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March 31st, 2011

Do You Want To Be Healed?

Do You Want To Be Healed

Those who wish themselves to be sick cannot be healed even by God.

This is a strange question, “do you want to be healed?” Jesus asked this question before healing people. He particularly asked this question to the paralyzed man lying by the side of the pool for thirty eight years. I wondered why Jesus asked this strange question to people who come to him for healing. I did not know the answer. Then, I looked at myself and found the answer within me.

There are many habits in me which need healing. I pray to Jesus for healing with my lips, but deep within my heart I do not want to part with those strongholds. The reason is that the habits have taken roots in me as a form of defense mechanism. I can easily blame the system, for my laziness rather than confronting my laziness. If I confront my laziness, I have to wake up early, work harder and relax less. I don’t want to do that, because I will lose my present complacency.

So, I play a hypocritical double game. I pray, “Jesus, heal me from laziness,” without meaning what I speak. Jesus sees my heart. He is the truth. He confronts me, “Jacob, do you really want to be healed?”

Habits are the end results of mind games. We are playing games. Under cover, we blame our parents, spouses, siblings, neighbors and friends for our failures. We are the reason for our failure. We are not facing the ugly and stinking aspect of our lives.

If we really and truthfully look into our minds, we will see one thing; we all play hypocritical games with our minds. Jesus faces us upfront and asks directly to our soul, “Really, do you want to be healed?”

In India, I saw a beggar. He lived in a nearby village. He had big bandages tied around his legs. He wore dirty clothes. He will give a sick look, and then ask for money. One day my brother saw him having a bath in a nearby river. After the bath he washed his clothes. Then he did a strange thing, he sprayed dirt and dust on his clothes and body. He tied huge bandages around his legs. He then took his begging bowl and limped towards the village square to beg.

This beggar is the typical example of a man who has mastered the mind game of sick-role. He had no physical sickness, but he is sick in his soul. He doesn’t want to be healed. Sick-role is his way of earning livelihood with out working.

We are all like that beggar and that is why Jesus is struggling to heal us. We are sitting in the village square with our begging bowl. We play sick-role. We play victim-role. We play poor-me role. We play holy-me role. We play unending roles.

The Lord is fed up with our sick games. Still, Jesus doesn’t give up on us. He is asking “Do you want to be healed?”

– – – written by Dr. Jacob C Tony

March 31st, 2011

Not Hands But Hearts

Not Hands But Hearts

Amend the ways, and you will know why you struggle to go ahead!

During the Governorship of PONTIUS PILATE, there was a man named Jesus the Nazarene. A few people, out of sheer jealousy and revenge, conspired against him and at one night seized, tied up like a bandit and produced him in front of the civil authorities. They leveled on him false accusations and strongly condemned him to crucifixion. But he was totally blameless and immune from any stain of crime. Neither was there anybody to plead on his behalf nor did he himself utter much to prove his innocence. And none grasped the little he spoke either, because the prophecies about him had to be fulfilled!

He was born to a virgin, and a filthy cattle-shed was his birth-tent! A country carpenter brought him up! When grew up in age he left his parents and home and lived, for a long time, in anonymity! When he was thirty, he returned to his home town; called twelve men to his company, not as servants but as his own brothers and friends. In the following three years he, accompanied by them, traveled both on foot and in boats the length and breadth of Palestine preaching and teaching during day and praying extensively in the silence of night.

He sowed the seeds of ‘glad tidings’; availed himself to the weak as their refuge; to the hungry as their bread; to those in chains of sin as their freedom and to the dead as their new life! He voiced bravely against every social evil of his time. He neither despised nor feared any one and consequently, had collected enemies for himself who followed him secretly! Finally arrived their bloody turn and the crooked projects of the dark fructified! The anarchy of the evil emerged victorious! His own disciple’s kiss of betrayal brought him to the court of ‘Gabbatha’!

Pilate, without due trial, sentenced him to crucifixion! He knew for certain what was Truth and the meaning of his wife’s dream about this innocent man was very much clear to him. But he was filled with fear! Power, possessions and positions were more precious to him than truth and justice. He was mad after public applause and it was necessary for him to appease the leaders and the chief priests. He could easily foresee the disastrous consequences of not taking their side. Therefore, he joined his hands with the evil!

But his conscience pricked him painfully for having silenced and buried the Truth! He struggled to evade the pointed arrows of his guilt and gain a grain of peace! Hence, he took a gold-bowl of water and washed his hands to get rid of the dirt of his crime and extinguish the fire of guilt within! His hands were well soaked but his eyes didn’t brim over! His palms turned whiter but his heart, dirtier!

There was another fisherman named PETER, an expert in his profession! He lived happily with his family. One evening he was on the sea-shore with his companions mending their nets. A stranger approached him. He wore a long gown and had dense, curly hair on his head and a fine beard. ‘Follow me’, he said to him very informally.

The poor fisher first feared slightly and then gazed into his bluish eyes. His face glowed in a divine halo and a sweet fragrance spread every where! He felt irresistibly gravitated to that holy figure and without a second thought, renouncing everything, followed him. Gradually another eleven joined them and he was made the leader of the group and lived with their Master in the following three years.

