Friday, November 19, 2010

My Daily Bread

It's not about Roti and Daal. Jesus categorically said, do not worry about what to eat. We can be as inattentive to this as we are to our growing nails. This is because there are some real things we should be mindful of.

Consider an Artist, his Brush and the Painting. As time goes by, what remains and matters is the Artist and the  Painting, not the Brush. No body says this painting was done by the nylon, fan round, flat, size 8, French made, brown Brush. The Artist is God, I'm the Brush, The Painting is my life, a master piece in the making. In another words, Jesus is saying, be mindful of the Artist and the Painting and don't worry about the brush too much.

"Give us today our daily bread" alludes to our need for a daily doze of nourishment to translate, a day in our life into a fine stroke of the Artist on the canvas of life. In simple terms, the need for a personal time with God on a daily basis.

Since this is all about a relationship, Let us refer to God as the "Father" here on.

In an earlier post, we saw, how we need to raise ourselves above the physical, emotional, intellectual and social realms to meet with the Father in "Spirit", for we are to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Some times we think we are so immovable and unshakable that we will need couple of tower cranes to lift us up and plug us into that spiritual spot. But the good news is that we can put away the immobility and the cranes because the lifting is not our job but His.

It all starts with a realization that we need this bread for the day. When this happens, often we find ourselves led to a quieter place. Here we present the real "us" in absolute honesty, totally unmasked, as an open book before the Father. A few words find it's way out from the depths of our being as a response to this admission of our utmost frailty and the magnanimity of the Father. Our spirit acknowledges the love that is lavished on us through Jesus Christ. As this reality slowly crystallizes into a conviction, we begin to see our iniquities, shortfalls and how it impedes this building relationship between us and the Father. So we allow ourselves to be purged little by little. And as this happens, we are enveloped in an ever increasing tranquility and inner peace. Our bodies groan and tears roll down. These tears are unmistakably that of repentance, forgiveness, unconditional acceptance and freedom, a foretaste of the reality of heaven.

Our hearts now delightfully resonate with verses such as "One day in your court is greater than a thousand elsewhere. Taste and see how good the Lord is. He is like the honey in the rock. It is no longer I but You who live in me. If you drink of the water I give you, you shall never be thirsty again. Let me dwell in your presence forever more...". 

As this experience recede and gently re-leave us into the reality of the world, our hearts want to tell Him, Lord use me. This daily doze of love is what sustains us for the dayThis intimacy lingers through the day, as our eyes, hands and feet becomes that of Christ for He has none but ours.

Father, Give us today our daily bread.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The life and beyond

If our life on earth is a dot we make with a pen on a paper, our life after death is as much as going around the globe a million times. But this small dot decides how we will spend our life in eternity, that is in heaven with God or in hell in total despair.

A saint once had a mystical experience of God. It was so profound that in ecstasy he exclaimed, if paradise was like this, I wouldn't need another paradise. To this Jesus in a vision told him, If the experience you had is like a painting of sky, the paradise you await is the real sky.

All goodness we enjoy today is a foretaste of our ultimate union with God. Death we fear becomes a gateway to this reality. Maranatha, Come Lord come.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm Who I'm

Mighty God, you defined yourself as "I'm who I'm". I wonder why you did not speak anymore.

God is bigger, greater and super exceedingly beyond us. We are only his creation. if He were to define himself, our small brains could not have handled it.

Imagine, you created a creature like an ant using all your intelligence and this creature asks you to define yourself. What would you tell him?. I would think, You tell him, I'm your father, care taker, creator or friend. Would you tell him that you are a hominid, bipedal primate with a brain volume of 1400 cc, characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage, contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. He will never understand you. He will feel so little and will not be able to identify you as father anymore.

This is precisely why our father who is far superior to us just said I'm who i'm. In another words, He is what He has revealed to us. Rest we will know when we meet Him in person in the life yet to come.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jubilee & 10 Lepers!

