Monthly Archives: March 2016

Today is palm Sunday. Today is my birthday. Today we are beginning the best week in the whole liturgical year. Centuries ago it was called the ‘Great Week ‘. Nowadays we Catholics call it ‘ Holy Week ‘. We follow Jesus every step of the way. We start with his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where he is welcomed, applauded and acclaimed, by a big crowd of followers. On Thursday we will join him at table and receive the gift of himself in bread and wine. After dining with him we will walk with him along the path that leads from the Upper Room to the Garden of Olives. There we will see him falling to the ground in fear and anxiety about the cruel death that awaits him. Friday will find us standing beside his mother at the foot of the cross, and feeling compassion for him in both his physical agony and his mental torment.
We will be feeling especially some of his sense of being alone and abandoned, betrayed and deserted, not only by friends and followers, but even by God. On Saturday we will be quiet and silent around his tomb, as we remember the injustice, hostility and cruelty, of all those evil men who murdered him. Then, late on Saturday, we will move from the darkness of our journey to the place of the brightly burning fire. There we will join the procession of the great Easter Candle,
representing the risen Christ, as he lights up the darkness of our church and lives.
There and then, the pain and sadness of our journey with Jesus to Calvary, will give way to the hope and joy that comes with our awareness. Jesus Christ is not dead and gone. No, he is alive, strong and powerful, alive in himself, and alive in us.
I Wish you all the best during this holy week.

While I was working in a muslim mosque as an imam, as a parish priest, I preach in my parish that Jesus Christ is not God, for me, God was only Allah, and I believed Allah never got married, so no sons for Allah. So I preached there that Jesus is not God. Then somebody ask me, who is Jesus?’’ from the crowd. Maybe a muslim, but he asked me, who is Jesus?’’ I was preaching he is not God, but the question is who is he? To know who is Jesus? I read the entire Koran once again: 114 chapters, 6666 in the Koran when I read it, the name of prophet Muhammad. I found it in Koran 4 places, but the name of Jesus I found in 25 places. There itself, I was a little confused. Why does the Koran give more preference to Jesus? And second thing, I could not see any woman’s name in Koran: the Prophet Muhammad’s mother’s name, or wife’s name, no, in the Koran, there is only one woman’s name that i found is Mariam, the mother of Jesus no other woman’s name. And in the holy Koran chapter 3, the name of the chapter is family of Mariam,’’ and holy Koran chapter 19, the name of the chapter itself is ‘’MARIAM’’ one chapter is ‘’MARIAM’’ so I was very curious to know why does Koran says all these things about MARIAM, holy Koran chapter 3 verse 34 onwards says that Mary was born without original sin, she never committed any sin in her life, she was ever virgin.

Koran chapter 50 verses 23 say that she went to heaven with her physical body. Even the assumption is writing in the holy Koran and then about Jesus, when I read chapter 3 verses 45 to 55 verses, there is 10 point which the Koran makes about Jesus. The first thing Koran says (kallimatulli) the arabic word which means ‘’the word of God’’ and second thing is ( ahimokuli ) which mean spirit of God and the third (isa masi) which means Jesus Christ so Koran give the name for Jesus WORD OF GOD, SPIRIT OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST. And then Koran says that Jesus spoke when he was very small, like 2 days old. after his birth he began to speak , Koran says that Jesus created a live bird with mud. He took some mud, he formed a bird; when breathed into it, it became a live bird. So I think Jesus can give life because he gave life to mud, clay, and then Koran says that Jesus cured a man born blind and a man with leprosy, e.t.c

Curiously, the Koran says that Jesus gave life to dead people; Jesus went to heaven; he is still alive and he will come again. When I saw all these things in the Koran I taught of what Koran says about Muhammad, according to the Koran, prophet Muhammad is not the word of God, not spirit of God he never spoke when he was 2 days old, he never created any bird with mud, he never cure any sick people, he never raised any dead people, he himself died, and according to Islam he is not alive and he will not come back. So there is a lot of different between these two prophets. I didn’t call Jesus, God, you know my idea was ‘’He is a prophet but he is a prophet greater than Muhammad; so one day I went to my teacher, the one who taught me 10 years in Arabic college, and I ask him, teacher, how did God created the universe? Then he said God created the universe through the word,’’ THROUGH THE WORD. Then my question is: ‘’WORD’’ is creator or creation? He must clear this, my question is whether the WORD of God is creator or creation. Koran says Jesus is WORD of God. If my teacher says word of God is creator, which means Jesus is the creator, then muslim must become Christian suppose if he says the word is creation he will be trapped. You know why? He said everything was created through the word. Suppose if he said the word is creation, then how did God created the word? So he cannot say that the word is creator, or creation, so he was quite angry he push me out of his room and said word is not God, not creator or the creation you get out of here, ‘’he said

