Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Even God couldn't resist...

Mary, Mother of God (Lk 2: 16-21)

A small boy ran up to his mother, hugged her tight and exclaimed, “You are the best mom in the whole world!” The mother smiled and asked, “How do you know that? You have not met every mom in the whole world.” Her son gave her another hug and said, “Yes, I have. You are my world.” One has only to look with the eyes of a child to see and understand the love of a mother. Not even God could resist the love and affection of a mother!

God couldn't be everywhere so He made mothers. (An old Jewish saying)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Something on Pope Francis

Here's a nice piece on Pope Francis (A year with Pope Francis by Leah Libresco) as to why he continues to inspire and attract all and sundry... 
We shouldn’t have to rely on the witness of the Pope to communicate the beauty and love of Christianity... read more.
But he does it in such a simple and humble way that it seems natural and the 'default' way... something which makes us take such an effort and 'show' to do!

Add to all of this, the fact that he lives poor, does his own duties, makes no tall claims, meets and TOUCHES people (literally and metaphorically), is a foot-washer, and of course, a Priest... just an ordinary person doing all he is capable of doing, without much ado about anything.


This morning while participating in the Holy Mass I had a very very 'holy' distraction.  It was bang during the elevation!! Gosh!!

When do I really get surprised or shocked? Only when I am not ready for what appears before me or something happens that I did not expect at all.  Why then does God continue to surprise us always?  Perhaps He really surpasses all our expectations and plans. Or ...
is it that we do pray to Him, prepare for Him but really, really don't expect Him to really-really appear amidst us!

It is like the old story I heard long long time ago. A lady attending the specially convoked parish prayer session for rain in her drought stricken village, came with an umbrella... the only one! When asked why did she get an umbrella when there wasn't even a cloud in the sky, she asked, "Isn't it for rain that we are praying? Then why go home drenched?" 

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Joseph, truly and fully human

Joseph, the husband of Mary, gives a triple proof for his humanity in today's short Gospel passage. His sensitivity and humanity is shown when he decides to gently divorce Mary without putting her to shame in public.  He reaffirms this human sensitivity when he pays heed to the divine messenger... thus being open to divinity.  He seals his humanity and sensitivity when he actually takes in Mary to be his lawfully wedded wife even after knowing that the child in her womb is not his.

Who else can be more eligible to the title 'saint' than one who was fully and truly human, like Joseph?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Salesian Brothers' Congress on Facebook and Wordpress

I'm not a facebook fan and neither am I on facebook, however, if this helps the cause of the Congress, so be it...

Here's the link for the Brothers' Congress on Facebook
Here's the wordpess blog that I started sometime ago to record some of the events leading up to the 7th Salesian Brothers' South Asia Regional Congress

I knew!

While evaluating a particular student/brother in the community, I could not but narrate this short story I heard sometime ago, to describe him best:
A family of tortoises went on a picnic and after years of walk, reached the spot and began to unpack their picnic meal.  However, they soon discovered that they forgot to get the salt. So after much discussion the youngest of them agreed to make the journey back home to fetch the salt.  However, his only condition was that they should not begin the meal without him. Once everyone agreed, he set out.
Months passed by and still when there was no sign of the youngest tortoise. The eldest then said that they start and he'll join in. So they opened their picnic meal.  The moment the lid was off, the youngest tortoise jumped out from behind a tree and exclaimed: "I knew you wouldn't wait for me! My suspicion proved right. I certainly am not going to get the salt!"
Some just wait for others to commit mistakes so that they can jump on them! 

Advent wait

During the homily this morning, we were reminded that the season of Advent is almost akin to the Aesop's fable of the 'goose which laid the golden egg'. In our eagerness and over-zeal to hasten the celebrations and festivity of the coming of the Lord, we cut short the period of Advent and rush in Christmas.  The Church has rightly grown in this tradition of 'waiting' for the Lord, for no shoddy reason.  It is basically to savour the Lord, to prepare for his coming, to persevere in our zeal to encounter him.

Let there not be a cesarean for Christmas!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Resurrecting the lay dimension

Last night discussing the themes for the Brothers' Congress with Fr Maliekal, he made a very insightful observation when he said that he was in a way waging a crusade a few years ago to retain the title 'lay brothers' for Salesian Brothers. He said everyone wanted to do away with that title altogether.

