Friday, August 29, 2008

Aug 21st 'A Heart transplant' Ezk 36:26

26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  (Ezekiel (RSV) 36)

Just a few thoughts on this great surgeon and the surgery!

What would this 'Stoneness' mean to me? Let me look at my heart! What I have learned about the heart muscle(myocardium) tells me of its 'Sensitivity' especially to stretching- it  pumps more if it is stretched(some call it Starling's law). This definitely contrasts with a Stone - which is so 'Insensitive'- to all  external stimuli. Looks like the surgeon is right! ...true, my heart has developed  'fibrosis'..(one of the indications for a heart transplant - where heart becomes like a stone,unable to stretch and accommodate, sort of insensitivity) insensitivity towards the feelings and needs of people around me... towards people elsewhere....Yes I need a transplant.

This Surgeon and Surgery are but different: It wouldn't be a day's surgery I guess, It could be a daily one and a life long one too!

Could this be Painful? Oh yes.. some stretching,some tearing...

Isn't this what is happening in Communion? The host in many eucharistic miracles was transformed into  myocardium;Jesus is giving me His Heart  in the Eucharist for transplantation.Thanks to the great surgeon.

The Surgeon might ask you to donate some Blood for my surgery. Please donate or rather - intercede.Thanks.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Hearts Find No Rest : Reflection from Fr.Tom on St.Agustines Words

St. Augustine, whose feast we celebrate today (Aug.28), said in his immortal autobiography: The Confessions of St. Augustine: “Lord, you have made us for yourself and our hearts find no rest until they rest in you!”

The Lord made us like himself (Gen 1.26: …we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us.”). God is immense. Our adjectives that describe God and his attributes are negative in nature because we do not know what we are talking about. So we take available vocabulary and make a negative of if like: infinite, immense, immortal or we have other additions to the word like: almighty, all perfect, all holy, all powerful to give ever so imperfect an idea of God’s qualities. We do not have a direct knowledge of God’s holiness or his qualities. So we fumble around pretending to know who He is. But we do not. We have been made to his image and likeness so we share in His qualities. So limited things, finite things, created things do not satisfy us. Rather, they satisfy us for a time and we soon get tired of it and want something else, more satisfying. Soon we discover the emptiness of it all. Solomon was immensely rich, as rich as we could think of anyone being rich. He had as many women as he wanted. He had the best and abundance of everything the world could give. But at the end of it all he sadly confessed:

Ecclesiastes 1.1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." 3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? 8.All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 14. I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

There is a hunger and thirst in our hearts that created things cannot in any way satisfy. Only God alone can fill. Only the best will do for us. The best is yet to be. Only God is big enough for our hearts. So if we soon tire of power, glory, position, pleasure, human praise, human attainments, we should know, as the genius of Augustine discovered, that only God alone can satisfy us.

One person we all know did have this satisfaction, Mary of Nazareth, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She did not have any of the things to which we generally attach undue importance. But she had God: Lk 1.28The angel[ Gabriel] went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."….. 30. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God…… 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. ….. 42 In a loud voice she [Elizabeth] exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear…… 46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

Keys of the Kingdom of heaven : Reflections from Fr.Tom

Keys of the Kingdom of heaven.

Jesus bestowed these keys to Peter as a reward for his confession of faith in the gospel we read at mass, 21st Ordinary Sunday (Mt 16.13-20). Jesus gave Peter, “The Rock”, the power to close and open the doors to eternal happiness.

To my thinking, Jesus has given us all keys, even if not of the same kind as he gave to Peter. Keys are symbols of power. They open or close. Even now when a city or hamlet wants to honor a person in a very special way, they bestow on the person the keys of the city or hamlet. Keys are symbols of possession. Thus when we buy a house from another, the seller gives to the buyer the keys of the house, thereby meaning that the house is now yours. You own the house. So also when we get the keys of a car or any other type of vehicle we own the vehicle for good or for a while.

