28 December, 2013

Sunday in the octave of Christmas.


Sunday
 in the Octave of Christmas - Holy Family (A)

Matthew 2: 13 to 15. 19 to 23

A SON OF IMMIGRANTS

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,  where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt  and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,  and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene

 Ordinarily Christians imagine Mary and Joseph enjoying the company of their son Jesus in their little home in Nazareth in an enviable atmosphere of peace and happiness. This is not the picture which the evangelist Matthew gives us  of the 'holy family'. His somber account of the early years of Jesus shatters all the fantasies we build around Christmas.

According to Matthew, Jesus' family could not live in peace. Herod wants to kill the child so one day he would not snatch his power from him. Joseph  has to act fast. The danger is imminent. Take the child and his mother "at night" and, without waiting for a new dawn,"flee to Egypt”.

The journey is hard and dangerous. Mary and Joseph remember the hardships endured by their people in that same desert. Now they are reliving them with their son Jesus. The three are seeking asylum in a foreign country far from home and from their people. All is uncertainty and insecurity. They don’t know when they will be able to return. They will be told.

After Herod's death, the family breathes a sigh of relief  and begins the journey back home. But Archelaus reigns  in Judea,  a man who according to the historian, Flavius Josephus, was known for his cruelty and tyranny. Joseph 'is afraid'. It is not a safe place for Jesus. They will move to Galilee and settle down in Nazareth, a village lost in the mountains, which, so far, seems a less dangerous place.
It is in this way that the "holy family" lives, protecting their son so he can survive, migrating from one place to another in search of food and work, homeless and insecure in a land dominated by powerful 'kings' such as Herod or Archelaus.

This is the great news of Christmas. God was not born to the privileged of the earth to celebrate his coming with tables loaded with food and superfluous gifts. He was born to share our lives, bringing hope to those who cannot expect much from anyone except God.

23 December, 2013

HOMILIES - THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT - SUNDAY Download This Homily

December 22, 2013

4th Sunday of Advent


Daily Mass Reading - Audio




BORN OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


This passage brings to us the good news of the announcement of the birth of Jesus. The key point here is that Jesus will be born of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of his birth is to be the Saviour of the world. One idea we have to forthrightly get rid of from our minds is that this passage does not mention that he is born to be King, which is a later addition. He is born of the Holy Spirit to be the Saviour of the world. What does it mean? What is the importance of being born of the Holy Spirit? What is the meaning of being Saviour?


In the Old Testament we find that it was the Holy Spirit who taught the prophets what to say and how to act. It was the Holy Spirit who taught the prophets what to say; it was the Holy Spirit who taught men of God what to do; it was the Holy Spirit who, throughout the ages and the generations, brought God’s truth to men. So then, Jesus is the one person who brings God’s truth to men.


Hence, the passage means the following:

1.     Jesus is the person who can tell us who God is. In Jesus we see the love, the compassion, the mercy, the seeking heart, the purity of God as nowhere else in this entire world. With the coming of Jesus the time of guessing is over, and we have the certainty of knowing the true God. Jesus could say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

2.     He is the one person who can tell us who a human person actually is. He is the ideal man (human person). Whoever sees Jesus, sees who and what a human person has to be, how he or she should relate to God and with others, what his or her aim in life should be, what means one may take in attaining fulfillment of one’s life, etc.

3.     Jesus is the one who can lead us to this true God. Jesus opens people eyes to the truth. People are blinded by their own ignorance; they are led astray by their own prejudices; their minds and eyes are darkened by their own sins and their own passions. Jesus can open our eyes until we are able to see the truth.

4.     Jesus brings God’s life-giving and creating power. Jesus can awaken us from our slumber, lethargy and inertia. He alone can bring order into our disorderly life.

5.     Jesus can breathe life into our dead nature just as the dry bones in the book of Ezekiel came back to life when they heard the word of the Lord (Ezekiel 37:1–14). Even if we are dead in sin, Jesus can bring us back to life.

Christmas celebration with songs : 21st Dec 2013- St Xavier's parish Navrangpura,Ahmedabad,India








More photos will be here soon.