He joyfully accompanied his Master as his own shadow, listened to his words, witnessed to his miracles and experienced his ardent love and providence. They shared one bread and one cup. He was willing even to die for his Master for he was the apple of his eye! But all his dreams turned head down! He abandoned his captured Master, escaped in the dark and hid behind trees! But his heart wept bitterly and the thoughts of desertion haunted him ruthlessly! He couldn’t proceed any further, got up and walked back for his love for his Master over-weighed his fear!

Though he followed his Master at a distance, fell again on his way. He denounced his beloved Master thrice and then the cock crowed! Arrows of guilt thrusted upon his heart and its agonies streamed out of his swollen eyes! His inner griefs sounded as deep sighs and then they broke out as loud wail! He cried bitterly beating on his breast!

PILATE, who crucified the Truth, though washed his hands, didn’t shed tears! He didn’t repent of the wrong he had committed and, therefore, was deprived of inner solace! PETER, who denounced the Truth, grew contrite when his heart was inflicted and lamented when he realized his mistake and he was redeemed!

Both good and evil reside within our own very selves. Truth and non-truth prevail today too. Don’t we too occasionally crucify the Truth, slam the door of our hearts and shut deliberately our eyes against it? Don’t we side with the wrong and tarnish the innocent? Don’t we dare do any worse and resort to malicious means to earn for us power, position and possessions? Don’t we, in our own manner, sentence the Nazarene to human slaughter?

Though questions of this sort are many, the answer is often a big ‘YES’! Don’t we too denounce the good and fear to follow the Truth? Don’t we too forsake our loved ones for personal gains and hesitate to suffer for their cause? Don’t we too conveniently ignore our indebtedness to those who love us? Don’t we too fail to keep our promises, uphold our faith in God and live as genuine Christians? The answer often is the same ‘YES’!

The season of Lent assures us that despite our occasional falls we can still go ahead in full hope and optimism provided we amend our wrongs. Debilities will continue to form part of our frail nature and mistakes will keep recurring. Our misdeeds may get multiplied and we may stumble upon them many more times. Yet the Lord, though very often silent, will be beside us.

He, who knows us through and through, will certainly fill the pit of our imperfections with heaps of His blessings. He will care for us and beneath His outstretched wings of providential love we will find safety and consolation. What He demands of us is a sincere sorrow for our short-comings, an authentic contrition and proportionate reparations for the same. These will gift us with willingness and courage to make ‘U’ turns from our faulty routes and thus turn over a new leaf!

In this Lenten season let us take sound resolutions, melt our hearts away in strict abstinence and love the solitude of prayer. Let us cleanse the filth of our hearts and be sanctified by worthy and regular reception of holy Sacraments. Let us deck the temple of our souls with good thoughts, words and deeds and beseech the Holy Spirit to re-create us.

Let us commend our sufferings to our Heavenly Mother of Sorrows, draw strength to subdue our temptations and there by brighten up the remaining span of our earthly existence. Let us weep bitterly when our drawbacks are repeated and constantly wash, not our hands in clear waters but, our hearts in the snow-melted streams of true contrition!

– – – written by Fr. Thomas Pattathilchira, CMF

March 30th, 2011

Right At Christmas Night

Right At Christmas Night

Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt (Mt. 2:14)

Joseph had the dream when he was asleep at midnight. The angel of the Lord instructed him to take Child Jesus and Mary with him to Egypt. He did not wait for morning or to bid farewell to the relatives and neighbors. He proceeded right at that night. If they had waited for the day, people would realize where they had gone and what they are doing.

Later when the soldiers of Herod come for enquiry, they would know from the people where the Holy Family had gone and would pursue them. If the soldiers followed, the life of the infant would have been at risk. Since they left house at night, neighbors couldn’t know of the facts. It paved way for the smooth execution of God’s plan.

It is not necessary that we succeed in life, just knowing the Will of God or taking the right decision. Delay in putting into practice the Will of God may block the plans of God. The fruitfulness of a good decision may be ruined in the delay of putting them into practice. Failure overshadows many lives, not because they lack good decisions, but because they are delaying the execution of the good decisions they have already taken.

How many people repent and take decisions to correct themselves. Yet their hearts become stubborn, since they are lazy to put into practice those decisions. It may not be in highly favorable situations of life, that the Lord calls us and entrust us with a mission. For example take the case of Prophet Elisha. It is when he was ploughing the field using the oxen that the blanket of Elijah falls on him. He did not wait till harvest to respond to the call of the Lord. In a moment he stopped his work and got down into the field of the Lord.

For Israelites the way to escape from the Egyptians was open at night. They fastened their belt, took the staff, ate Passover in haste and left the country. What would happen if they hadn’t done so? Since the Egyptians were mourning over the sudden demise of their first born, they could not find time to do anything. While they overcame this, God knew that they would pursue the Israelites. So it was necessary that the Israelites get out of the country very fast and within no time.

Are you in the prison of unexecuted good decisions? The delay in executing the good decisions in family life, work place, business, relationships and spiritual life would bring us failure. The main reasons of postponing the execution of good decisions are fear arising out of feeble faith and laziness arising out of our love for the flesh.

Those people who do not say ‘No’ to sin cannot accomplish God’s Will in their life. Therefore the first decision to execute in our life is to bid farewell to sin. That will surely strengthen us in our faith.

Prayer:

Lord… great and promising indeed are the inspirations and the good thoughts that you had given to us! But many a number of decisions that we had taken based on them is yet to be fulfilled in our life. Help us in our weakness. Fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we may be able to fulfill God’s plan in our lives. Amen.

– – – written by Benny Punnathara

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