God has given us keys to all of us. In the Church, at baptism we were given such keys to the kingdom of heaven. Faith was the key. Faith is still the key to all the promises of Jesus. One has to use the keys to have access to this kingdom of haven. Baptism gave us the key to the other six sacraments and graces they bestow. Faith gives us the key to unlock the secrets of the Word of God. How do we use these keys? Most of the time we just pocket the keys and do nothing to unlock the goodies they hide. We tend to live a life of spiritual poverty and starvation. Then we blame God or the Church for our situation. So many live lives of quiet desperation only because they forget that they have the keys to happiness for now and later. The sacraments unlock the infinite merits of Jesus’ passion and death but we live in penury. Why? Come on, use your keys. Be rich beyond measure. Be fed. You do not have to pay for it as it has already been paid for dearly by Jesus. This is why Isaiah says:
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.” Is 55.1-3. Jesus in his own fashion invited all who are thirsty:
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as[a] the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” Jn 37-39.

But the tragedy is that we hear / read these saving words but we neither understand them nor heed them to our own discomfiture. We rather spend our “money” on trash, on junk food of the cheap soap operas of the TV and the internet. We have the key to a huge bank account but we rather live in utter spiritual poverty and degradation. Keys! Use your keys to princely living!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I need Confession!

Last sunday the 24th we had a Bible group to understand the significance of the 'Sacrament Of Confession'.I was deeply touched by the discussion and it convinced me that confession is something that will always help me reconcile with God & His people.I sometimes wonder why cant we confess our sins directly to God,wont he forgive our sins ?A'int our God merciful enough to forgive our sins? These questions must be in the minds of many people, well last week's Bible group helped me understand the biblical significance of confession and will help me from no more search for words when people try to question my faith on the point of confession.
Firstly when did confession start ? Confession has evolved we could say over times & ages.If we associate confesson to a practice only in the catholic church then we must read 'Leviticus chap:5', it speaks about confession and here a priest is making atonement on behalf of the people for their sins.Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the law in the old testment was a shadow of the reality to come and yes the reality was that Jesus - the high priest made atonement for the sins of all the mankind in the new testament.Then the obvious question is that if Christ is the priest who forgives and atones for our sin what is the role of 'Religious Priests' who are often the people we confess to.Well 1 John 8 clearly mentions the need for confession of sin to one another(It explicitily doesnt mention that we need to confess only to God and God alone) and when we say one another can we go to each other and confess our sins(havent seen or heard any such thing before) but James5:13 clearly tells that it is the elders of the church who are authorized by God to forgive sins and listen to confession.Elder in hebrew means 'Prispitos' meaning the 'Priest'.
God in his abundant mercy has given few selected human beings the power to forgive the sins (read Mat 9:1-8 & John 20:20-23)
A confession to a priest means a confession to Christ himself and God in his mercy has granted our priests the power to remove our sins in the name of Lord Jesus. God will forgive our sins the very second we are sorry for our sins and I dont think God will ever wait for a person to go for a confession and only then forgive him, no that aint our God.But confession helps us reconcile with the church and thus Gods people , avoiding out negativity from impacting the lives of others and am sure that to do a good and honest confession we need to be humble to the core and God's teaching us a beautiful lesson of humbleness through the sacrament of confession.Confession will enable us to be like what Jesus wanted as to be = 'as perfect as our Father in Heaven'.
These were few things that I understood & carried into life after the confession bible study group! Next week we will be studying biblically the truth about 'Mary - The Mother Of God'.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All raised their voices in prayer to God on hearng their story.......

For those who haven't received fr tom's forwards i am attaching the links to the recent events in Andhra and Orissa.Lets pray with the apostles Acts:4;24-31"all raised their voices in prayer to God on hearing their story.......

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aug 12th 'little children 'Mat 18:5 &10

I woke up today just thinking of another day to be 'wasted' baby sitting!.Then came the word as usual in the breeze : in today's gospel reading - Jesus talks about little children.  'whoever receives such a child in my name receives me...See that you do not despise any of these little ones,for I tell you:their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly father".

