Please pray for me!... I am on a silent retreat on "the joy of the gospel." Daily Bible Reflections will be continued from 08-12-14 on wards...

Saturday, 20 December 2014

“Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Lk 1:38

“Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Lk 1:38)


Today’s Passage: Lk 1:26-38
Meditation: Today’s meditation verse manifests the greatest good news before Christmas. God received a long awaited “amen/let it be” from the humankind in and through Mary in this verse. God’s centuries’ long preparation and waiting was just for this single “amen.” As we prepare ourselves for Christmas, remember how God patiently prepared his people all through these centuries and how happy he was on hearing this amen! God together with all the angels might have sung joyfully the beautiful “happy amen” hymn.

I do believe that the first creation of man by God was rather easy for he was easily made out of earth/mud. However, the second creation of man, new Adam, will not be so easy, for it needs his cooperation. St. Augustine expresses it well when he says, “God you created man without his consent and cooperation, but he cannot be saved without his consent and cooperation.” God wanted to save man from his sinfulness and punishment, but he needed also his collaboration.

Throughout the salvation history we find a God who is after his people in view of preparing them for this ‘amen.’ He protected, fed, and guided them throughout their forty years of sojourn in the wilderness. He also pitched his tent among them so that they may feel secure and cared. Later, he gave them judges, kings, priests and prophets to rule and guide them. Even when in different exiles, they were not left alone; he cared and protected them. At last, they were in great need of a Savior.

Now, the whole humankind prepares themselves to join happily in this great “amen” of Mary during this Christmas. She also acknowledges this long preparation of God in her “magnificat,” saying, “He has kept the promise he made to our ancestors, and has come to the help of his servant Israel. He has remembered to show mercy to Abraham and to all his descendants forever.” (Lk 1:54, 55) Am I really prepared or got ready to join this blessed “amen?” Amen is the most shortest meaningful christian prayer.
      
Prayer: Lord God, we thank you and praise you for your daily eternal bread. Lord we thank you and praise for the real heavenly gift of our mamma Mary. We do believe that Mary’s “amen” was a real sacrifice in view of your unique, eternal, and salvific sacrifice on the cross. Even now somebody whispers in our ears that song, “Mary did you know that baby boy one day would walk on water….” Mary mother of God pray for us that we may also learn to respond “amen” to God’s will. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!


 Greetings: God is with you! Have a nice and blissful Saturday…

Friday, 19 December 2014

“They both lived good lives in God’s sight and obeyed fully all the Lord’s laws and commandments.” (Lk 1:6)

“They both lived good lives in God’s sight and obeyed fully all the Lord’s laws and commandments.” (Lk 1:6)

Today’s Passage: Lk 1:5-25
Meditation: Our waiting for Christmas is coming to an end in the coming few days. In these days of immediate preparation God is asking us whether our preparation and waiting are fruitful or not? But, how do we know it? Our mother holy church puts before again another norm through the models of Zachariah and Elizabeth. Today’s reflection on this particular verse really calls for a radical Christian life. Let the Holy Spirit lead you and me to the fullness of truth.

‘Zachariah and Elizabeth had no children because Elizabeth could not have any, and she and Zachariah were both very old.’ (Lk 1:7) A description may give us first the impression of a couple who are completely hopeless and desperate; old and barren people. But Luke gives us another picture of them as to their hope that “They both lived good lives in God’s sight and obeyed fully all the Lord’s laws and commandments.” (Lk 1:8)

 Here lies our focus of today’s reflection. Though it is true that they were waiting for a long time and now they are quite old, still they are waiting patiently and expectantly a child. It is quite amazing! Despite the fact that their prayers are not heard, they lived good lives in God’s sight and obeyed God’s precepts. It is the real faith and hope in Him who cares for us all through our lives; in both joys and sorrows. Let our waiting also be fruitful and blessed.

It was the same hope we find in the beautiful prayer of Habakkuk, “For though the fig tree blossom not, nor fruit be on the vines, though the yield of the olive fail, and the terraces produce no nourishment, though the flocks disappear from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord and exult in my saving God. God, my Lord is my strength.” (Hab 3:17-19) In all my expectations and waiting, God alone is my hope and salvation.
         

Prayer: Lord God, we thank you and praise you for your daily eternal bread. Lord, in our daily lives we also come across with different realities of disasters, failures, confusions etc. Sometimes we also feel that our prayers and petitions are not heard or God has turned his face from us. However, the lives of Zachariah and Elizabeth today encourage us to be hopeful in the promises of God. We pray for all those who have lost hope in their lives due to different reasons. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Greetings: God is with you! Have a nice and blissful Friday…

Thursday, 18 December 2014

“Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” (Mt 1:19)

“Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” (Mt 1:19)

Today’s Passage: Mt 1:18-24
Meditation: Dear ones, just one week yet to go for Christmas and we are in the immediate preparation for it. Now, today’s meditation verse rightly calls for a genuine attitude before receiving Jesus as our Savior. Preparing for Christmas or waiting for it is a divine call for becoming Christ too; just like a young lady becoming a mother in giving birth to her baby. We are receiving something or someone at the same we are becoming somebody.