Sharing by Shibu Devasia a Singapore JY

Dear Family,

I am not the odd one out, if I try to relate all the inspirations & insights with Jubilee, during this year. This thought has been in the pipeline for about couple of week's. Unlike me those who closely hear the gospel, can recall last to last Sunday's gospel reading, it was an ever inspiring gospel of 10 leper's. The reason, the gospel still rings a bell in my head was that I had to frame this mail.
              The scene of me sitting & hearing the priest, do still persist in my mind, more so the gospel theme & how closely we can relate to it. Not because we all were 'lepers', but frankly speaking we were not better than 'one' either, before Jesus & the movement came in my life - the pain of being not 'accepted' & not being one of the 'normal' is quite comparable to a feeling  a 'leper' may have. Though the physical pain in no way comparable, but the emotional pain is somewhat similar and when our LORD heals us we do owe him a lot.
            Today when most of us look back, we may agree that the life we live has been a blessing & what we are today might just be a dream if we had not come close to Jesus through the movement. Today if we have a stable job, its simply because of HIM, never in my life I could have imagined a job that I have now, more interesting is the 'least' of the effort that I have put to get one, its all pre-planned by the one above.
              Today if our talent is show casted through the way we think, or the way we write or the way we speak/sing or the way we deal with people is simply because we learnt from the movement through its various initiatives.
              Today, if we can voice our say pretty articulately, with precision & added flavor of creativity then no denying fact that we have learnt that from our various stages of involvement in the movement.
              I would even say, to correctly discern our vocation & to lead a healthy family life was in a way taught by the movement & still it continues...
              End of the day, if I look back all the mess that was in my life or the wounds as a 'leper' that persisted has been healed by Jesus & mostly these blessing have come through the movement. The gift of a liberal thinking, gift of loving others, gift of good job, gift of a good family, gift of good friends & many more has been freely given to us by the real 'gifter' but in most of the case it didn't fall 'directly' from heaven but I guess through the movement.
               So, sometime I wonder, can any of these 'gifts' has the real 'gravity' or the reasoning to hold back any of the Jesus youth around the globe from not attending Jubilee? Attending it is our simple way of giving thanks to the Lord for what we are today! and the least one can do as a gratitude & acknowledgment for the unlimited grace & blessings that we reap each day & will continue to reap till our death. 

May we as the lone wise 'leper' rejoice & come to the Lord this Jubilee.

Shibbs & fly

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An young historian's take on Jesus Youth

Recently Manoj Sunny began his letter with the question, "What is the difference between JY and other movements?" Interestingly, this is the exact theme I planned to write on. Hopefully I will take it an interesting new direction. It's important for us to realize that Jesus Youth is not simply "another charismatic movement" but, as are all true Church movements, it is a movement with a very specific spirituality, given to us by the Holy Spirit at the time of its founding. As the Jubilee Conference draws near, an excellent way to prepare is to get in touch with this very spirituality.

The core of the Jesus Youth spirituality, is, of course, the six pillars. Prayer, Word of God, Sacramental Life. These three deal with the personal spirituality of Jesus Youth, the interior life, the action in contemplation. One of the defining traits of Jesus Youth is their personal responsibility for their spirituality. Prayer, Bible reading, Mass, Confession, are not something utilized if conveniently available, but rather are actively pursued.

Fellowship, Evangelization, Option for the Poor. These are how we express that personal spirituality; they are the exterior life, the contemplation in action. These external actions will only be as effective as our own personal spirituality. It can be argued that these pillars all build on each other: Prayer fuels Word of God, which helps us appreciate the Sacraments; these three are necessary for Fellowship, which helps in our Evangelization, which draws a variety of people to us so we can create a better Option for the Poor.

Besides these six pillars, there are several other very specific charisms of the movement. Within the movement, our spirituality is expressed through community life, with guidance from elders, pastors, and other youth. This community life often takes place in and around JY families. This life always has the focus of a pathway to holiness, answering the universal call to holiness proclaimed by Vatican II, genuinely seeking to form saints. But perhaps more than anything else, Jesus Youth has been blessed with absolute fidelity to the teachings and Majesterium of the Catholic Church. This is our anchor; this is what keeps us from going astray, as others before us unfortunately have.

Perhaps this fidelity to the Church is what the movement was blessed with first, as Jesus Youth is a remarkable reflection of the entire universal Church. The six pillars are literally a perfect balance of interior and external spirituality. We could dare to say that the six pillars sum up all Jesus recommended to us and commanded us to do, yet without necessarily emphasizing any one aspect over the other. We also find in our expression of this spirituality similarities to the apostolic church recorded in Acts: reliance on the Holy Spirit, missionary trips, following up these trips through various means of communication, and of course, a lay community life filled with prayer, trust, and teaching. Finally, there is a constant link to the Majesterium and especially Vatican II; indeed, I have already quoted from VII documents twice in this letter.

It is this very universality of Jesus Youth that draws people in across all cultures, states of life, and rites of the church. Jesus Youth has spread as far and wide as it has, reaching the hearts of so many people, laity, priests, and religious alike, because perfectly responds to the call of the Church, doing so with our own distinctive charisms: joy; a focus on fellowship/communion and relationships; and total willingness to sacrifice for the cause.

Even right now, we can see the intimate link between Jesus Youth and the heart of the Church. Seeming to almost prefigure our Jubilee Conference, a special meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the Church in the Middle East is being held right now from October 10-24. The theme of the Synod? "Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32), a verse which has always reminded me immediately of Jesus Youth. In his inaugural homily for the Synod, Pope Benedict XVI said:

"Without communion there can be no witness: the life of communion is truly the great witness. Jesus said it clearly: “It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples” (Jn 13:35). This communion is the same life of God which is communicated in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ. It is thus a gift, not something which we ourselves must build through our own efforts. And it is precisely because of this that it calls upon our freedom and waits for our response: communion always requires conversion, just as a gift is better if it is welcomed and utilized."

Do we not see a clear reflection of the Jesus Youth lifestyle in the Pope's words? And this is something being addressed to the entire Synod of Bishops!