Whoever receives

...did I forget I have received these precious gifts from Him? They are His'? Yes, and do I have the right to reject when he wants to give me one?

Its just quite natural for me as a father to love them,enjoy them but today's gospel adds another' even higher dimension to this fathering experience: I am RECEIVING Christ when I am receiving my child, when I am catering to him,when I am baby sitting him. Isn't  it  wonderful to steal the most precious possession that way? Will it be like receiving him in Communion?

See that you do not despise ...God Forgive me & help me when the going gets tough! When the little one insists on sitting on the dining table and throwing noodles all around and when the older ones are stubborn.....God help me not to despise your little ones.

..their angels in heaven continually see the face of my heavenly father

I just don't know if it's a coincidence when I told this verse to my one yr old , he exclaimed 'Abba' staring somewhere. They must be really seeing His Face!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Salt of the Earth and Light of the World - from Fr.Tom

This is an article I found in my prayer that inspired me. It is a beautiful commentary on the words of Jesus from Matthew 5. 13-16. tom

Salt of the Earth and Light of the World

A reading from the homilies of St John Chrysostom on Mt 5. 13-16

“You are the salt of the earth.” The word is entrusted to you, Christ says, not for your life, but for the whole world. Nor am I sending you to two cities, or ten or twenty, nor to one people, as I once sent the prophets, but over land and sea, to the whole world, a world in very evil condition. For when he said, “You are the salt of the earth”, he showed that all human nature was rendered unsavory and corrupt by sin. Therefore he looks for those virtues in them principally which are the more necessary and useful for taking care of the many. The man who is gentle, modest, merciful and just does not shut up his good works in himself but is concerned that those fair springs should flow for the benefit of others. Again, he who is clean of heart; and a peacemakers who feels the urge for truth -- such a man orders his life for the benefit of all.

Do not think, he says, that you are being drawn into minor skirmishes, nor that you are dealing with matters of little moment. “You are the salt of the earth.” What then? Did they restore what was decayed? No. By mixing in salt they cannot help things already decayed. They certainly did not do this; but they mixed salt with what had already been renewed, freed from corruption, and handed over to them; and they preserved it in the newness received from the Lord. Deliverance from the corruption of sin required the power of Christ; to prevent a return to that corruption demanded hard work on their part.
You see how he gradually shows them to be superior to the prophets? He declares them to be teachers not of Palestine but of the whole world. So do not be surprised, he says, if I leave the rest and address you, and draw you on to such great dangers. Consider the number and vastness of the cities, peoples and races I am sending you to rule. So I desire not only that you be prudent, but that you should make others like yourselves. If you are not men of that kind, you will not be able even to look after yourselves.

For others who have lost their savor can recover it through your ministry; but if you fall into that evil condition, you draw others into ruin with you. So the greater the task entrusted to you, the greater effort you need. That is why Christ says: “If the salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men”.

To prevent their being afraid to go forth in public when hearing the words, “When men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you”, he says: “If you are not ready for these things, you have been chosen vain. You will inevitably be abused but it will do you no harm at all. Rather it will witness to your constancy. If, however, through fear of abuse you fall away from the zeal that befits you, you are likely to have much worse suffer¬ings, to have a bad name with everyone, and to be an object of contempt to all: that is what being trodden under foot means.”

Then he goes on to another and more sublime metaphor: “You are the light of the world.” Once more, of the world, not of one nation or of twenty cities, but of the whole earth: a light to the mind; surpassing the rays of the sun, just as they are a spiritual salt. First salt, then light, to teach you what profit proceeds from ardent preaching, what benefit from serious doctrine. For their effect is to bind fast and make firm they give clear sight and lead us on to virtue. “A city set on a hill cannot be hid; nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel.” Again by these words he urges them to a well-ordered way of life, teaching them to be ready for action, since they live with all eyes upon them, contestants in the center of a stadium that is the world.

NB Highlighting and underlining by me, Tom.

