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March 7th, 2011

Be Faithful In Small Things – Fidelity

The reward of being faithful

Be faithful in small things, God will entrust you great things. Whoever can be trusted in little things, can also be trusted in great ones – Luke 16:10.

It seems that fidelity is the essence of this saying. It is a call to fidelity – an adventure in living faith which begins every morning. Every day we attend to many little things from the dawn to the dusk. Examples include personal hygiene, dressing appropriately, personal order, discipline, daily prayer, small acts of kindness, short conversation with dear ones, punctuality, diligence in work etc.

When we go for Mass or Adoration we bless ourselves with holy water and even make a genuflection. These when done in faith and not out of routine, provide an excellent opportunity to be faithful in something small, but profound in faith and in purpose.

Throughout her life Mother Teresa showed the world how to be faithful in small things. She once said, “little things are indeed little but to be faithful in little things is a great thing; It is not how much we do but how much love we put in the thing. It is not how much we give but how much love we put in the giving.” That is why she said, “I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.”

To be faithful in small or big things of life is not easy. Life is filled with many challenges awaiting reward or obstacles. Nevertheless we must always persevere in the adventure of fidelity. Fidelity requires tenacity and courage. Every morning we wake up to face another day filled with many blessings, but many challenges as well. To wake up every morning with a positive attitude and a smile is not an easy enterprise.

Every morning we have a choice – we can begin a new day with a fighting spirit or we can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the obstacles that challenge us. Only heroic ones have the capacity to be faithful.

An example of a fidelity to one’s duty and a fidelity to another one’s word is here. One rainy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The hotel clerk said, “They are all filled as are all the hotels in the town. But I can’t stand an old couple like you out in the rain. Would you be willing to sleep in my room?” The couple hesitated but the clerk insisted. The next morning when the man paid his bill he said, “You are the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the U. S. Someday I will build you one.” The clerk smiled politely. A few years later the clerk received a letter from the elderly man recalling the rainy night and asking him to come to New York. A round trip ticket was also enclosed. When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of the Fifth Avenue and 34th street where stood a magnificent new building. “That is the hotel I have built for you to manage. “The old man told. The old man was William Waldorf Astor and the hotel was the original Waldorf Astoria. The young clerk became its first manager.

The Biblical instruction reminds us that we need to be faithful in the small things of our everyday existence. We have only to be faithful to every word and deed of ours. God will lavishly reward our fidelity to Him.

– – – written by K.C.Thomas

March 6th, 2011

A Connection With Christ

A Connection With Christ

Our ministries go out of strength due to lack of proper connection with the true power source.

A man from a remote village had gone to the city. He was wonder struck by seeing the modern technologies and the city way of life. He saw the whole city was illuminated with bright lights, drinking water was supplied to houses and fans gave cool air in the hot summer. He wanted to enjoy the same, back in his village. Therefore, he bought some electric lights, fans and water taps. When he reached his village he fixed the light and fan waiting for the light and cool air. He fixed the water tap in a wall and waited for water. But nothing happened because the electric bulb and fan were not connected to electricity and the water tap was not connected to a source of water.

Today, we too are attracted to Christ and want to be partner in His mission work. Therefore we build massive buildings and spend lot of money to help the poor and the needy. But if we are not connected to Christ and live a Christ centered life, we cannot be effective and faithful in the mission of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the scripture tell us to go beyond, and be rooted in Christ and have an intimate experience of God, only then we would be able to withstand the trials and persecution that come on the way.

This message is beautifully brought out in the life of St. Paul. Prophet Amos tangibly experiences the living Word of God and that experience leads him to raise his voice against the unjust structures of the society and exploiting religious leaders of the time. He cries out: “Let justice role down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Yes, he is fully aware that challenging the then existing system would bring danger to his life. But he listens to the Word of God and relies on the power of God.

In the New Testament, we see Jesus sending the 12 Apostles for His mission. But before He sends them out for the mission, He keeps them with Him, because He wants them to have a personal relationship with Himself. He desires that they live in His presence to learn, to draw strength, courage and spiritual energy from Him. He wants them to see Him praying, healing and teaching so that their faith in Him may be deeply rooted and they may eventually begin to absorb and assimilate His very character and behavior.

We too are called to be with Him, to experience Him deeply and follow Him very closely. Only then we become the true ambassadors of Jesus and full representatives to carry out His message to the whole world. Like the prophet Amos, St. Paul, the 12 apostles and there are many, we too are sent on a mission to fight against the evil, sinful, unjust and ungodly ways of the world. We are sent to alleviate pain, suffering, sorrow and misery from the lives of people around us.