So please allow yourself to experience the Jubilee grace this year; please do not allow any worldly anxieties, difficulties, or sorrows get in your way. This is the best opportunity you'll have for 25 years to truly experience the universality of Jesus Youth: as if the prospects of meeting Jesus Youth from 25 countries and counting wasn't exciting enough, Cardinal Ryklo (attending the Synod of Bishops as we speak!) and many other archibishops, bishops, priests, and religious are also attending. Please come to the Jubilee and truly experience the universal grace of Jesus Youth.

See you at Rajagiri!

God Bless!
From Bangalore,
Richie Dow, JYA (NJ)
Birthday Boy

About Richie - He is an young dynamic Jesus Youth from New Jersey(USA). Currently in India to help Jubilee mobilization and volunteer for Jubilee Conference. He is currently pursuing his bachelors in Chinese History.

Rhea Shares

Rhea an young thirteen year old sharing her 'Chalo Jharkhand' mission experience in her own words.

These few days of Chalo are very remarkable days of my life. In Bangalore when we had the retreat, I learnt a lot of things. During the classes taken about purification the best thing I liked was that ''If you sin, God will not punish you because God loves you so much, but when you sin, it is you who try to hide your sin and that punishes yourself '', so in other words it is you who punish yourself when you sin.

Then I had a very good experience during Adoration and not only that it was for the first time that I could be a part of the Holy Mass when it was celebrated in the train. And also, I learnt a lot of things in these 20 days, I understood how difficult it is to live in the villages and so I feel that I am so lucky to have so many good facilities and I feel that I am living in paradise, I also feel that I saw the world now.

 I understood that Prayer is so powerful and that our God is so merciful. But still there were some sufferings during this mission but I had actually expected more sufferings. Speaking about the people of Jharkhand I feel that they are so great, especially the people of the villages, when we went to stay in the villages they gave us everything they had, they treated us like their own family members, they were so caring and loving and the best thing I liked was that- when we went to their homes they greeted us saying ''Jai yeshu''. Then I also liked the Jharkhand style of welcoming people, it shows that they are so humble.

Then speaking about the program most of the classes were so different and inspiring. And the games, the team work, and the home visiting were all very enriching. I will never forget all these things in my life. Then speaking about the participants, all of them were so friendly and nice, on the first day when I saw all of them together I never thought that I could be friends with all of them because all of them were older than me but later on I saw that they came and spoke to me and i felt so happy because of their friendliness.

Then when all of us went to the ''Missionaries of Charity'', I really felt that I am so lucky. Then speaking about the Leaders they were so caring, loving and helping. And overall speaking about the whole program it was very, very good and I got to know more about Jesus and about the world in which I am living. I understood that I am so lucky and I got to know about the lifestyle of others and now I am so happy to be a part of this program and I also feel that in these 20 days I have learnt more things than these 14 years of mine.

Thank you  & God Bless 
Rhea Mathew 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time for beginning another Exodus

Time for beginning another Exodus
we should not allow any of our brothers and sisters to miss this time of Grace
Manoj Sunny (General Convener Jubilee Conference)

What is the difference between JY and other movements? This is one of the questions I used to ask myself whenever I came in contact with other movements. There are many differences, but one that has always inspired me is the purpose and motivation of every Jesus Youth. In many other groups, I find that people go in order to receive something in their life – especially in the form of blessings. But in our groups, people come in order to give themselves to do His will. People are willing to set apart many things; to lose many things in their life in order to follow Him. Some may start this journey for blessings; but soon they understand that JY is all about losing and giving. However, all of us know that our Lord will never stand at the receiving end – He will give it back to us a thousand fold – in His time.
I am quoting from one of the recent mails from Shelton sent to the Rexband:
“Joji Babu, earlier KYCT coordinator, was sharing something important in a recent Jubilee meeting from a scriptural perspective. It made me rethink my approach to the Jubilee. He was talking about Moses and how he approached Pharaoh to let the Israelites go to Israel to celebrate jubilee. At first, the Pharaoh said that all the men could go. But Moses was not satisfied. Then the Pharaoh allowed the families to go. But Moses was not satisfied until the families, with all their children, cattle and possessions left the bondage of Egypt to celebrate Jubilee. Then Joji Babu was talking about his difficulties of how he is arranging to travel with his entire family in spite of the classes of children etc. He was speaking about bondage of our own ambitions and physical and financial limitations that keep us locked in our world - safely far away from the Jubilee, from the congregation, the blessings and the call for the next level of ministries in our lives.
In a sense, it shook me a bit, because in spite of all the buzz about Jubilee, I have also in the back of the mind, thought about it as an important 'JY programme' for which I will need to take leave. Now I am slowly beginning to realize that the Jubilee is for each one of us, like the Israelites, an opportunity to let go of what we are constantly clinging on and direct our journey into the land and mission that God is leading us.
Besides, for each one of us, Jesus Youth has been our Exodus out of the 'Egypts' that we could have gone in our earlier days. We chose to seek God's will not because of our good sense, but because God spoke through our friends in the movement, because of our prayer experiences in the movement and the mission of the Church that we discovered here. So for us the Jubilee is our way of saying 'Jesus, above everything, I value what you have done in my life'. And taking great trouble to come together with our families children, our possessions and our joy is such a beautiful gesture of gratitude.
So, let us encourage and support each other to take the trouble to make this journey. In the Jubilee meeting, I was hearing stories of how pregnant women who deliver in November are planning to travel from abroad with their one month old babies so that the new generation will begin their life with the joy of the Jubilee. So wherever you go and wherever you meet Jesus Youth, please remember to share the Jubilee Story and ask them to leave things behind and start the journey - not individually, but with the entire family. It is not easy. Like the Israelites, someone like Moses will have to intercede for us so that our chains are taken away. And like Moses, it is perhaps the call of each one of us to choose families in the JY and start praying for them so that they might make the journey together”
The Jubilee conference is all about giving oneself and losing many things in our lives; money, time etc. At one point of time in our lives, we all set out on an ‘Exodus’, blindly trusting Him. He has blessed us with more than we want, more than we deserve. I have a fear that many of us are busy taking care of these blessings. Jubilee is the time for beginning another Exodus; to take up a new mission according to the promptings of the Spirit. The entire JY family is going to listen to Him. We strongly believe this is going to be much more than a programme. If we are going to take this as another conference, there is no need for all these struggles. But if we are coming here to share, listen and recommit ourselves to begin a new journey, we should not allow any of our brothers and sisters to miss this time of Grace.
Happy Jubilee.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The beginning of Prolife outreaches in Bangalore