It then struck me that we Brothers may be taking shunning the tag of 'lay' to take shelter in the 'religious' dimension and pretend to be religious, while the fact is that we were truly meant to be a balanced mixture of both!  The institutional comfort and safety of the 'religious' tag seems too seductive to resist. And what's more, even under that roof, we still claim for a separate portion! ... a share in that pie!  Why not claim for a pie in the 'lay' dimension??

Hence I immediately made it a point to put in into the Congress as one of the major points for discussion: redeeming or resurrecting the lay dimension of our vocation.  

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Pope Francis: Acts of Humility

I came across a beautiful gallery of Washington Post depicting some of the acts of Pope Francis which have earned him an international repute for being a trend-setter, more of a foot-washer than a doctrinal policeman. Click here to view the same (couldn't get rid of the ad that plays before it, though!).

Related to it is the article titled, The Conscience of a Pope, by Kathleen Parker... read it too. 

Congress dilemma

This season of Advent is turning out to be another kind of preparation for me, personally. Far from working towards the coming of Christ, I'm working out the coming out of the Brothers' Congress, due to commence at the end of this month.  Though just a fortnight away, I'm still planning and finalising the modality of the same.

My greatest difficulty is how to get people involved rather than me or some ONE doing it all, doing it for everybody else.  Furthermore the fact that not everyone on the organising team has still grasped this expected shift in the strategy of the Congress, is adding to my woes.  People still call me to confirm something which is mere repetition of the previous year(s).  Most still don't get the point that the attempt is not merely to repeat the past but to re-script the future. Now that's easier said than done! What's more, I myself am still "re-scripting"! 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Sexuality (or English?) reinterpreted

Here's an extract (verbatim) from a final year student's paper on 'Human sexuality as interpreted by the Catholic Church'... mind you, only one of the many such!
Sexuality has got a greater meaning.  That the God created man in His own image. He created male and female to have a hetero sexuality, so that they can multiply the procreation and bear the posterity or offspring.  (emphasis added)
Now what am I to understand and how am I to interpret such texts? If English is a hurdle, then what of understanding the content (which is in English)? If understanding is the problem, then fine. But how does one express what one has understood - if not in English, in this case? 

Master, yet a student

A few days ago, Fr Maliekal in one of his goodnight talks, referred to a tribute paid by someone on TV to Sachin Tendulkar on his retirement.  Fr Maliekal said that the one speaking highly of Sachin made this very clever observation about the 'little master':
Sachin was the master of the crease but ever a student of the game. 
That truly is a very high and apt compliment for someone who spent so many years learning and improving not only the sport but also his own quality of the game.

That's something we need to master too... mastery over things we claim to be our field and yet ever willing to learn, to adapt, to innovate and improve.

Monday, 2 December 2013

How to live before you die: Steve Jobs

Connect the dots (only backwards... till then, follow your heart and insight).
Love what you do and do what you love!
Live everyday as if it was your last day.

Final message: Stay hungry! Stay foolish! 

Faith as prerequisite

On the first day of the week of Advent, it is a bit surprising to find the reading of the Centurion for the gospel.  What exactly does that have to do with Christmas or preparation for the coming of Christ?  The answer is simple, yet profound: FAITH. One ought to have faith in order to prepare oneself for the coming of Christ. How can one prepare of something if one does not really believe it; does not have faith in it; does not even get fired by it?  

Unless and until I am willing to 'see' I will never be able to actually see it. And even if I did see it, I will not 'see' it and let it pass by taking it to be one of the millions of things that crosses my path everyday. 

Lots of 'Peace'

Let me begin my Advent blogging on a lighter note. This morning for the Responsorial psalm, the Brother reading it had not practiced too well. Naturally there was something for me to be amused about in spite of the seriousness with which I intended to participate in the Holy Mass. The Brother kept reading the word 'peace' fast and short, and for all of us hearing it, it sounded like 'piss'. So here's the psalm, as heard by most of us today: 
Pray for the PISS of Jerusalem!May those who love you prosper!
May PISS be within your walls,Prosperity in your buildings.Because of my relatives and friendsI will say, "PISS be within you!"
Well, that was a lot of 'peace'!
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