Rejoice in the Lord

“Blessed are they that mourn,” and “woe unto them that laugh”  said Christ. How does St. Paul then say, “Rejoice in the Lord always”? The laughter of this world is what Christ talks about when he says “Woe unto them that laugh”. He also blessed those that mourn, not simply for worldly reasons but those who are pricked at heart, who mourn their own faults, and take count of their own sins. For he who grieves for his own faults, and confesses to, rejoices. Because you lead a life of suffering for Christ , rejoice. Or when your communion with God is not hindered, rejoice..

Rejoice in the Lord is a command that we are bound to adhere to. It is not an option. The source of our rejoicing is the salvation. The faith of the church is based on the belief in the Holy Trinity.  The love of God the Father, the grace of his only begotten Son and fellowship of the Holy Spirit is more than enough reason to rejoice. How can the trinity be a source of rejoicing for me? I thought it was just another theological teaching .

The love of god the father  is accepting human beings as his own children.  Imagine that tomorrow  a rich millionaire decides to adopt me with no conditions attached. Wouldn’t I be deliriously joyful to inherit all that belongs of the millionaire though I have no reason to deserve any of his wealth? How much more happier should we be that we have been called the children of God. We have seen husbands and wives divorce. But nobody divorces their child no matter how bad he or she is. That is why baptism is a sacrament that is not repeated. Even if I may sin or mess up my life I don’t have to be baptized again to be called His son. To God I am a son just like Jesus is his son. He looks at me and sees Jesus in me. Isn’t the love of God the Father worth rejoicing?

The word grace means to receive a gift that one does not deserve. Similar to the grace time of 10 minutes while writing an exam, grace when a loan doesn’t have to be repaid. What if I am a sinner and I don’t deserve grace? Nobody deserves grace, that’s why its called grace. Sometimes, like the prodigal son we lose everything god has given us. Our purity, talents, our sanity. But His outstretched arms welcomes us back always, each and every time because our sins have been paid for by His blood.  When we come here to receive holy communion there are no pay back conditions and list of punishments to be followed to be able to receive his body and blood.  If anyone comes to me I will by no means cast him out.  Unconditional grace of the son. Isn’t that reason enough to rejoice ?

Because I am a son and I am in the image of lord Jesus forgiven by his grace, I am given something that even prophets in the Old Testament would die to have a little bit of which is the gift of Holy Spirit living in me, guiding me, blessing me, making me in the image of Christ, uniting me with Christ, giving me love joy peace and all the fruits of the spirit. It gives me everything that nothing in the world can give me.

Fellowship of the spirit is sealed in to us in Baptism and confirmed again during our Confirmation. However far can I go from his presence this seal cannot be broken..? Isn’t this fellowship reason enough to rejoice?

Why is it then that we don’t feel joyful? Because we allow our emotions to rule us and not our faith. I am so used to paying for my faults that I can’t comprehend free grace. I cant discern that my sins have been paid for. So I go back to paying heed to  my feelings that eventually take me away from God.

Mother Mary’s response to that news of the angel Gabriel is beyond our understanding. Despite the fear and godly wonder and a whole gamut of emotions that must have run through her teenage mind , she allowed her faith to take over and not her emotions.  Which is why she said “my spirit rejoices in god”

The lives and examples of all the other saints including St.Paul who went through a lot of torment and yet uttered this verse, is enough reason for us to follow this commandment.

May the love of the Father, the grace of the only begotten Son and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit keep us rejoicing in Him always.

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An Invitation to Dine

The Parable of the Great Banquet

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Luke 14:15-24

This passage may stir some confusion in us. Why would the man invite ordinary people to the banquet? In Letter to the Colossians 3:5-14, St. Paul talks about our old, immoral practices lacking of the Creator’s wisdom. We are called to be the imitators of Christ, “Christians”. He calls us now to be renewed in compassion, kindness and patience and to forgive as we have been forgiven by God.

God has invited us all to the vast banquet that is his kingdom. How we respond to this invitation is important to our moral well-being. If we do not attend it despite being invited and choose to use the invitation at our own will, we would be like those who born into the Church in someway and then took it for granted. On the other hand, if we consider this invitation with a lot of importance, we would enthusiastically attend his banquet every single time. These are like the Gentiles, who were converted and redeemed by the grace of God. Because we know that like them, the cause of our redemption too was this banquet from the Kingdom of Heaven, and so we can not do without it.

We are honoured to be invited to such a banquet, but we have to fulfil certain duties as a Christian individual in order to continue receiving gifts from the kingdom of God. Analogously, although we receive a lot of grace during Mass, that doesn’t imply that we can enter the Kingdom of God. We have to be Christ like, as St. Paul says, change our old ways, rid our youthful follies, and clothe ourselves with ‘’compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’’. And we must do this not out of a sense of effort, but by emptying ourselves so that we can be filled by the Holy Spirit. So, during this season of Advent, let us make an attempt to clothe ourselves with gifts of the Holy Spirit, everyday.

Collaborated by Arun Soni and Joel Vasanth.

A Desire to Kill.

Samantha wanted a teddy. There was this small brown one that she had been eyeing for days! She asked her parents but they didn’t give her a response. A few more days went by before she placed this request again. This time also, her parents were busy. In her restless waiting and her relentless desire, she decided that she was done. It was time to take matter into her own hands! She went to the store and enquired about the price. “$15”, the shopkeeper said. Hopeful, she went back home to open her piggy bank. “1…2…3.. That’s a total of $1 and 24 cents!”, she declared. Determined, she started helping out around the house and even opened a lemonade stand to help her get the money. The only thought that was running through her mind was, ‘I want that brown teddy’.