The reason why Muslim doesn’t accept to be Christian is because they are blinded with the wrong teaching of their priest, Imam. They said that the word is creation they try to prove it wrongly…… they say the word is not creator, not the creation, but not God. And no creation also. They don’t equal with God, that all their problem. So when he said that I told my teacher, word is not the creator or the creation.’’ So, that is why Christian says the word is son of God. Then he told me if there is son for God, I must show him the wife of God. That without wife no chance of having a son then I showed him a portion from the Koran. Koran says that God can see without eyes, God can talk without tongue, God can hear without ears. It is writing in the Koran. I said if that is the case, so God can have a child without a wife. I took my Koran, I put it on my chest, and I said ‘’Allah’’, tell me what I should do because your Koran says Jesus is still alive, and Mohammad is no more. Tell me whom should I accept.’’ after my prayer I opened the Koran, I didn’t asked anyone, I asked only my Allah. When I opened Koran, I saw chapter 10 verses 94. You know what Koran says? It says if you have any doubt in this Koran which I give to you, go and read the Bible, or ask the people, those who read the Bible. The truth is already revealing that.
I beg all muslim to give their life to Christ because he is the only way to the kingdom of God. Please don’t perish like other muslims that is serving the god they do not know. I welcome you into Christ Jesus as you change your mind to accept him today. God bless you.

Bible beauty Question: “What does the Bible say about beauty?”

Answer: To define what is beautiful is difficult because beauty is, as the old saying goes, in the eyes of the beholder. What is beautiful to us may be ugly to another. To regard something as beautiful, it must meet our own definition and concept of beauty. The fact that beauty is an individual concept is understood clearly by all. However, many don’t realize that God’s concept of beauty also is His own. No one defines for God His concept of beauty. If a person is beautiful to God, he fits God’s concept of beauty.

For example, God never uses one’s outward physical appearance to determine beauty. When the prophet Samuel examined Jesse’s sons in search of the next king of Israel, he was impressed with Eliab’s appearance. God told Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Nothing in a person’s outward appearance impresses God. God looks upon the inner beauty, the beauty of one’s heart.

God never uses the origin or culture of a person as the criterion of beauty. People of one culture seldom see beauty in people of a different culture. Only a divine revelation could convince Peter to enter a Gentile’s house and preach the gospel to him (Acts 10). It took an angel to get Peter the Jew and Cornelius the Gentile together. Only a divine sign convinced the Jewish witnesses that Gentiles unquestionably had the right to be God’s children. When Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34), he was saying, “At last, I understand.” Peter realized that God is unconcerned about a person’s origin or culture. God gladly accepts those who revere and obey Him. His concept of beauty is different because He ignores cultural preferences and prejudices.

While our opinions are strongly influenced by one’s address, occupation, and social role, God never determines beauty by social rank or life circumstances. When we speak of the so-called “beautiful people,” rarely do we mean those who are struggling to survive, who make their living by menial jobs, or who come from “backward” areas. In contrast, God never notices those things when He considers beauty in people. Paul wrote, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).

What is beautiful in God’s eyes? Recognizing the qualities God has cherished in the lives of other people is one way to determine His concept of beauty. Noah’s implicit trust in God led him to construct a gigantic boat miles from water. Abraham trusted God’s promise so implicitly that he would have sacrificed his son of promise without hesitation. Moses yielded total control of his life to God and became the man of meekness. David gave his whole being to doing the will of God. No consequence or shameful treatment could keep Daniel from reverencing his God. Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy were ruled by God in every consideration and decision. They were totally focused upon Jesus’ will as they shared the gospel with all. In all these qualities God saw great beauty.

While all these people were beautiful to God, virtually nothing is known about their physical appearance. It was not their physique or stateliness but their faith and service that made them beautiful. The same was true of God’s beautiful women: Rahab, Hannah, Ruth, Deborah, and Mary of Bethany. Those noted for physical beauty were often great spiritual disappointments. Rebekah was “very beautiful” (Genesis 26:7), but she was also a deceiver and manipulator. Saul was a man of physical beauty, but his disobedience against God hurt the nation of Israel.

Peter directed Christian women to focus on the inner, spiritual qualities in order to be truly beautiful: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful” (1 Peter 3:3-5). Peter is not prohibiting nice clothes or nice hairstyles; he is simply saying that a gentle and quiet spirit is even more beautiful in God’s eyes.

The qualities God wants in His people further reveal His concept of beauty. The beatitudes reveal some of God’s standards of beauty. An awareness of one’s spiritual poverty, sorrow for wickedness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, and being a peacemaker are all qualities of beauty. The epistles also stress attributes valued by God: keeping a living faith while enduring physical hardships, controlling the tongue, enduring personal harm to protect the church’s influence, making sacrifices for the good of others, and living by Christian convictions in the face of ridicule. All these are beautiful to God.

