Hope at times makes no sense, and we tell ourselves to not keep our hopes high so that we won’t be disappointed later, and I read one of my friends IG story asking “What does ‘This too shall pass’ mean anymore?” This is definitely one of the greatest testing time of our lives, we dread the news each day, I hate looking at my phone every morning for the fear of more “not so great news”, and I dread the times when the phone rings unexpectedly. Ironically, to our human eyes when we look for a justification for “This too shall pass”, all we see is more cases around us, or us coming into direct contact with a Covid positive unknowingly, or family members being tested, close ones and acquaintances dying, news of possible floods as if a pandemic wasn’t enough.. As if that wasn’t enough, of riots, explosions and plane crashes? All like an icing on the cake of 2020!Continue reading “The Flickering Light at the End of the Tunnel.”
Ever wondered what your purpose in life is? Perhaps it is a question that keeps you up at night!
I know I have pondered over that multiple times myself, and as a student of Philosophy, I’m surrounded by people who wonder the same. If that wasn’t enough, I read and study about the works of people who, over time, have encountered the same conundrum. The answer to this big mystery is merely in the journey of life.
“Blessed are they that mourn,” and “woe unto them that laugh” said Christ. How does St. Paul then say, “Rejoice in the Lord always”? The laughter of this world is what Christ talks about when he says “Woe unto them that laugh”. He also blessed those that mourn, not simply for worldly reasons but those who are pricked at heart, who mourn their own faults, and take count of their own sins. For he who grieves for his own faults, and confesses to, rejoices. Because you lead a life of suffering for Christ , rejoice. Or when your communion with God is not hindered, rejoice..
Rejoice in the Lord is a command that we are bound to adhere to. It is not an option. The source of our rejoicing is the salvation. The faith of the church is based on the belief in the Holy Trinity. The love of God the Father, the grace of his only begotten Son and fellowship of the Holy Spirit is more than enough reason to rejoice. How can the trinity be a source of rejoicing for me? I thought it was just another theological teaching .
The love of god the father is accepting human beings as his own children. Imagine that tomorrow a rich millionaire decides to adopt me with no conditions attached. Wouldn’t I be deliriously joyful to inherit all that belongs of the millionaire though I have no reason to deserve any of his wealth? How much more happier should we be that we have been called the children of God. We have seen husbands and wives divorce. But nobody divorces their child no matter how bad he or she is. That is why baptism is a sacrament that is not repeated. Even if I may sin or mess up my life I don’t have to be baptized again to be called His son. To God I am a son just like Jesus is his son. He looks at me and sees Jesus in me. Isn’t the love of God the Father worth rejoicing?
The word grace means to receive a gift that one does not deserve. Similar to the grace time of 10 minutes while writing an exam, grace when a loan doesn’t have to be repaid. What if I am a sinner and I don’t deserve grace? Nobody deserves grace, that’s why its called grace. Sometimes, like the prodigal son we lose everything god has given us. Our purity, talents, our sanity. But His outstretched arms welcomes us back always, each and every time because our sins have been paid for by His blood. When we come here to receive holy communion there are no pay back conditions and list of punishments to be followed to be able to receive his body and blood. If anyone comes to me I will by no means cast him out. Unconditional grace of the son. Isn’t that reason enough to rejoice ?
Because I am a son and I am in the image of lord Jesus forgiven by his grace, I am given something that even prophets in the Old Testament would die to have a little bit of which is the gift of Holy Spirit living in me, guiding me, blessing me, making me in the image of Christ, uniting me with Christ, giving me love joy peace and all the fruits of the spirit. It gives me everything that nothing in the world can give me.
Fellowship of the spirit is sealed in to us in Baptism and confirmed again during our Confirmation. However far can I go from his presence this seal cannot be broken..? Isn’t this fellowship reason enough to rejoice?
Why is it then that we don’t feel joyful? Because we allow our emotions to rule us and not our faith. I am so used to paying for my faults that I can’t comprehend free grace. I cant discern that my sins have been paid for. So I go back to paying heed to my feelings that eventually take me away from God.
