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.

Coincidences are God planned incidents.

Veeta was on her second interview for the day when I met her. She happened to be sitting next to me on the bus and for a minute I thought I was on the wrong bus and she reassured me I was on the right one and we started talking for the next half an hour or so until my stop arrived. That was an interview I was going to where I came across this person.

Mr Khanna was an 85 year old retired auditor who happened to sit next to me during one of my long waits at an airport. What started out as a conversation to hand the newspaper over took multiple turns into the past and I could see his eyes shine as he was telling me stories of the days in which he could jump and run.

These are two of the people who have crossed paths with me in two of my journeys that I was reminded of today.

I did not know why certain things happened, why I went for that interview if God knew this job wasn’t fit for me. Why did I go till the last round of the interview if I’m not going to get that job. Why this? Why that? Basically a lot of whys!!

That’s when I got a tiny answer today, a mom with two kids was traveling in the bus i took today and I helped the mom, maybe that was why I had to be on the bus today. I randomly smiled at a lady (who definitely thought it was creepy) and perhaps that’s why God wanted me to go that way today.

A lot of things that seemed like coincidences are actually God working behind the scenes for the good of all who love Him and who he cares for.

So it’s okay to not be called back after every interview. It’s okay if we had to go the hospital multiple times for a lot of tests. It’s okay to get low marks.

God is in control. He knows what is best for us.

Broken Crayons Still Colour.

Back when I was a kid, I received a huge Crayola box full of crayons and I felt like I held in my hand, every colour in the world.
I remember how sad I used to be whenever a crayon broke, and how the broken pieces were so small compared to the others in the box.
While the ‘perfect crayons’ stood tall and proud, the ‘imperfect crayons’ cowered below, short and stout. The ‘perfect crayons’ held their place, while the ‘imperfect crayons’ wiggled out of the box and sometimes even got lost. The ‘perfect crayons’ were easy to colour with, while the ‘imperfect crayons’ were hard to hold and even more difficult to colour with.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the brokenness in your life, but you must never ever let your past, your brokenness and your hurt define you, but let them mould you into someone stronger than you were as you redefine what lies ahead.
No matter how broken you may be, what you’re made of hasn’t changed. No amount of brokenness can change that. You are still you, and all of your broken fragments too.
You were created in the glorious image of a God, who wants to carry your hurt and your burdens for you, and He wants you to see you healed and restored and whole again.
You may think you’re a mess right now, but you are one beautiful and unique colour in God’s masterpiece. There is no one like you.
You are your own crayon, full of vibrancy and life. You are purposeful and you add your own signature hue to all you do. There is no colour like you.
You may not see His big picture right now, but God has already drawn the outlines, and He knows where each colour will go to complete His work of art.
God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. His masterpiece consists of a colour palette so beautiful and varied because He uses all the crayons in His box – the broken and the unbroken.
Our past may have broken us, but that does not mean we cannot colour out a beautiful future.
Broken crayons still colour.
So will you.

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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