Divine Office, III, pp 429- 431.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Testimony from South Africa

This is a sharing by one of my friend,sis called Abigail from South Africa.She sent this over to me .She was in Bangalore few years back for studies.She was born in an Islamic family but now is standing for Jesus Christ,more than any of us. Let us read her testimony below!

Praise the lord my dear friends! i would like to share with you the most amazing hell of a ride,with what happened to me,and how God helped me,get through this...He helped me,and he will help you too....just have faith in him and he shall calm the storms that you going through in your life, all things are possible with God....!!! in him you shall seek refuge,in his arms he will protect and shield you.
Anyways,heres what happened on Tuesday night 5 august 2008 .......i was been falsely accused and blamed for,all the students living with me in the house turned against me at that time (i recall,when people put false accusation on our Lord Jesus and yet he forgave them and his love for them remained the same),,i accepted the blame inorder to avoid arguments even though they were lying, some of the stuff they were saying wasnt true...and some were, of which i accepted...dirty and nasty things were said and i was sweared at like i quote them as sayin "u r the worst person on this earth" and deep down i said thanks coz maybe i am...some i wont mention as twas really bad...but i thank God that i was strong enough to bear the pain at that time,and now i realized that God had given me the strength and wisdom ,and that he was holdin my hand and sitting next to me whispering his precious words,"You will be fine", "forgive and love them for i will forgive you and i love you", "i will!
never put you into trials that u cannot bear",trials come to make you strong,"i will never leave you"...all this wonderful words of his touched me and healed me, his gentle hands holding me....why dint i realize it at that time,that he was there???one thing i knew that he had answerd my prayers coz i asked him to give me inner strength and wisdom...when this people were nagging and falsely accusing me,i could smell and feel a bad aroma in that surrounding,i couldn't understand what it was,i couldn't see them anymore i could just see something wierd in them...i cant explain what it was just too harsh and very cruel surrounding...but i was happy and not scared coz Jesus was holding my hand...i know he will neva put me down...well i asked them for forgiveness and dint get their response,i learnt that wen i was told, i am the worst human being on this earth,that very moment God told me "not to take it to heart" and that "i shouldnt think that i am worst,coz i created !
everyone perfect", "it doesnt matter what people say, for i am your wi
tness",what matters is what God thinks of me..he is my witness and my judge.Well i do accept that what i did after everything was said to me was wrong,coz i was just tooo hurt ,after that i guess God allowed me to cry alone in my room though he was there...and when i planned to commit a suicide by overdosing 6 tabs, couldnt eat more coz water was finished ,i think Jesus said twas enough and besides he never liked what i did,he tried to stop me but i guess i was too stubborn to listen to him, so Jesus found a way, and that was, there was no more water left in the glass or the bottle and i was feeling very low or lazy i should say to get another glass of water and so i ended up not eating the rest of the tablets.,it wasnt my time to die and besides why would i hurt myself for what people do or say to me???i should be hurt if i do something that is unpleasing to God!!!for he is my lord ,my saviour,my friend,my master,my king whom i serve!!!.
But now i have this sudden joy and happiness in me that i cant describe,,sometimes am just tooo confused that i shud be crying over what happened, but instead i am happy...alot of good things are happening after Tuesday(the day of hell) and am glad that it is Jesus' way of makin me happy...he knew i love animals and the next day,in the mornin i saw a cute dog and i smiled praising the friend got me a chocolate,he knew i was sad,and Jesus told him i guess to get me one (i love chocolates,lol),my other friend took me out for lunch and after fifteen minutes got a call from my other frend who took me for a coffee lol i guess i was pretty spoiled hmmm.. (non of these friends knew the hard times i went through)......well in all this people, i knew i had lunch with Jesus and a chocolate from is amazing!!!God works in miraculous ways in our lives,it was a hell of a ride but it was exciting and amazing and fun to be with Jesus all this tym Hallelujah!!!!
My dear beloved,wonderful children of God,
Never give up on Jesus!!!,when times are tough and the roads are rough and there is nowhere to run try Jesus,in a lightening of a second he will get you out of it without you knowing it,all you need to do is have faith in him and trust him with all your heart.He knows your problems,your weaknesses,he cries wen you cry,his hurt when you hurt,he understands the pain you going through...he loves you more than your own earthly parents,his love for you and me is unconditional,and he proved it on the cross so that we the sinners might be saved!!!!
He hold me tightly in his arms,i felt safe,he hugs you and me everyday,but we just dont have the time to realize it.He talks to us but we dont have time to listen to him,every second of everyday he says he loves us,when we are asleep he watches over us with a smile on his face,even if we dint have time for him,his love for us never change....Let us have time for our precious lord Jesus christ,and see how our lives can be changed...let us give ourselves to him...and keep him the first in our lives...
Jesus is my everything!!! and so he shall be yours...
God be with you always...He loves you,you are precious in his eyes....and i love you too...
your sis in christ