You read about how our lord brought Josephine Maria into the lives of Bangalore pro-lifers and how she became the intercessor in heaven for Bangalore pro-life ministry. Now it is time to look at how the outreaches of Bangalore pro-life ministry started. So here is the first pro-life out reach of the ministry and how it happened when a few people stepped out in faith. Even when they stepped out with out any prior experience in spreading pro-life message and into the heart of the battlefield, an abortion clinic, keeping God at the forefront of the battle, what miraculous conversions happened. Hear it in the words of a pro-life member.

The Pro-life team consisted at that time of about 15 working people who used to gather together regularly on Fridays to intercede for the cause of Pro-life. One among us who used to gather there was a nurse. Towards the end of 2007, she got a job in a small hospital in the center of Bangalore City. It was only weeks later, to her shock, that she discovered that there are frequent abortions happening at the hospital, as many as 300 a month. She refused to work there any more and resigned her job. She shared this with us when she came in for the pro-life team meeting. Everyone in the team was deeply concerned. We knew this was a frequent happening in the hospitals in and around Bangalore, but hearing it for the first time in a first hand account like this had an impact on all of us. We were not at all sure of what to do. In prayer we decided that we should visit the hospital. None of us at that time had the slightest inkling of what it is going to turn out to be.

So on February 17, 2008, Saturday, the pro-life team gathered together in a chapel in a seminary nearby. No one had any idea how to start off. We decided that what ever we do, we should do it in prayer. So we spent around one and a half hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It was decided that one team should go for the outreach and the other team should be interceding for the people who are going through out the time they are gone. Then we picked lots to see who should go for the outreach and who should be interceding for them. The selected team of 4 got ready to go to the Hospital and the rest of the people remained in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

When the team got to the hospital, none of us had any idea how it should all start. So two minutes were spent in prayer and it was decided that we should go and meet the doctor directly. So we walked up to the nurse at the reception and asked to meet the doctor. We told the nurse about Jesus Youth and pro-life ministry in brief and that we had come to see the doctor. All this time we were expecting to be thrown out by the hospital security guards any time. But the nurse asked us to wait for some time till the doctor got free. That gave all of us some courage. We shared with the nurses and some of the people who were waiting to see the doctor about pro-life and gave some of the pamphlets that we had brought with us. That removed the initial inhibitions that we had and we now had the courage to face the doctor. The nurse came over to tell us that the doctor will see us now.

We went in and introduced ourselves as pro-lifers, we spoke to the doctor about the preciousness of life, abortion and pro-life. We spent about 15 minutes with the doctor. She received our message very well. There was a dentist among us, he gave his phone number to the doctor and we came out. We were all thrilled that we were able to talk about pro-life with so much courage and conviction. Then it was a whirlwind, we went to every room in the hospital and met every nurse in that hospital and talked about the preciousness of life. And we all came back praising the lord for going before us to prepare the hearts to receive his message.

The results were miraculous. The doctor stopped abortion on that day. The next week we had a follow-up outreach to the same place and the staff said that no abortion happened there in the last week. The doctor now counsels anyone coming to her for abortion and if they are not willing to relent, she would refer them else where. We can confidently say that she became a pro-life doctor and a big support for us.

She also became our coworker in saving innocent lives of babies who were going to be aborted. Our second pro-life baby came into our hands through her. That is for another time.

Theology of the Body - Decoded

According to the Holy Father, "Those who seek the accomplishment of their own human and Christian vocation in marriage are called, first of all, to make this 'theology of the body' . . . the content of their life and behavior" (April 2, 1980).
Here we are giving you a small picture as what the Theology of the Body is all about.
This article has 11 pictures that are linked to each other. So go down nice and slow, read through and understand what each picture is trying to tell.