In Japan there was a beautiful statue of Jesus Christ placed in the middle of a village. During the World War II, bomb fell in the village and the statue was broken into pieces. The parish priest collected the broken pieces and joined them together. Unfortunately the hand of Jesus was not found. So, the parish priest wrote bellow the statue that, “who would be my hand to help out my people?” By seeing this all the people came together and extended their hands to rebuild the lives of the people over there.

Today we are like Christ’s hands to raise those who are fallen. We are like His feet to go in search of the lost sheep. We are like His ears to listen to the cries of the sufferings and the lonely. We are His tongue to comfort and encourage those who are sad, disappointed, sick, lonely and depressed.

– – – written by John Singarayar SVD

March 6th, 2011

Rolling Away The Stone From Our Heart

Rolling The Stone Away

One of the most astonishing miracles depicted in the Bible is the resurrection of Lazarus.

Astonishing because Lazarus was dead; and that too for four days! John chapter 11 verses 39-44 highlight the miracle vividly.

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, four days had passed since his death.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone and Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out! The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him and let him go.”

The message that is conveyed in this miracle is that Jesus wants us to believe that the heavenly Father always hears Him. He wants us to believe this so that we can see the glory of God. Before raising Lazarus from the dead Jesus thanked the heavenly Father and believed that His prayers would be answered. We also have to thank the almighty and believe that our prayers will be answered.

Jesus asked the people around Lazarus to “unbind him and let him go” after raising him from the dead. We also have to unbind our ego, false pride and inability to forgive and accept other people in order to be free in spiritual life. When we thank God, believe in Jesus-believe that whatever he does for us is for our good and unbind ourselves, we see the glory of God.

Let us recall what the Lord tells us in Ezekiel 37: 12, “therefore prophesy, and say to them, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you home into the land of Israel.”

When Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus, he asked the stone to be taken away from the tomb. Why did He, the Almighty, ask the stone to be taken away? He could have commanded and Lazarus would have come out blasting the stones to bits. This incident highlights a very important fact that all of us need to accept – God is capable of working miracles in our life but, he expects our co-operation.

Only after the stone was rolled away did Jesus begin His work of resurrecting Lazarus. The stone here symbolizes the dead things that we indulge in. They are the negative feelings of our heart, feelings of hatred, lust, pride and vengeance. These feelings have wounded our soul. Martha the sister of Lazar had this to say to Jesus, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.”

Every person who is a slave to sin has a stench because he is dead. This is where the sacrament of confession helps us unbind. A person who is slave to the desire for accumulating wealth must have this to say to the Lord – “Lord my relationship with you has suffered because my heart is full of the stench of greed, greed for wealth. Many a time my desire for wealth has been the reason behind my inability to spend time with you.”

A person who is slave to alcohol should have this to say to the Lord – “Lord, already my body is full of the stench of liquor, I can no longer hold my hands together in prayer. I am a slave to this.” A person who is proud of his skills and achievements should have this to tell the Lord – “Lord my heart is so full of my self that I can hardly see you. I find it difficult to acknowledge you. This has been so since years.”

In other words when the person concerned acknowledges the hatred, lust, pride, vengeance etc. in his/her heart, he/she actually rolls away the stone from his/her heart. Once the stone is rolled away it paves the way for the spirit to enter our hearts. The Spirit of God resurrects us into new beings.

Jesus tells us to believe in the Word of God and exhorts us by saying, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” This is a promise. If we humble ourselves before God, admit our shortcomings, repent and believe in the word of God, Jesus promises miracles in our life. But, just as salt or sugar is an essential ingredient in every recipe however simple or complex, giving thanks to God is an important part of the recipe for a miracle. That is why Jesus says “Father, I thank you for having heard me.”

To Jesus thanking the Father was just an extension of his faith, faith that the Father will do everything for Him. Whereas, to us, thanking God is very often a ritual that comes much after a success in life. This is the crucial difference between the belief shown by Jesus and our belief.

Jesus chose to thank the Father before the miracle (belief followed by action i.e. faith) whereas we choose to thank the Father only after the miracle (belief). Sometimes I dare say we even manage to become thankless creatures in the thick of things. When we thank God for everything that He has done for us and for everything He is in the process of doing for us, the others around us get the message that we are God’s children and their faith in Jesus increases. This is why Jesus says, “I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.”

After Lazarus was restored to life his hands and feet were unbound and he left behind the strips of cloth and went away. He did not carry the strips of cloth with him instead he left them behind and walked away from it. So also once we receive the gift of the spirit from God we have to abandon the old strips of cloth symbolizing our sinful life and the grave symbolizing our past and let the Holy Spirit lead us.

– – – written by Lajan Miranda

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