ISO Certification!

It was 2:12 am and I was wide awake, felt like I'm in a totally different timezone. I just couldn't get back to sleep.
I got up seeing a dream that I just recieved a mail about ISO certification at office. For the benefit of those who don't know what ISO is - ISO or International Organization for Standardization, is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. This organization helps set various standards for corporates and governements. (source: wikepedia). Such certifications enable companies to maintain a certain level quality in their processes.

As I continued pondering over this dream a sudden thought struck me - what is the Quality Check for Christians? For Jesus Youths? If JY had to get ISO certification (read: JSO - Jesus' organization for standardization), what would be the parameters? Hmmmm...wait... do we not already have a standard - a benchmark that we follow? For years we have called it 'Constants' - 6 pillars of Jesus Youth. Wonder how many of us would actually get certified if we were to be assessed by these parameters. I for one would be the first to get disqualified!

Another thought (wonder why the Lord has to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me all this!!!) - do we not have a benchmark, higher than any set by the best companies of the world? Jesus has already set for us parameters by which we are to be certified fit for His Kingdom. And I feel, even if we were to fail in every parameter but pass on 'Love', we've achieved our goal. Sounds quite simple, doesn't it!

When the Lord speaks, he usually expects me to make notes. Still lying on the bed, I debate, whether to get up and write these thought's down. "Dad, I'm too lazy to get up", I mumble from under my blanket. Not too long ago I learnt that obedience was better - so squinting in the sudden brightness of the tubelight I put my pen and paper to use. Well, if obedience was indeed one of the assessment parameters, I shouldn't be loosing out on the points - should I?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reflections on Ezechiel 1: 2-5;24-28 from Father Tom

Last Monday, the first reading was from Ezechiel 1: 2-5;24-28.

This reading set me thinking of the grandeur and majesty of our God. Other prophets also had similar visions (Isaiah, Daniel, John the apostle) of the greatness of God. This is often called by the term: theophany, revelation of God as was the Transfiguration on Mt Thabor. Recall the bone-chilling way the Lord appeared on Sinai. Why does God do this? For my part, I think He does that to make us realize his total "otherness". He is so unlike us. When we talk of God being almighty, infinite, all holy, all light, all pure, all majesty, etc, they are abstract ideas that we have made to make us understand his total greatness, quite apart from us. This theophany makes us realize our smallness, limitedness, nothingness, our creatureliness. When we confront this greatness of God, we should naturally feel so small and puny and microscopic. This greatness alone should make us realize our constant need to be humble before this majesty. When we look at the Infant Jesus in the crib of Bethlehem, we realize how immensity was made small for our sakes. He took on our humble human nature to adapt his greatness to our size. He reduced himself even further in the Holy Eucharist to become a piece of Bread and a few drops of Wine to be our food and drink! This is mind boggling, mind blowing! In the presence of this great humility of God, our pride is simply madness, atrocious and incredible! God being humble! That is it. Of Moses it was said that he was the humblest of all men. Jesus became humble even to the point of self emptying. No wonder that the Lord hates the proud and exalts the humble. tom

Monday, August 11, 2008

A story of love

I and my kids have a game that we play when we take drives together. They join me during weekends on errands that have to be done and we play this game. We call it the game of imagination. In this game we take on imaginary roles and tell our tales. Usually we are rain drops, dew drops, little pebbles, rainbows, rivers etc. And we always enjoy each others tales. Last week end we decided to play the game a little differently. We decided to play a character from the bible and tell our tales. So here is the tale I told them, it was told a bit differently to them considering their ages.