A few days went by and she still didn’t have the money for the toy. Over a week, she managed to make two extra bucks and a few cents. She even gave up on ice cream to save some quarters. She had collected $5 and 12 cents. Hopeful, she went into the store to buy her teddy. The shopkeeper who had seen this girl before, politely told her that she could not afford the bear she came in for, however, there were other toys she could get for $5. Upset, she went back home. The little thing cried herself to sleep.

Soon she woke up to a gentle, yet familiar nudge. As she opened her eyes, she saw the teddy she had been longing for. ‘Surely this must be a dream’, she thought. But she saw then, her parents handing her a big, brown tear with beady eyes, a shiny nose and a big, red bow! Suddenly, her efforts didn’t seem futile and her joy knew no bounds. Seeing her constant and persistent efforts, her parents bought her the best teddy bear that the store had to offer! Although it was expensive, they knew that their daughter deserved every bit of it.


We all have a wonderful, provident Heavenly Father who know our every need before we ask Him. He knows the perfect gift, the perfect time, the perfect place and the perfect situation to present it to us. Very often, we get caught up in our desires for what we believe is the best, that we fail to wait on the Father. The Father, who knows best, waits for us to kill our desires to be able to prepare ourselves better for His present. He never gives us anything unless we are ready to accept His will first. But first, we need to be be dead to our desires and patiently wait on Him.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us..

-Ephesians 3:20

The Little Wonders

My father works and so will I.

-John 5:17

These word are spoken by Jesus when He was criticized by the Jews for working on Sabbath. The Jews were people who were very fanatic in their religious thinking. For them religion was more about following rules and regulations than following the principles of religion to make them better human beings.

The Jews believed that just because God chose to rest on the seventh day, man should also do the same. But they forgot to see that God rested only from creation on the seventh day, His higher works of judgement, and mercy, and compassion and love still went on. He cares and holds together all that has been made. When we see the sun rising and setting and the moon running in its cycles, the lakes and the fountains, the rivers and rains, running their course, our bodies too and those of irrational beings continuously working, we learn the ceaseless working of the Father. For He makes the sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.

What Jesus is saying here is that, human need must always be helped – that there is no greater task than to relieve someone’s pain and distress, and that a Christian’s compassion must be like God’s unceasing compassion with no boundaries of time or day. Other work may be laid aside but the work of compassion-never. Like the Jews, we too are sometimes too fanatic about our thinking. We are more concerned about the making a noise about religious riff-raff than being bothered about transforming our lives or those of others. We know very well about Christian virtues of compassion, love and mercy, but putting them into action is not something we actually bother too much about. We would rather write about it or talk about it. Mercy, compassion, and love are fulfilled only when an act for the same is performed. There is no point saying we feel compassion if we cannot show it or shower an act on our fellow human. Its like saying, “Oh I feel bad for you, but I can’t do anything to help you.”

Jesus taught of love and compassion. A true Christian should be someone like the good Samaritan who can take time out of his work to pour oil on the wounds of the needy. Our material goods are given to us not to be stored up in storehouses but to be used wisely for the Kingdom of God. By being kind and compassionate we are not only imitating God but above all we are fulfilling our Christian duty, one that we are answerable to the God the Heavenly Father for.

Let us then learn to be good Christians by working beyond boundaries that are we created around us. Boundaries of time, day, place, color, creed. Let us learn to understand the true meaning of the gospel instead of bordering around frivolous acts and thus become good Christian example to our peers.

Serve and not be Served.

A week before the Crucifixion of Our Lord, the wife of Zebedee, approached Jesus asking for a favour – to grant her sons to sit, one at His right and the other at His left when He comes in glory (Mathew 20:21). Our Lord knew that everyone had been impressed with the wild popularity and the adulation of the crowds and had assumed that it was only a matter of time before Jesus became the Lord of Jerusalem and drove out the Roman soldiers.

But Jesus knew what would happen in the space of only a few days. “You do not know what you are asking,” He told them. “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” The Apostles failed to perceive what leadership meant in the Kingdom of God. Leadership in the world is all about prestige and pride. But in the Body of Christ, it is all about self-sacrifice. It is all about surrender and submission. It is all about setting one’s own interests aside for the sake of others. It is all about laying down one’s own life so that others may live. Jesus explained that unlike when the Gentiles rule with tyranny, here it would bewhoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all (Mark 10.42-44).

We see our Lord opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, strengthening the legs of the lame, opening the minds of the unbelieving, and forgiving the pollution of sinners. Do we not see Him most clearly, as a Servant, when He bent down, at the Last Mystical Supper, to wash the feet of His disciples? And do we not hear Him call us to the same service?

As He has become our Suffering Servant by ascending the Way of the Cross, so also must we become His servants, and the servants of our fellow man.

Serving our fellowman requires that we point man to paradise; it requires that we give up our own demands for prestige, for power and influence, from getting in our way. Let us show kindness to one another. Let us be gracious and merciful. Let us treat each other with the greatest respect and honor. Let us be patient with eccentricities and limitations. Let the world know that our fellowship is bound together with cords of love, forgiveness and grace. We can achieve this only when we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts to attain the level of humility our Lord reflected.

“.. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:28

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