Saturday, January 30, 2021

On God Rests the Foundation of Our Identity

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 31 January 2021

Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

(Photo courtesy: Jean Mark Arakelian)
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I.  Integration of Jesus in Jewish society

The gospel reading (Mark 1:21-28) has a dramatic scene: people are talking to one another Jesus’ ability to speak in a public worshipping place. Jesus a known figure but who did not belong to the group of Scribes and Pharisees had the capacity to teach the worshippers as if one had authority. Then there is a person embraced by the evil spirit, who shouts at Jesus. It seems that he has a stern and a bit commanding voice. But once Jesus says “be quiet” everything is mellowed down. In this gospel passage, the person with evil spirit has no name. His identity is rested on the evil that carried with him. Both at the beginning and the end, there is astonishment and amazement which puts people to think carefully. Jesus begins public life with public worship, practices the faith of his people and does public preaching. He becomes part of a society and in its life. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Fr Reginald Foster: My Unusual Latin Teacher, a Passionate and True "Latin Lover"

Fr Reginald Foster at his workplace in the Vatican Secretariate 

Why Latin?

There are very few teachers who leave behind an indelible mark in students' life.  I must confess that Fr Reggi is one of them. In Roman circles, he was known as Father Reggi, Pope's Latinist or "Latin Lover." Even though a year of Latin was enough to get the required credits to complete Bachelerate in Theology, because of the persona and his teaching, I opted for another year of Latin at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome. I should say that among all the languages that I have studied (Kannada, English, Hindi, Russian, Italian, Greek, French and German) learning Latin was fun. It is purely because of Fr Reggi.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Following the Lord Means God Becomes Focus of Our Attention

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 24 January 2021

Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 25:4-9; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20

(Vocation of the Apostles, a fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1481-82)
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We are living in a world where change is inevitable. People look for change not only in their lifestyle but also in the political life of the country. The euphoria of change is seen in its abundance at the wake of the corona pandemic which hit the world a year ago. From the Atlantic to the Indian ocean the world of politics has seen its change from a ranting boisterous president to a mild but a person of integrity in the person of Joe Biden. As the world breathes a sigh of relief with the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, the Catholic world must cheer.  Is it a change from the old self to a new self, or transformation of evil into good? We like to hear the word “change” often even though we may not be ready to embrace change in a radical way. We may accept changes theoretically but in practice, we might like to say let that change come later. In today’s world, we feel days pass by quickly and change occurs at great velocity. We have seen changes in our lives since the time we record our early stages of life. 

I. A change requires a commitment to a new way of life

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Hearing God's Voice in our Midst

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time: 17th January 2021

Readings: 1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19; Psalm 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; 1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20; John 1:35-42

(Lamb of God, Photo courtesy: creativecommons)

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I. Learning to listen to the voice of God

“Look, the Lamb of God” the pointed remark of John the Baptist at Jesus should intrigue us. John the Baptizer's job was to point people to Jesus, their long-awaited Messiah. Looking at both the prophets Eli in the first reading and John the Baptist in the Gospel, the prophets knew and recognised the longing for the call of God in their lives and the coming of the Messiah, the hope that had been passed from generation to generation. But this did not begin suddenly; rather, it grew and developed in them as they learned to listen to the voice of God. They learnt the art of discernment that is to know the Will of God. Samuel was no exception. God’s voice is not always easy to discern because it is seldom loud and never brash. It is much more likely to come to us quietly, in the quiet, maybe during the night, as Samuel found.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Baptism - A Sign of Our Belonging to God

The Baptism of the Lord.  Sunday 10 January 2021

Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10; Acts 10:34-38; Mark 1:7-11

(The Baptism of Christ, by Piero della Francesca c. 1450-60)

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I. We are guided by our ancestors

Most of the cultures or traditions have definite ways of educating their people. For example, in ancient India, there were sages or gurus who mastered a certain kind of ability to give spiritual counsel to the seekers. Russian history boasts about Starets or elders who have reached a stage where people run to them seeking spiritual advice. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

God Never Stops Making Himself Known

The Feast of the Epiphany (Manifestation) of the Lord. 03rd January 2021

Readings: Isaiah 60:1–6; Psalm 72:1–2, 7–8, 10–13; Ephesians 3:2–3, 5–6; Matthew 2:1–12

Adoration of the Magi, oil on wood by Perugino, c. 1496–98; in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, France.

The feast of Epiphany that we celebrate today symbolizes God’s public manifestation in a concrete way to the three wise men of the East. They have become known most commonly as Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. The child that was born on Christmas is revealed to be the long-awaited king of the Jews. Most of the Orthodox Christians including our Byzantine rite Catholics celebrate Christmas today (Jan. 07th) as the manifestation of the Lord for humanity. So if you meet any Orthodox Christians today or tomorrow you can wish them happy Christmas. There is a discrepancy between the Julian and Gregorian calendars of 13 days. 

I. We are pilgrims and seekers