I intended it to be short but it grew as I started off, bear with me ..

Caution: Don't look for correctness in terms of adhering exactly to bible passages, bible chronology etc. Enjoy it as a simple tale of love ...

The story starts in a little village near Jerusalem. I little Mary was born in that village. My village was a small but beautiful place and at the edge of that village stood my house. It was not a big house, it was small house, a hut almost, but neat and beautiful. In it lived me, my mother and my father. I have only very faint memories of that time, almost like a wonderful dream. How happy it was, it feels almost like a little reflection of heaven to me. But it was so long ago and so much has happened in my life since then that the memories are faded and distant.

Then it happened, the events that changed the course of my life. I remember my father and mother talking about some dreaded disease that was sweeping through the land. Daily I heard of people going away, some times it was a neighbor, and at other times it was a relative. I never understood it clearly at that point in time. In the dark of the night, people were carried away all covered up and they never returned. One day it happened in my house too. First it was my father, he became very sick. I and my mother took care of him very lovingly. I could see the sadness and fear in my mother’s eyes. One morning I woke up, hearing my mother crying softly. Some of our neighbors came and took away my father. He never came back. Few days passed and then my mother too became more and more ill. I took care of her and a few of our neighbors helped. But one day she also went away. That day, love also slowly and silently slipped away from my life.

From that day onwards my life became dependent on the mercy of other people. For a little while I was taken care of by a few neighbors. But they slowly turned me away. I can’t blame them, we were in a poor neighborhood. One more person to feed was a great burden to them. Then on my memories are of life on the streets. I tried begging for food, but I had to go hungry to bed most of times. On the streets begging for food, I got looks of hatred, curses and slaps thrown my way rather than coins or food. I saw only eyes filled with loathing and aversion around me. During those days when night fell and I tried to sleep, hunger and tears were my companions. But along the way my heart hardened and I learned the tricks of survival. I learned how to steal, I learned how to lie like a professional and I learned how to fight for my survival. I became adept at living on the streets. As I grew up, I fell more and more into the vices of the streets.

Finally I found a way to escape from the life on the streets, sell my body. I realized that under the grime of the streets I was beautiful and I could make a living out of that. I was very much sought after and slowly those days of hunger became distant memories. I had all I wanted materially. I wore the finest of the dresses, put on the most expensive perfumes and lived a life of luxury. But love stayed away from my life.

One day one of the nightmares in the life of a woman like me came true. I was caught in the act of adultery. I was dragged through the streets to the jury of the temple priests and was condemned to be stoned to death. I looked at the faces around me and I saw only the familiar looks of hatred and loathing. Those emotions had followed me through my life and here I stood surrounded by the same emotions who had been my companions through my life. I expected nothing else from this cruel world. I was taken through the city to the outskirts. I didn't feel anything. It was a fitting end to my life. Once wretched in its hunger and lack of material possessions and now wretched in its lack of a meaning. As I was taken through the city, the crowd grew in number. They spat at me, slapped me and kicked me. I didn't feel any sadness. This was what the world had given me all these years and at the end of my life I expected nothing more.

We reached the city gates and there was the young rabbi who every one was speaking about. I too had heard him talking a few times. He talked about gods love, forgiveness, etc. Although he talked with authority and love that I have never seen in any one, I never dared to go near him fearing the crowd that was always around him. What ever he had to say, it would never apply to a prostitute like me. If he is as holy as people say, then he would never even have any thing to do with me. So I kept away from him and his crowd of followers.