21 December, 2013

4th Sun in advent

HOMILIES - THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT - SUNDAY Download This Homily

December 22, 2013

4th Sunday of Advent


Daily Mass Reading - Audio




BORN OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


This passage brings to us the good news of the announcement of the birth of Jesus. The key point here is that Jesus will be born of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of his birth is to be the Saviour of the world. One idea we have to forthrightly get rid of from our minds is that this passage does not mention that he is born to be King, which is a later addition. He is born of the Holy Spirit to be the Saviour of the world. What does it mean? What is the importance of being born of the Holy Spirit? What is the meaning of being Saviour?


In the Old Testament we find that it was the Holy Spirit who taught the prophets what to say and how to act. It was the Holy Spirit who taught the prophets what to say; it was the Holy Spirit who taught men of God what to do; it was the Holy Spirit who, throughout the ages and the generations, brought God’s truth to men. So then, Jesus is the one person who brings God’s truth to men.


Hence, the passage means the following:

1.     Jesus is the person who can tell us who God is. In Jesus we see the love, the compassion, the mercy, the seeking heart, the purity of God as nowhere else in this entire world. With the coming of Jesus the time of guessing is over, and we have the certainty of knowing the true God. Jesus could say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

2.     He is the one person who can tell us who a human person actually is. He is the ideal man (human person). Whoever sees Jesus, sees who and what a human person has to be, how he or she should relate to God and with others, what his or her aim in life should be, what means one may take in attaining fulfillment of one’s life, etc.

3.     Jesus is the one who can lead us to this true God. Jesus opens people eyes to the truth. People are blinded by their own ignorance; they are led astray by their own prejudices; their minds and eyes are darkened by their own sins and their own passions. Jesus can open our eyes until we are able to see the truth.

4.     Jesus brings God’s life-giving and creating power. Jesus can awaken us from our slumber, lethargy and inertia. He alone can bring order into our disorderly life.

5.     Jesus can breathe life into our dead nature just as the dry bones in the book of Ezekiel came back to life when they heard the word of the Lord (Ezekiel 37:1–14). Even if we are dead in sin, Jesus can bring us back to life.

20 December, 2013

O Holy Night - Serena Sang Higher Note than Mariah Carey's Version

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Angels We Have Heard on High - Andrea Bocelli and David Foster

Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs) - Th...

4th Sun Advent Dec 2013

*Fourth Sunday of Advent  22 -  December 2013*
*Matthew 1, 18-24*
*José Antonio Pagola*

*Interior experience*

   The evangelist Matthew has a special interest in telling his readers
that Jesus has also to be called *“Emmanuel.”* He knows very well that it
can be shocking and strange. Who can you call a name which means *“God with
us”?* However, this name contains the core of the Christian faith and is
the centre of the celebration of Christmas.



   This ultimate mystery that surrounds us on all sides and which believers
call “God” is not something far away and distant. It is with all and each
one of us. How can I know this? Is it possible to reasonably believe that
God is with me if I do not have any personal experience however small?



   Usually Christians are not taught to perceive the presence of the
mystery of God within us. For this reason many imagine him in some
indefinite and abstract space in the Universe. Others seek him by adoring
Christ present in the Eucharist. Many try to listen to him in the Bible.
For others, the best way is Jesus.



   The mystery of God has, undoubtedly, its ways of making itself present
in each life. But it can be said that in today’s culture, if we do not
experience it in some way within us, we will find it hard to do so outside
us. On the contrary, if we perceive his presence within us, it will be
easier to trace his mystery in our environment.

   Is it possible? The secret lies, above all, in knowing how to remain
with the eyes closed and in peaceful silence, welcoming in the simplicity
of one’s heart the mysterious presence that encourages and sustains us. It
is not a matter of thinking about it, but of welcoming the peace, life,
love, and forgiveness… that comes to us from the innermost depths of our
being.



   It is normal that, when we enter within our own mystery, we face our
fears and worries, our wounds and sorrows, our mediocrity and our
sinfulness. We should not worry, but remain in silence. The friendly
presence in the most intimate depths within us will go on calming us down,
freeing and healing us.