Without proper disposition of heart, you cannot receive anything in its totality. The season of Christmas also demands from us such disposition. What disposition of heart holy mother church puts before us through today’s meditation verse. It is well expressed through the example of Saint Joseph. “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” (Mt 1:19)

How brilliantly and vividly the evangelist puts forth the attitude of Joseph before us; though he was a righteous, Joseph did not want to expose her to shame. I do think that this is one of the best dispositions we have to have before receiving Jesus. Whenever I read the periscope of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8), this attitude of Joseph would make its real setting. I do hope also that it has a lot to do with our daily Christian life.

Earlier I had an attitude that always prompted me to be righteous and be bold. Right, that is good also, but the problem is there is also a tendency to make the other humiliated, belittled, put to shame. We may be there legally right in the eyes of men, but there is a risk of going against the divine mercy of God. Joseph was righteous both before God and man. Receiving Jesus as your savior is adapting yourself to the mind of Jesus, the savior; you have to be a sign of salvation for others, just like Joseph to Mary.
          
Prayer: Lord God, we thank you and praise you for your daily eternal bread. How great and grateful it is to remember St. Joseph in these days of immediate preparation of Christmas! Let unlearn everything to learn how to be righteous and yet not make others exposed to shame in public. St. Joseph pray for each one of us so that we may be saved from the selfishness, pride, and hatred. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!


 Greetings: God is with you! Have a nice and blissful Thursday…

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Mt 1:1)

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Mt 1:1)


Today’s Passage: Mt 1:1-17
Meditation: As we are coming closer to the Christmas, what is the special significance of today’s meditation verse? Does this verse actually prepare us for a fruitful Christmas? In youth days, whenever I heard or read this passage, I felt a little bit boring; why all this meaningless repetitions of names! At home after our family prayer, we had everyday bible reading of selected passages. Each time I get this passage, I was interested to read more than anyone because I liked to read it in special rhythm and tone. I didn’t really get into its meaning, rather enjoyed the reading.

However, later I got one aspect of this genealogy description. I want to share you about it in today’s reflection. Why did Mathew go after all these people? Were they so important people that they are to be remembered? When I went through the Bible, I understood some of them are not there, some of them are very simple and ordinary people, still some were not up to the mark, and very few could be listed. Then my thinking was in the direction as to, why was he so particular about including these insignificant ones?

Actually mother Mary led me in this direction through her ‘magnificat’ (Lk 1:46:55). She praised God in ‘magnificat’ saying, “He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (Lk 1:54, 55) When Mary received the world of the Lord in her heart and womb, she gratefully remembered both God’s promise and his people.

This aspect somehow struck in my mind so deeply, therefore, now I read this genealogy with gratefulness in my heart. I give thanks to the Lord for their instrumentality. I do also in my life, be it my birthday or others, I give thanks to the Lord for all those people, who directly or indirectly were sharers in my life. Let this immediate preparation days of Christmas be days of thanksgiving; kindly remembering God’s ways of showering his mercy and grace upon us through our ancestors, family members, neighbors, friends, relatives, etc
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Prayer: Lord God, we thank you and praise you for your daily eternal bread. How great and grateful it is to remember all your forefathers in this advent! Lord we thank you and praise you for all those people who were instruments of your protection, love, and mercy in our life. Help us to lead always a life of gratitude. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!


 Greetings: God is with you! Have a nice and blissful Wednesday…

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

“Even when you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” (Mt 21:32)

 “Even when you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” (Mt 21:32)


Today’s Passage: Mt 21:28-32
Meditation: Sometimes we are very good at judging others and their activities. Today’s meditation verse rightly warns us of this unjust and hypocritical attitude of life. Our judging may not be always knowingly and intentionally; it may happen because of our inability to read their minds. The word of the Lord says, “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.” (1Sam 16:7)

Therefore, man in his weakness judges others according to their words and deeds. When someone says that he doesn’t want to go to market, we believe and judge him. In the same way, when another one says that he is ready to go, we believe and judge. For, we do not know his mind and thoughts. But today’s reflection is not on our capacity to judge others, rather on Jesus’ words, “Even when you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” (Mt 21:32)

Even if you couldn't read the minds and thoughts of others, you could learn a lot from others’ deeds and words. We see many a people fail in their lives, others not honest enough, and still some are hypocrites. There are others who very faithful and obedient. All these different pictures are given for me to learn a lesson for my life; not just to judge them. The word of the Lord says, “Now, all this is an example for us, to warn us not to desire evil things, as they did.” (1Cor 10:6)

It appears to be very easy to judge these two sons according to their response to their father’s call. But we know from further reading that their words and deeds were later changed. Today, therefore, our call is to repent on our blunted words and deeds, and return to the Lord. The savior in the manger is waiting for our return.
      
Prayer: Lord God, we thank you and praise you for your daily eternal bread. Have mercy on us, O Lord! You are our loving and forgiving father. Give us the courage to admit our mistakes in humility and return to you in repentance. Help us to be non-judgmental and positive in our relationships. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!


 Greetings: God is with you! Have a nice and blissful Tuesday…