So here we go. .
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1. Who is GOD?

2 . . Why adam and eve? and what's the mystery all about?

3 . . How do we share that love with God ?
4 . . But . .

5 . . This is where Our Pope Brings our Beloved Jesus to the Picture!
He says Jesus is the Groom and The Church is the bride! Didn't get it right?

6 . . So the relationship between Jesus and the Church is ??

7 . . What about Mother Mary ?

8 . . So that means ?

9 . . So SEX is ?

10 . .But again the enemy !

11. . But the Choice is ours!

We hope you got a rough idea what the Former Pope was trying to tell. The theology of the Body has such depth, it would take ages to understand the complete chapter. We live in a world where love has no meaning. But if we think and hold our hands together, we can mold the coming generation as God wants the world to be. So lets pray to the Lord asking to purify our minds, our bodies and our souls. And also to safeguard us from any kind of evil.

As John Paul II says " Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family - a domestic church". Lets stand together as one and represent the church and bind together with one and only God, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

God Bless you all. :)

Prepared By -- Jino Jose a 20 year old JY from Bangalore

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What it means to be a Jesus Youth

"They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the  temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with
exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who werebeing saved. (Acts 2 :42-47) "

If someone ask me the reasons, for which I was first attracted to Jesus Youth Movement, above is the answer.In this Jubilee time some questions came to my mind; and I felt it is good to give a thought.

Whenever I was asked What is Jesus Youth? I always liked to answer it like this; Jesus Youth is a person , who leads a Christ centered life, who nriches his relation with Jesus, day by day through Personal Prayer,
Sacraments, Mediation of Word of God and Joyful fellowships, who reflects Jesus in their thoughts, words and actions, to make other people experience love of God, who spreads the Kingdom of God, wherever they are - Who is ajoyful contradiction to the world (As Pope John Paul II challenges). Again,
Jesus Youth is a movement , where people with above said characteristics come together to grow and help others grow .

*My Questions:*

As a Person; how am I responding to my call, how is my relation with my Lord do I still have the first love, how much am I rooted in JY spirituality,do I still have the missionary zeal in me, am I spreading Love, Joy and Kingdom of God in my surroundings ..

As a Movement, how far we reached, how is our going, as we reach/spread tonew places/countries/continents, do we grow deeper in small prayer groups,which is the base of our movement, are we/our style still able to attract new generation to the Lord, are we equipped ourselves to cater their
spiritual needs - Our leaders around the globe are engaged now, evaluating the second part. I think I must do the first part for myself (It s I, who makes community).

- Anto, a Jesus Youth(I, still doubt to say it loudly!!!!!)

I was literally misled to my first retreat, as I was told like some youth camp . As I have already attended some camps, conducted by different organizations, I took it as a time to do have some fun and mean to spend one week of my vacation. I never knew it was a Jesus Youth retreat and it came to me like a shock when they gave the instruction on first day, we will keep complete silence during the retreat . And there were no other options;I had to attend it completely.

The first letter I received on my name, I remember was a 25 paise post card by Jesus Youth Subzone team, inviting me for a prayer meeting. I attended the same with some of my friends and was very much touched with warm welcome we received and the family bonding we felt over there. It became our habit
and an unavoidable event for us to participate in those monthly meetings. I still remember the love and care of all those leaders (we never called them leaders, but *Chettans* - big brother), and the relation they built and
maintained with our parents and families, which tied us with the movement.As we realized the love and care of God and as we grow in the JY spirituality, slowly we started attending prayer groups, initiated prayer groups, took responsibilities, became part of various training programs and projects,.

There I started my journey as a Jesus Youth. There were many ups and downs in that, but my Lords love remained constant. He continued working miracles in my life and gave me many opportunities to be a tool in his hands, with no consideration of my worth. I had never been constant in maintaining constants, but always I kept on track with the help of one or the other.

In my initial days, prayer groups and other gatherings helped me to realize and come closer to HIS love. They helped me to build the habit of Personal Prayer and Meditation of the Word of God. Many senior JY s gave personal attention and care to my spiritual and material life. (It s been a long time by now, that I stay away from my home for livelihood, but some of these leaders are still in touch with my parents, they constantly visit my home and had been playing my role in my absence).

As time went on, I lost the first love I had (Rev 2 : 4). I lagged in personal prayer and meditation of word of God. Many at times I was less serious, even about sacraments (a basic thing that every Christian would
do). As a result, I many times gave up to the enemy, who is lurking at the door (Gen 4 : 6). Still my God didnt let me go, but hold me closer to him. Because of his love and grace, I somehow managed till now, with one constant or the other. As a Jubilee resolution, I have decided and started to follow these three constants strictly. And I need all of you to pray for me to stay constant.