One of the most important theologians of the twentieth century, Karl
Rahner, states that, in the midst of the secular society of our times,
“this heartfelt experience is the only one with which we can understand the
message of faith of Christmas: God has become man.”  The ultimate mystery
of life is a mystery of goodness, of forgiveness and salvation, that is
with us: within each and every one of us. If we welcome it in silence, we
will know the joy of Christmas.



**********

*Taste and see how sweet God is! *

19 December, 2013

St Peter Faber


Pope Francis and the Vatican have announced that Blessed Peter Faber, SJ, has been canonized. Loyola Press is proud to honor Peter Faber, a companion and friend to Ignatius of Loyola, for his shining example as a model of service and compassion. Ignatius of Loyola and his “friends in the Lord” dreamt of serving God together in what became the Society of Jesus. Two of his most trusted companions were Peter Faber and Francis Xavier. While Francis Xavier is widely known for his world travels and missionary zeal, Peter Faber worked quietly toward internal reform of the Church and became a pioneer of ecumenism. As a companion of Ignatius and founding member of the Jesuits, Faber helped create an order of priests that would ultimately change the world. By canonizing one of the earliest Jesuits, Pope Francis is showing the world how to live in service of others.
Faith Formation
To help you share the inspiring story of our newest saint, Loyola Press has assembled a collection of free catechetical resources. Visit our Saint Peter Faber page to find St. Peter Faber's life story, activities for your students and families, related readings, and a downloadable prayer card to share.
Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
you revealed yourself to Blessed Peter Faber,
your humble servant, in prayer and in the
service of his neighbor. Grant that we may
find you and love you in everything and in
every person. We ask this through our Lord
Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever.

Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.
Jesuit Saints and Martyrs

16 December, 2013

Breath of Heaven Amy Grant.mp4 (+playlist)

BarlowGirl - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Lyrics On Screen & mp3 HD) (+play...

Person of the Year 2013: Why TIME Chose Pope Francis

TIME's 2013 Person of the Year: Pope Francis

Fr. Barron comments on Pope Francis: Time Magazine's Person of the Year

A Pope’s New Path on Child Abuse

A Pope’s New Path on Child Abuse
Published: December 6, 2013
·

After decades of Vatican indifference and evasion, Pope Francis has ordered the creation of a commission to study the rape and intimidation of schoolchildren by priests and to recommend measures for effective reform. The new commission, long overdue, will be composed of international experts, both lay and religious, reflecting the global scope of the scandal. Its task is to propose concrete recommendations for firmer safeguarding of schoolchildren and better training of Roman Catholic priests.

The hallmark of the new pope has been a refreshing resolve to shake up Vatican intransigence, but Francis has a way to go to reassure Catholics, particularly parents, that a firmer hand will in fact produce credible reform. His new initiative, for instance, offers no guarantee that he will deal with a major dynamic in the scandal by ordering greater accountability from diocesan prelates, many of whom ran systematic cover-ups of the criminal abuse of children. Catholics, including the non-offending majority of clergy members, are entitled to clear progress on this.
Francis’s call for the commission came just days after Vatican officials rebuffed a request from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for details on how the church handled the scandal. The officials said the problem was primarily the responsibility of individual bishops and of local criminal justice authorities.
It is notable that the commission proposal originated with a new group of eight cardinals — the Council of Cardinals — appointed by Pope Francis to come up with timely reform proposals; he immediately accepted the idea. Few details were offered on how the study commission would proceed. But one of the eight council members, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, said that in addition to lay experts, priests, nuns and parents would be involved in the effort and that the pope was particularly concerned with the “pastoral response” of the church.
A comparable study panel of laity and clergy was created over a decade ago by the American hierarchy to report on the abuse of schoolchildren in the United States, a scandal in which 700 priests had to be dismissed in a three-year period. The panel’s pointed recommendation was that “there must be consequences” for diocesan leaders who shielded offending priests from criminal prosecution and authorized hush money to victims. But no effective mechanism to make powerful diocesan offenders accountable was devised by the bishops, and only a few diocesan leaders faced criminal investigation.
With the world now fascinated by the new pope, Francis has placed his reputation on the line in choosing to confront the problem more openly, rather than burying it once more in one of the maws of the Vatican bureaucrac