The leaders in the crowd started whispering among themselves. I could not hear what it was and cared less about it. What ever they schemed, they could do nothing worse than killing me. Then they started pushing and shoving me towards the gates. Finally they threw me at the feet of the Rabbi. I didn't dare to look at his face. I didn't want any more of those despising looks from any one. The crowd started accusing me of my wrong doings. They asked Jesus what they should do with me. I heard quite a few shout Kill Her !!! They were shouting at Jesus to condemn me. I expected the condemnation at any moment. Laws of Moses dictated killing of women like me by stoning it seems. A rabbi like him would now pronounce the same what else can I expect. I looked down on to my bruised hands. My body was in pain from the kicks and blows that has been inflicted. I needed nothing, but a quick end to this suffering.

Suddenly I realized, the young Rabbi was kneeling on the sand beside me. I was waiting for those words of hatred to come from him. But he seemed to be silent. I looked at his face which was level with mine and he seemed to be looking at me. I was taken back by that look. In those eyes where I expected to find hatred I found some thing so beautiful, that it seared my heart with pain. That look was filled with something that I had forgotten for a long time. Love. The look from him was so filled with love that it almost crushed my heart. I could not bear that look. I cast my eyes down quickly and looked at the hot sand seared by the sun. No, I didn't want love to walk back into my life at this wretched end when it had stayed out of my grasp for so long. I can go to my end with out Love if I had lived all my life with out it.

The crowd slowly became very restive, they started shouting at Jesus and he was silent. Then I realized he was silently writing some thing in the sand. I looked at what he had written but could not make it out clearly. He continued to write beside me, I didn't know much of writing, but I knew within my heart, it was all about love. I again looked at his face. It still held that deep look of love in his eyes. There was the smile, which I am sure I had seen on my mother's face in that distant memory. Suddenly I felt deep with in my soul that longing to live. I wanted to live for at least a little while to cherish that love I saw in those eyes. A little while and then even if I died it would not matter.

Suddenly I was brought back to reality. The crowd was shouting more loudly for the rabbi to condemn me. I quenched those longings as quickly as they formed. What could this poor rabbi do even if he wanted to do some thing against a huge crowd which wanted my blood and nothing else ? I f they were asking this rabbi for his opinion it was just a ruse, a justification for their actions. They would stone me whether this Rabbi said yes or no. Suddenly i heard that voice. I had heard that voice only from a distance, speaking of love, forgiveness and other lofty things. It was a shock to hear that voice so near me. It contained an authority that I have never experienced before. As soon as he started speaking a hush fell over the crowd. I was astonished to hear what he said. He said "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her". These words penetrated my heart like no other word ever spoken has done in my life. They seemed to have an authority of their own. It brought to my mind all the sins of my life. I cringed before them. I truly felt worthy to be stoned to death. I felt all the sorrow pent up within me all these years welling through me at that moment. It tore at the depths of my heart. And I awaited the pain of the first stone with all the repentance and sorrow in my heart. I wanted to atone for all that I had done with the pain of those stones. At the end of my life I had nothing left to offer as atonement. Nothing else, no possessions, no money, nothing, except my life. I laid it down as my atonement for my sins.

Suddenly I realized that, no stone has been cast at me till then. I raised my eyes and looked around. And what I saw astonished me. The crowd was dispersing slowly. Around me lay scattered the stones that were brought to stone me to death. At last the only ones that were left were me, the Rabbi and his followers. The Rabbi still knelt on the ground beside me. I greedily looked into those eyes. I still saw that deep love I had seen there first. He asked me lovingly. "Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?". I wept at the immense love that flowed from him. I fell at his feet and told "No one, Lord". He looked deeply into my eyes and told me, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more". At that moment love came back into my life. I was left stunned on the sand there. I could not contain all the love that came rushing back into my soul. I just sat prone in the sand and wept my bitterness out. I didn't know how long I sat there. When I returned back to my senses I was alone. All that were left were those writings in the sand and the set of foot prints leading away from those writings and me. Those foot steps seemed to be leading me towards a new life. I got up from the ground with a new hope and determination to find the meaning of the new love that I had found and follow those foot steps where ever they led ....

Love and Prayers Jose