s Last Gift’. Can’t share the article here, but here’s something I can - 9 Things To Know About St. Maximillian Kolbe.

You Are Not Alone - I spotted this poster on the notice board in the parish and stopped by to read it.  Over recent years, Pope Francis has drawn attention to the plight of prisoners incarcerated at Detention Centres and Prisons through his regular visits to the institutions. Further, it has become a regular feature for him to celebrate Maundy Thursday with the washing of feet of prisoners. The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Bombay observed Prison Ministry Sunday last Sunday to commemorate the feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe.

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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Friendship is....

Image result for jesus is my best friend

It's the month of August.... and the first Sunday of August is celebrated as #FriendshipDay....

While the youngsters celebrate the day sharing Friendship Bands and Friendship Ribbons... the older among us use the opportunity to connect with old friends who may be far and wide in different corners of the world. 

However many friends we may have on the various social networks, there is one friend that we all need to value and cherish. 

Over the past week, the Creative and Social Media team at the Archdiocese of Mumbai have been fairly busy putting an interesting spin to What Friendship really is.... Found the following creatives on their Facebook Page.

If you like these references, LIKE them or SHARE them...

Or even better, go through your BIBLE and search for more verses on Friendship.... and share them with us in the comments. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

FAITH is...

What is FAITH?

I was running a little late on Sunday morning, and took a rickshaw to church... But when I got there, it was time to think about a walk... A walk up the hill out of the cave with Elijah... Or a walk on the water with Jesus like Simon Peter. Later on in the homily, I heard about a tightrope walk.... The story of Blondin.

After Peter was pulled out from sinking in the lake, he had to listen to the rebuke from his Lord. "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" - Mathew 14:31.

Just the previous day - in Saturday's liturgy - we were told about how much faith we should have. "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." - Mathew 17:20 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I read the faith story of Father Kolbe (St. Maximilian Kolbe) who's feast we celebrated yesterday.... And today we celebrated the feast of possible the most faithful person of all history - The feast of the Assumption of our Lady, giving us the wonderful example of her total faith in the will of God. 

Wouldn't you like to move mountains? Who wouldn't.... We have plenty of opportunities to build our faith. From seeking to encounter Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or in His Word in the Holy Bible... But many of us need more help to get there. If you're a young resident of Mumbai or nearby.... a wonderful opportunity awaits you in a couple of weeks from now.... and what's more, its not far from the mountains.... I'm talking about the DYC Retreat happening later this month titled Faith at the Foothills. Do check out details and register if you have the chance. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Lord and My God

"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail-marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."


We've all heard the quote above. And possibly wondered about the context of the quote. In fact the question earned St. Thomas the nickname of Doubting Thomas that we use even today to our friends raise doubts in our 'oh-so-perfect' plans.

Over the past two years I have taken on a role as Guest Faculty at a couple of MBA institutes. As educators, we encourage our students to be curious - to ask as many questions that they like to get a better understanding of the subject. At the same time, a silent fear grips most of us in the case that the student poses a question that we may not be fully prepared with a suitable reply. But when we do share our experience, or answer the question to the satisfaction of the student, and we have an absolute enthusiast to support us. 

Thomas raised a question and was challenged by Jesus when he showed him the scars of the Crucifixion and invited him to touch and feel them and see that they were real. Thomas did not need to. Just the invitation was challenge enough for him to see Jesus as what he truly was - My Lord and My God!

And the conviction of the exclamation was so strong that it removed all obstacles to his faith. We in India are indeed fortunate to have as our patron - the Apostle of India - this ordinary man whom we can all relate to in his doubts, fears and challenges. But whose faith drove him to move mountains... rather across the many seas to our far-away land, where he came on his own to proclaim that 'The Lord Is Risen.'

How convinced am I about the Risen Lord? How much trust and hope do I place in Him? While in many places in the Bible, we see people just like us in weakness, we also see the extent that faith takes them to. St. Thomas' faith in God sent him as far as India and beyond to preach the Good News. As we look at the life of Thomas, may we all be motivated to see the Lord and Master as He truly is - My Lord and My God!. And let's be motivated to live our every situation of our lives, in total surrender to this God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life". (John 3:16).

Friday, May 26, 2017

Awaiting The Arrival

"Eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little one..." said the post of one of my friends on Facebook...

Earlier this month, my wife and I were looking back down the years and recounting our own experiences of the joy of childbirth... both our sons are born in the month of May (the month of Mary).... And the most memorable moment was being in the Labor Room at the time of birth. 

Today's Gospel (John 16:21) makes a reference to woman in labor... not the only one though...
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world."

The analogy very aptly draws our attention to the thin line between pain and joy... grief and happiness - from Jesus going away... to the coming of the Holy Spirit who empowers us in everything we do... if only we let him...

Today around the world, we start the Novena to the Holy Spirit in preparation for Pentecost... and we seek to make our hearts ready to receive him and proclaim him at Pentecost. Let us too do our part in making room for the Holy Spirit... Come Holy Spirit....

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Escape To Victory

Spotted a headline in the Sports section of the newspaper yesterday - 'Mumbai Escape to Victory'. While the report described the last over win for the Mumbai Indians over the Pune Super Giants in the IPL Cricket Final. 

Escape to Victory is also the name of the 1981 football movie featuring football greats Pele and Bobby Moore alongside Hollywood stars including Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine as the team of Allied prisoners play the Nazi soldiers in a challenging game of football that engineers their escape.

Today's first reading (Acts 16:22-34) has an account of another group of prisoners - Paul and Silas... They do not have to keep their nerves about the game, but surrender their all to the Lord in prayer.

In the earthquake that ensued, the prisoners were set free from their physical chains. But the jailer had a greater freedom, having being freed from the chains of death... and more importantly having received the VICTORY of faith. 

What chains am I caught in? What will it take to break free?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Giovanni Paolo II

Giovanni Paolo II 

that's Italian for John Paul II.

Saint John Paul II held the papacy for a whopping 26 years, from October 16th, 1978 to April 2nd, 2005. During that time he published 14 encyclicals, started World Youth Day, led the Church through a special jubilee for the year 2000, visited 129 countries, canonized 483 saints, instituted Divine Mercy Sunday, added the Luminous Mysteries to the rosary, and much more.

During his life and his pontificate, Pope John Paul II reached many, both Catholic and non-Catholic, with the depth of his insight into the human spirit. As we remember him today on what would have been his 97th birthday, we remember the words from his first homily as Pope.

Saint Pope John Paul II was a true example of God's love and mercy. One of his best remembered pictures is the one that appeared on the cover of #Time magazine in 1983 featuring him with Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who had tried to assassinate him two years earlier. 

Each of us is special in the eyes of God, who has made us in His own image and likeness. 

How should we live our life?

All of us are called to be saints...

Some years ago, I came across this CD paying tribute to Pope John Paul II featuring the song up above.

Here's another beautiful song from Pope John Paul II-The Tribute Album - On Eagle's Wings (Michael Crawford).

The Problem of Prison

I have a colleague who loves the spice. Yesterday someone asked her, “Do you put sugar in your tea... or would you rather have it with c...