3rd Sun Advent A

Third Sunday of Advent  (A)

15 December 2013

Matthew 11: 2 to 11


When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples  to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy  are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

                                                  
                                          
Heal Wounds


José Antonio Pagola

Jesus’ behavior puzzled the Baptist. He hoped for a Messiah who would eradicate sin from the world by imposing the severe judgment of God, not a Messiah devoted to healing wounds and alleviating suffering. From the prison of Machaerus he sends a message to Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come or should we wait for another?”

   Jesus’ answer is to place before him the life of a healer-prophet: “Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind receive sight, the lame walk; lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised to life; and the Good News is preached to the poor.” This is the true Messiah: the one who comes to alleviate suffering, to heal life, and to open a horizon of hope for the poor.

   Jesus feels himself sent by a merciful father who wants a more dignified and happy world for all. It’s why he devotes himself to curing wounds, healing suffering and freeing all life. So he asks us all“Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.”

   Jesus does not feel he is sent by a strict judge to judge sinners and condemn the world. That is why he does not terrorize anyone with threats of judgment but offers his friendship and pardon to sinners and prostitutes. So he appeals to all: “Do not judge and you will not be judged.”

   Jesus never cures people at random and merely to cause a sensation. He heals moved by compassion when seeking to restore life to those sick persons broken and crushed by misfortune. They are the first ones who have to learn from experience that God favours a healthy and dignified life for all.

   Jesus never wanted to emphasise the sensational character of his healing episodes nor did he find in them an easy solution to do away with suffering in the world. He presented his healing activity as a sign to show the direction his followers should take to open pathways to that humanising project of the Father he called “the kingdom of God.”

   Pope Francis declared that “to heal wounds” is an urgent task: “I see clearly that what the Church needs today is to be able to cure wounds and bring warmth and closeness to the hearts of people… This is the most important thing: “to heal wounds, to heal wounds…” He then goes on to say we should “care for people accompanying them like the good Samaritan who washes, cleans and consoles.” He speaks also of “accompanying” people through the darkness of their nights, to learn to dialogue and even to descend into their nights and darkness without oneself getting lost.”

   When Jesus entrusted his mission to his disciples, he did not think of them as doctors, hierarchy, liturgists or theologians, but as healers. Their task will be twofold: to announce that the Kingdom of God is near and to heal the sick.

**********
To heal wounds is the mission Jesus entrusts to us

06 December, 2013

Second Sunday in Advent 2013

Homilies :: Latin Rite



December 8, 2013

2nd Sunday of Advent



Daily Mass Reading - Audio




Change Your Ways



Advent is a time of eager waiting. We wait for Christ and to get back to our home. Waiting is one of the hardest things for us nowadays.  There is so much urgency about even the smallest things in our modern world, and this, of course, is greatly aggravated by commercial advertising. M. Scott Peck in his famous book, “The Road Less Travelled”, says that delaying gratification is one of the effective tools to discipline ourselves. It is to accomplish the difficult part of a task first before going for the easy portion of the same. This is a tool with which pain is confronted rather than avoided. Therefore we have to meet John the Baptist before we can meet Christ. We have to begin with John, “a voice crying in the wilderness” demanding tough decisions. So let us enter the wilderness of our world and our own being …. And wait there for developments undergoing a total transformation.


            John the Baptist challenged the people to go down to the river Jordan and to receive baptism allowing them immersed in the water. The word ‘baptism’ literally means being overwhelmed by or immersed in water. It is used in the case of Naaman in 2Kings 5:14 who was cured of leprosy by being immersed seven times in the waters of Jordan. Judith immersed herself in purifying waters in preparation for the mission God had for her (Judith 12:7). It was from the chaos of the swirling waters that God brought forth creation. It was through the waters of the Red Sea that the people had to pass to find freedom (Ex. 14:21-31).