Mother Mary’s response to that news of the angel Gabriel is beyond our understanding. Despite the fear and godly wonder and a whole gamut of emotions that must have run through her teenage mind , she allowed her faith to take over and not her emotions. Which is why she said “my spirit rejoices in god”
The lives and examples of all the other saints including St.Paul who went through a lot of torment and yet uttered this verse, is enough reason for us to follow this commandment.
May the love of the Father, the grace of the only begotten Son and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit keep us rejoicing in Him always.
The Parable of the Great Banquet
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
This passage may stir some confusion in us. Why would the man invite ordinary people to the banquet? In Letter to the Colossians 3:5-14, St. Paul talks about our old, immoral practices lacking of the Creator’s wisdom. We are called to be the imitators of Christ, “Christians”. He calls us now to be renewed in compassion, kindness and patience and to forgive as we have been forgiven by God.
God has invited us all to the vast banquet that is his kingdom. How we respond to this invitation is important to our moral well-being. If we do not attend it despite being invited and choose to use the invitation at our own will, we would be like those who born into the Church in someway and then took it for granted. On the other hand, if we consider this invitation with a lot of importance, we would enthusiastically attend his banquet every single time. These are like the Gentiles, who were converted and redeemed by the grace of God. Because we know that like them, the cause of our redemption too was this banquet from the Kingdom of Heaven, and so we can not do without it.
We are honoured to be invited to such a banquet, but we have to fulfil certain duties as a Christian individual in order to continue receiving gifts from the kingdom of God. Analogously, although we receive a lot of grace during Mass, that doesn’t imply that we can enter the Kingdom of God. We have to be Christ like, as St. Paul says, change our old ways, rid our youthful follies, and clothe ourselves with ‘’compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’’. And we must do this not out of a sense of effort, but by emptying ourselves so that we can be filled by the Holy Spirit. So, during this season of Advent, let us make an attempt to clothe ourselves with gifts of the Holy Spirit, everyday.
Collaborated by Arun Soni and Joel Vasanth.
Samantha wanted a teddy. There was this small brown one that she had been eyeing for days! She asked her parents but they didn’t give her a response. A few more days went by before she placed this request again. This time also, her parents were busy. In her restless waiting and her relentless desire, she decided that she was done. It was time to take matter into her own hands! She went to the store and enquired about the price. “$15”, the shopkeeper said. Hopeful, she went back home to open her piggy bank. “1…2…3.. That’s a total of $1 and 24 cents!”, she declared. Determined, she started helping out around the house and even opened a lemonade stand to help her get the money. The only thought that was running through her mind was, ‘I want that brown teddy’.
A few days went by and she still didn’t have the money for the toy. Over a week, she managed to make two extra bucks and a few cents. She even gave up on ice cream to save some quarters. She had collected $5 and 12 cents. Hopeful, she went into the store to buy her teddy. The shopkeeper who had seen this girl before, politely told her that she could not afford the bear she came in for, however, there were other toys she could get for $5. Upset, she went back home. The little thing cried herself to sleep.
Soon she woke up to a gentle, yet familiar nudge. As she opened her eyes, she saw the teddy she had been longing for. ‘Surely this must be a dream’, she thought. But she saw then, her parents handing her a big, brown tear with beady eyes, a shiny nose and a big, red bow! Suddenly, her efforts didn’t seem futile and her joy knew no bounds. Seeing her constant and persistent efforts, her parents bought her the best teddy bear that the store had to offer! Although it was expensive, they knew that their daughter deserved every bit of it.
We all have a wonderful, provident Heavenly Father who know our every need before we ask Him. He knows the perfect gift, the perfect time, the perfect place and the perfect situation to present it to us. Very often, we get caught up in our desires for what we believe is the best, that we fail to wait on the Father. The Father, who knows best, waits for us to kill our desires to be able to prepare ourselves better for His present. He never gives us anything unless we are ready to accept His will first. But first, we need to be be dead to our desires and patiently wait on Him.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..