Prayer group/fellowship was something I always been strict to it, (I thinkmany of us are!). Initial days were beautiful, as they made a shell for me.I was with one or the other JY in almost all the time. I recall my college
JY prayer groups and zonal/subzone gatherings. Such a nurturing were thosefellowships, each moments were filled with new thoughts, experiences, andvigor. I already mentioned about the senior leaders who inducted me to JYfamily. It was this family bonding and fellowship helped me to rise again each time I fall, to come back each time I go astray.

Now at my place, people do consider me as a senior JY. Here I do compare the affection and care I received in my initial time and that I give to the new young people, whom my Lord has given to me. I, many at times skipped away from building and maintaining a personal relation with many of them
(and with their families, as my leaders did), that would have helped them to grow in the ministry. I do doubt, whether they experience the same family bonding and affection, like the early Christian communities (Acts 2 :42-47), in our gatherings! Many of them don t feel the warm welcome in my prayer groups. I did not value everyone as the same, regardless of their race, tongue, or tribe. I found it easy many at times to remain in my
comfort zones. I do written off some people, marking them like they are never going to be a JY. I forgot that I was once like them, ever worse than them (Eph 2). And the result, I was unable to communicate/convince many. I was alien to them, when I speak. The ministry did suffer much from it. My second Jubilee resolution is to open the doors of my heart to all, regardless of their race, color, tongue and tribe. I will try to be like
St. Paul, who was everything to everyone. I will make sure that my prayer groups do give the affection, bonding and care to all who comes there. I will be a friend to everyone, as my leaders were to me.

Most of my senior leaders were great role models. Many like me were pulled to the ministry, by just seeing them. Many those who skipped their meals and sleeps continuously for the ministry, those who left their jobs for the ministry, those who walked miles and miles for spreading this love and those simple initiatives that made big changes. Remember the sacrifices of the pioneers of our ministry. They never knew this was going to be such a big platform, still shed their sweat for the ministry. Their commitments, sacrifices, vision etc have made way for me to this ministry. But when I think, how many are dragged to the ministry, seeing my lifestyle,commitment, zeal - they are not even a handful. I wish this Jubilee year will help me to be more committed and zealous person and I too, would be able to bring more people in to his Love.

I wish the Jubilee year may be a wonderful time of revival to all of us in the ministry.
*Refined in thy Fire, Renewed in thy Spirit, Radiant in thy Holiness, Amen.*

With Love and Prayers,

Anto Simon K.

Jassowal, Ludhiana, Punjab

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Spirit of Unity" (Romans 15:5)

"Spirit of Unity" (Romans 15:5)

Faten Mukarker, a Palestinian Christian, the author of “Leben zwischen Grenzen” shares in her book, her life and struggle between the National border and the religious border and the pain of disunity in her land and Israel. We have been hearing for years the story of the battle and struggle between Israel and Palestine. The Wall in between Israel and Palestine goes through her family garden. She shares her story with us in tears.After reading and hearing her sad and pathetic narration I asked myself, why can’t they just live together? Why must there be such hostility and division?

Similar thoughts came to my mind when I visited Jerusalem, and felt ashamed, especially when I visited the “Tomb Church”. The division and conflicts among the different Church denominations are conspicuous there. Often it is the place where the demonstration of these conflicts takes place. Why can’t they work together in serving the Lord? Why is there such disunity among the Churches in the name of our Lord, who came to reconcile everyone with God and with each other and who prayed for unity and harmony among His disciples? And why do people quarrel in the name of the Lord, who taught that God is the Father of all and all are His children belonging to the same family?

St. Paul in his letter to the Romans advice “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Rom15:5).
- Unity is a gift of God or unity is given by God: Paul says it is God who is the source of patience and encouragement and who gives us the Spirit of Unity. Perhaps we can reach unanimity or uniformity with our own means but God alone can give us the Spirit of Unity.

- In the letters of Paul, especially in Romans, we see how much Paul desires and thirsts for unity and harmony. It is God who desires unity and harmony. In John’s gospel, Jesus prays for His disciples, “Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me... so that they may be one just as you and I are one” (Jn.17:11b).

- We are the body of Christ: This is what St. Paul tries to put across by using the image of the body, “Just as in one body there are many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we are many and one body in Christ… with different gifts according to the grace that has been given to us” (Romans 12:4-6).

… like the vine… a branch alone cannot bear fruit… it can only bear fruit if it remains in the vine (Jn. 15:4). For the vine, every branch is important. The number of branches which are healthy, which stay in union with the stem of the plant and which stay in union with other branches, increases the yield of the vine. We cannot think of a vine, the branches of which quarrel with each other. The same way, every person is important for the movement (human society). The more all live in harmony and co-operation, greater will be the fruits of peace, love and joy.

- Oneness or harmony even in the midst of diversity demands openness to see the wonderful works of God. God cares and loves everyone and everything. He has made every person unique. Differences are not threats, but they add to the beauty of the world and of the human society, when they are accepted with openness – just like how flowers of different colours, shapes and fragrance add to the beauty of a garden.