            It was customary to baptize Gentiles who converted to Judaism.  John, however, is baptizing Jews, asserting thereby that being a Jew is not enough. A complete purification is needed by all if they are to enjoy the new creation and the new redemption promised by God. Today we reminded that by being just a Christian is not enough, but we are asked to have a complete purification to welcome worthily Jesus into our lives.


            John’s baptism is described as a ‘baptism of repentance’. Repentance involves the change of mind and heart, and turning to God. In those days, the people were guided in many directions by the religious leaders with the promise of salvation. The Sadducees were calling them in fidelity to the cult and to tradition. The Pharisees saw salvation as coming from fidelity to God’s will as expressed in meticulous observance of the Law. Another group, Essenes, called for a withdrawal from the darkness of the world, in preparation for the coming the Messiah.


            The Baptist, however, stood out against all these groups and called for a new way of looking at life, a change of heart and mind, a new vision as expressed by prophet Ezekiel (36:25-26): “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean form all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you, and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.


            With the coming of the Lord we are assured of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. The Greek word for ‘sin’ is hamartia, which literally means ‘missing the mark’. One thinks of an arrow veering away from the desired direction, or a person lost in a forest, having missed the marked way. Again the Greek word for ‘forgiveness’ is aphesis, which means ‘casting away.’ 


In brief, the preparation of Christmas involves in casting away of all that would distract us from reaching our goal and to receive the good news that God loves us and all are God’s beloved sons and daughters and we have to love them. But remember what blessed Mother Theresa said: ‘The fruit of faith is love and fruit of love is service.

            Therefore much has to be done to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’ through the good news preached through our lives. Just like John the Baptist, the disciples of Jesus has the same universal mission of preparing the Lord’s way where ‘all flesh shall see the salvation of the God’.


 Dr. Fr. John Ollukaran CMI

Second Sunday in Advent 2013

Second Sunday of Advent (A)

8 December 2013

Matthew 3: 1-12


In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea  and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”

John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.  People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.  Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.


Explore New Paths

JoséAntonio Pagola

About the year 27 or 28 an original and independent prophet appeared in the Jordanian desert who made a strong impression  on the Jewish people: the first Christian generations always saw him as the man who prepared the way for Jesus.

His whole message could be reduced to a single cry: “Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”After twenty centuries, Pope Francis is proclaiming the same message to Christians: “Open paths to God, return to Jesus, welcome the Gospel.”

His purpose is clear: “Seek to be a Church that looks for new ways.” It will not be easy. We have lived through these last years paralyzed by fear. The Pope is not surprised: “ Novelty always gives us a little fear because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if it is we who build, program and plan our lives.” And he asks us a question we need to answer: Are we ready to journey along the new roads that the novelty of God opens up before us or will we dig ourselves into outdated structures that have lost the ability to respond?

Some sectors in the Church are asking the Pope to push through as soon as possible different reforms they consider urgent. However, Francis has clearly stated his position: “Some hope for  and are asking me for reforms in the Church and they must be implemented. But first a change in attitudes is necessary.

The evangelical clarity of vision of Pope Francis seems admirable to me. Signing  reform decrees is  not what’s important.  It is necessary to first put Christian communities in readiness for conversion and to recover within the Church the most basic evangelical attitudes. Only in such a climate will it be possible to undertake effectively  and in the spirit of the Gospel the reforms the Church needs urgently.

 Francis himself is showing us everyday the changes in attitude we need. Let me highlight some very important ones:

·         Place Jesus at the center of the Church: “ a Church that does not have Jesus is a dead Church.”

·         Do not live in a closed Church centered on itself: “ a Church closed in on the past betrays its identity.”

·         Always act moved by the compassion of God for all his children: do not foster “ a legalistic Christianity  or one bent on restoring the past; one that wants to have everything clear and secure and does not find anything.”

·         “Look for a poor Church and a Church of the poor.”

·         Anchor our lives in hope not in our regulations, our ecclesiastical and clerical behavior.