However, just as a beautiful appearance can become ugly through neglect, a beautiful life of righteousness can become ugly through neglect. Spiritual beauty must never be taken for granted or be neglected. We must remember that just as it is possible to be one of society’s most impressive people and be ugly in the eyes of God, it is also possible to be an unknown in society and to be radiantly beautiful in His eyes.

Cycle C 3rd Sunday in Lent

Ex 3:1-8,13-15; 1 Cor 10:1-6,10-12; Luke 13:1-9

Deadliest Natural calamities and manmade disasters have been part of human existence. Blizzards, diseases, famines, floods, volcanic eruptions and wild fires have consumed the life of millions.

Haiti has not yet been recovered from the shock of the earthquake that took away the life of more than 200,000 people. The earthquake in Indian Ocean in 2004 caused widespread death over India and its neighbouring countries, and the great Chinese famine in 1958 deprived 43 million people of their life.

In today’s Gospel Jesus quotes two disasters.  The massacre ordered by Pilot and collapse of a tower in Jerusalem. Some people had come from Galilee to worship in the Temple. But Pilot sent soldiers and slaughtered them as they were offering sacrifice in the temple. Secondly, Jesus refereed to the death of 18 men caused by the collapse of a tower in Jerusalem. As against the popular belief that these tragedies and punishment for their sins Jesus reiterated the idea that these are signs for us. They remind us that our time is limited and we have to repent.

Jesus emphasizes the importance of repentance and the need to bear the fruit of repentance through the parable of the fig tree. In the vineyards of Palestine the fig tree had a more than average chance but it had not proved worthy of it.

Jesus reminded his listeners that they would be judged by the opportunities they had. Many times God reminded the people of Judah to turn away from their sinful ways and accept the message of peace and justice.  Many prophets were sent to remind them of their covenant with God. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and a number of prophets came with the call to repentance, but the people ignored all of them and missed all the opportunities to return to God. Hence, the punishment was inevitable, the kingdom was looted, and the people were deported by foreign powers.

We are also provided with a lot of opportunities but we fail to discover them. C E M Joad wrote, “We have the powers of God and we use them like irresponsible school boys.”  No generation in human history enjoyed so much of comforts and convenience as that of ours. No generation had so much of medical facilities as that of ours. No generation had the opportunity to see and speak to the people living in the other end of the world. No generation was able to traverse continents and oceans in great speed as we do. And no generation had so much of opportunities and chances as that of ours. Hence our responsibility too is greater.

Sir Isaac Newton was once turned out of class as he was incapable of catching up with the class. Albert Einstein was almost dismissed from the school as a disobedient student. Abraham Lincoln contested elections many times only to taste miserable failure. But each of these famous people proved to have certain genius and it grew out of their dedication. They discovered their opportunities and blossomed. The demand on us too is to discover what we are capable of and to accomplish it.

Time and again God has shown his impatience with people who do not take advantage of the opportunities he has given to them. In the second reading Paul reminds us off all the opportunities that God’s chosen people missed – and the results. We should not fail to read the signs of time, which serve as constant reminders for a change of heart, mind, soul and will.

The Second lesson the parable gives is that uselessness invites disaster.  The process of evolution is to produce useful things, what is useful will survive and grow from strength to strength, but useless things will be eliminated. In the threshing floor the farmer segregates corn and the chaff. Corn is stored and the chaff is burned. A peasant visits his field and identifies and removes the weed so that the corn may grow well. Hence the question is clear, “Of what use are we in this world.”  Unless we are useful we do not have the right to inherit the world and exist in it.

The third lesson the parable gives us is that nothing that only takes out can survive. Look at a parasitic plant it draws food and water from the host tree. Finally the host tree dies and it perishes with it. The fig tree was drawing strength and sustenance from the soil, and in turn was producing nothing.

We have received innumerable gifts from nature and our predecessors. Use them, improve them and leave for posterity with the mark of our contribution. Abraham Lincoln wrote, “Die when I may, I want it said of me that I plucked a weed and planted a flower whenever I thought a flower would grow.”

The parable imparts the message of a second chance. Usually a fig tree takes 3 years to produce fruit. If it doesn’t produce fruit by that time it is unlikely to produce any fruit. However, the fruit tree was given one more chance. We too are given chances time and again through constant reminders by natural events, word of God, and the prophetic words and deeds of our brothers and sisters. Never fail to read the signs of time and accept their message. Every calamity, every tragedy, every natural event has a message for us. It is a sign, a reminder that our time is limited and Hence, repent and make ourselves socially useful.

Listen to the words of Ben Jonson

“It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald and sere;
                   A lily of a day
                   Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night
It was the plant and flower of light
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures life may perfect be.”

-Satish