- For this we need Christ’s attitude of forgiveness: “in accord with Christ...” (Rom15:5b). Forgiveness is essential to achieve the Spirit of Unity. For a victim, forgiveness means ´letting go´ of the bitterness caused by the evil done to him/her. It involves finding relief in Christ who bears our pain. Jesus prayed on the cross and said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Lk.23:34). That Jesus forgave them does not mean that He accepted as good what they did. He was suffering unjustly because of their wrongdoing. He had the power to take revenge on them, to destroy them. But He decided to go beyond His pain and anger and see everything as a part of the loving plan of the Father.

- Openness to the diversity... Unity in diversity rather than uniformity helps us to attain harmony. Unity is not uniformity. Everyone is unique. God has created everyone like that. That is, the differences are willed by God. Often, we have a tendency to make others like us, because we consider the differences as threats to our existence and well-being. But in reality, the differences do not threaten us. They become threats only when we consider them as threats and thus try to destroy the differences. Co-operation, not competition, is the way to peace. Recognition of the uniqueness of others, not feelings of superiority, is the way to success and harmony.

- It is to wear the attitude of Beatitude: It is God’s approach to love... One who receives the unconditional love and mercy of God extends it to others which results in harmony. The basis for accepting others with their uniqueness is our faith that God is the Father of all. Every human being is a child of God, hence a brother or sister of mine. All belong to the same family. God loves everyone, even those who reject Him. Even when people do evil, God continues to love them as His children and tries to guide them in His path. And when someone is away from Him, He comes in search of him/her. He is Love, He is Mercy, He is Compassion, He is Generousity. Jesus asks us to have the same attitude and approach of the Father – that is to be generous in love, compassion and mercy. Even when others do evil, we should continue to love them and try and reconcile with them. Even when they are different, we should try and accept them as they are. Even when they keep away from us, we should continue to be good to them. Thus, we will follow the words and actions of Jesus.

- Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI says “Christians need to make the first move in offering Reconciliation and establishing Peace”. Our model for reconciliation is reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. In Israel many people greet each other by saying “Shalom” which in English translates as “Peace”. In modern times, this “Peace” is often misunderstood as ceasefire or absence of tension or war. But “Shalom” means much more, it is completeness or wholeness with God, with one another and with creation. It is nothing other than the presence of God. Pope Benedict says, “That God came to be among humanity shows that God is always near and always among His people. This is the source of hope and an inspiration to reconcile oneself with God and with one’s neighbours”. St. Paul writes the same in his letter to the Colossians, “...forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col.3:13). Put off your old self… learn to recognize the characteristics of the old life, a self–centred life... and put on the new one and lead a life of harmony and reconciliation.

- “Clothing the movement in white linen” was often understood by me as a sign of blessing, a sign of the providence, mercy and protection of God. But after reflecting on Colossians 3:12-14, I was thinking that it is more than just a protection and blessing of God. It is not one-sided or one way, rather it is a call and a response. It is a gift and a responsibility. It is grace and duty. St. Paul says, “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other”(Col.3:12). God in His mercy called and appointed us in this movement to be holy and beloved to Him, to wear this attitude of Beatitude and accomplish everything in union with him. Put off the old man and clothe your life and thinking deliberately with these seven qualities that reflect the life and temperament of Jesus. As God’s chosen people we ought to put on at every moment of our lives these qualities of Jesus, these qualities of grace. And this is none other than the Jesus Youth lifestyle. Having given us this beautiful lifestyle, St. Paul tells us to wrap it all around with the bond of love. “And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Love binds everything together. Put on the cloak of love.

Since we are the body of Christ… let the Love and Peace of Christ reign in our hearts and let us live in His Spirit of Unity.

Rev. Fr. Ajy Mooleparambil CMI
Schermbeck, Germany

Monday, March 22, 2010

Burning for others

Burning for others - Thirst for Souls

This year the weather has been unusually hot and dry, at least in Kerala. It seems to stay so for long periods of time. In the heat of the day we all feel extremely thirsty and long for a drink. And thirst is always related to water.

Lent is a period often associated with desert, heat, dryness, barrenness, etc. This is typically the situation of a soul that is away from the ‘living waters’. It feels the aridity. But sometimes it can be otherwise also. Even if a soul is actively and positively open to the Spirit, it may lack the lively experience. Then too the soul is thirsty. This is the thirst expressed by the psalmist when he says, “my soul thirsts for the Lord”. Many of the saints like St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross have also experienced the same thirst.

Our theme for reflection this week is Jn.19:28 – Jesus’ thirst. Obviously this thirst was severely misunderstood by those standing around Him. Taking it for the ordinary human thirst, they brought Him sour wine or vinegar which He did not accept, because His thirst was not for water but for souls – human souls!! This is substantiated by another passage from John’s gospel itself: Jn.4:1-38 (Jesus and the Samaritan woman). This is also a passage that has been misunderstood. Jesus came to the city of Sychar near the well of Jacob. V.4b says that Jesus was tired from His journey and sat down by the well, and it was about noon. Subsequently Jesus asks the Samaritan women for a drink, proving that He was thirsty. Meanwhile His disciples went to get food and drink.

