Sunday, November 17, 2019

Align with God and You will Shine Brightly

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C - Readings: Malachi 3:19-20A; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19
(The Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, Francesco Hayez, 1867)

The readings of today call us to align with God our Creator, thus we may shine brightly. We are invited not to be distracted even by beautiful parts of our life. Instead, we are called to know the reality of life. What remains with us is true reality and that true reality is God. In other words, we are invited to enter fully into God's reality.   

Gospel reading of today reminds us that not to too attached to the present state of the world - even the beautiful parts, even our life here. Because everything pales in comparison to the life God has in mind. 

The God of the scriptures is the God of righteousness. Such a God of justice lifts up the poor, holds servants in highest esteem, forgives the unforgiveable, loves those who disown Him.  We can see the God's justice from different perspectives. Justice is sun: it destroys with a blazing heat and heals with rays of light. Justice is a witness to God: it leads to martyrdom and eternal life. 

Therefore, I am called to align with God. Thus I may be healed than destroyed by God's justice. Then my identity will be perfect when I align with God's justice which comprises when I practice mercy, forgive others and myself, practice love, do good, practice service, show compassion and mercy, be nice to others and see the good in people. Thus others joy becomes my joy, others healing becomes my healing. As a consequence, I might shine brightly.

C. S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, gives allegory of the afterlife in which he tells us when people arrive in heaven, even the softest grass in heaven feels like knives to their feet. Giving witness to the Gospel is to critique of our contemporary ways of living despite the reaction they might provoke. "To live here is to change often is to become more perfect"(Newman)

St John Henry Newman wrote beautifully this poem which tells us the nature of God: "Lead, kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom, lead thou me on." In this connection, we could ask for a grace to discern our life in the Spirit, so that we authentically align with God to shine brightly on this universe. 

- Olvin Veigas, SJ

17th October 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Being Radically Different for the Kingdom of God

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time C - Readings: 2 Maccabees 7:1–2, 9–14; 2 Thessalonians 2:16–3:5; Luke 20:27–38
(Icon of Christ Pantocrator from Macedonia, 14th C)

"Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive." (Luke 28:38)

We are God's making. He created us in his image and likeness. God did not fashion death, he didn’t make it.  Could we go further, then, and see in death some kind of advantage?  The horizon is a helpful boundary to our vision. The frame of a painting can highlight the beauty and value of what is contained within.  St Ambrose recalls that ‘death was not of God’s fashioning’ (Wis 1:13) but goes on to argue that God gave us death as a 'remedy’ for our sinful and pitiful condition: ‘Deathlessness is no blessing but only a weariness if grace does not transfigure it.’ 

"God didn’t make death. God takes no delight in the ruin of anything that lives.  God created everything so that it might exist.  The creative forces at work in the cosmos are life-giving.  There is no destructive poison in them.  The underworld[a] doesn’t rule on earth." [Wisdom 1:13-15 Common English Bible (CEB)] Further the book of Wisdom says, "God created us for incorruption, and made us in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his company experience it.  But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them." [Wisdom 2: 23] 

We can start to become reconciled to our mortality when we learn to see death as a new beginning, not merely an end.  God is our future and He is our end.  This is the faith of the saints.  St Thomas More, the day before his martyrdom, wrote to his daughter Margaret Roper, praying that ‘we maie merily meete in heaven’. 

We will not see our end instead we will see our end in God.  If God brings forth life in us, will he not give us life even if our bodies get old, die and decomposed.  Our life after this earthly pilgrimage would be absolutely different from what we have now with all its culture, tradition, system, norms, values, patterns of seasons, etc.  Certainly, it would be another new beginning in God.

Therefore, Jesus calls us to be radically different form others but for the sake of the Kingdom. Our existential questions will have meaning only in God. Only God can give meaning to our lives.

- Olvin Veigas, SJ

10 November 2019

Saturday, November 2, 2019

God Comes to Us Where We are

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time C - Readings: Wisdom 11:22-12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10
(Zacchaeus and Jesus)

"God is lover of life" says the book of Wisdom. He has fashioned us in such a way that His dream for us is fulfilled in our life.  Therefore, God implanted in us a deep desire for him (Desiderium Dei).  Zacchaeus too had a deep desire to see Jesus and save his soul.  This aspiration of him is fulfilled when Jesus himself recognises Zacchaeus on a sycamore tree. Moreover, Jesus goes to the house of the so called "sinner" and touches the conscious of the rich man which is so beautifully gets transformed.  When we desire for God, He comes to us where we are. When we desire salvation, it comes to us where we are.   

Olvin Veigas, SJ

02 November 2019