But as the conversation advances we realise that Jesus was not thirsty for water from the well. Then when His disciples return and asks Him to eat and drink He tells them the same thing, He has food that they do not know about. That, definitely, is the soul of people. So Jesus’ thirst was always for the souls of people.

In a way this thirst is shared from the Father, who first thirsted for sinful people. After the fall of humanity, it was the intense thirst of the Father that caused His only son to become a man. In that way, we can also understand incarnation as an expression of the thirst of God. Jesus shared this thirst of the Father without loosing its intensity and carried it on till His passion.

Down the road, the apostles too shared this thirst of the Master. There is no other justification for them to travel to unknown lands, to unknown people, for them shedding their blood, letting their lives be sacrificed; than for this same passion and thirst for souls. Across the centuries till today, we encounter scores of holy men and women who steadily share the same thirst and are willing to readily lay down their lives to quench this thirst. St. Francis Xavier used to say, “give me souls and take away all the rest”. St. John Mary Vianney spent 18-20 hours a day in the confessional to quench this thirst of the Master by bringing souls back to Him. Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to write these words, near the crucifix in the chapels of all her convents, “I Thirst” to remind her and her nuns the same thirst of the Master. She thirsted with her Master throughout her life for the last, the lost and the least. Countless martyrs, innumerable missionaries, myriads of ordinary disciples have shared this thirst of the Master.

Now it is for us as Jesus Youth to share in depth this thirst of our Lord and Master. Being at the service of the Church is nothing other than sharing this thirst of Christ whose body is the Church. But how? Recently we learned about the atrocities committed against our missionary brothers and sisters in many parts of the North of India. Asked about if they wanted to go back to their mission regions again, every single one of them responded with an emphatic ‘yes’. Is this not the thirst for souls?

All of us may not have opportunities to go for mission or to do a heroic act. But every one of us can have a burning desire for the salvation of souls. This can primarily lead us to pray intensely for souls; souls of our own dear and near ones. If we know someone, for some reason, is far from the Lord, is our heart burning to bring him/her back to the Lord? If we know that one of our friends is walking through a dangerous path, how burningly do we want to save him/her? In this season of Lent, how much positively have we encouraged our peers to ‘turn away from evil and do good’? The list of questions can go on and on. But as we have come to know what it means to burn for others, let us now act. May God give us the courage to keep on burning and not burn out!! Amen

Let us Pray: O Jesus, who thirsted for my soul, help me to thirst for the souls of others. Lord, give me the courage to do the right thing to quench Your thirst. Keep the thirst growing in me. Help me to share this thirst with others and to one day see that all Your thirst is quenched. Amen

To do:

•Talk to at least two people about the need of the sacrament of reconciliation.
•Meditate before the Blessed Sacrament for a few minutes about the times you have missed to share the thirst of the Lord.
•Try to talk to a missionary/a fulltimer about the experience of mission.
•Read more about the option for the poor.

Rev. Fr. Thomas Tharayil
Kottayam, India

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The story of Josephine Maria Rose, the start of a prolife journey

As told to me by the Prolifers of Bangalore Jesus Youth -

This is the story of Josephine Maria Rose and Angel that touched the lives of prolifers of Bangalore and the story of how a journey of miracles, miracles of life started in the Prolife Ministry of Bangalore.

It all started on 23 November 2007, Friday evening, with a call from a Nursing Student studying at a Nursing home in a village about 60 km from Bangalore. In this nursing home there was a premature female child, born at 22.5 weeks and weighing 560g. The mother of the child did not want the child and the hospital didn’t know what to do with the child.

The little baby needed extra care for survival and the parents were not willing to bear any more burden. The prolife team called up the doctors at the Nursing Home and they were happy to give the permission to take the child, provided we were ready to give an undertaking, assuming full responsibility of the child. They also wanted a consent letter from the parents that they do not want to take any further responsibility, we agreed.

Four of us prolifers, including a husband and wife, left Bangalore by taxi and reached the nursing home at 12 midnight. The child was placed on the bed near the mother, and she was not even looking at her. The child was alive and occasionally crying out. The parents of the child already had two children and they did not want a third girl child. It was probably a failed abortion. The parents were only too willing to give a letter in writing given the baby’s responsibility to us.

After completing the formalities, we took the little child. The lady among us received the precious child, covered her with the only warm cloth that we had and set off for Bangalore in the taxi itself. Early morning on Saturday at 4 A.M we reached St. Johns Hospital, Bangalore.

Everyone whom we had met while going to collect the baby was of the opinion that there is very little chance of her survival. The doctors at St. Johns also were of the same opinion. The only chance was for her to be put on the ventilator. We agreed to bear the expenses and they immediately moved the child to Neonatal ICU. The chances of her survival were slim, but we felt that her life was too precious to let go so easily. She was on ventilator for two days and we prolifers kept vigil outside the NICU. All we could do was to pray. On Sunday (25th November 2007) night 11.40 pm, she had a cardiac arrest and our little angel went back into the arms of her loving heavenly Father.

She was taken to the cemetery and provided a Christian burial. There were 6 of us by her grave side to say our final byes. Some of us had called her Maria, some others among us named her Josephine. The Sisters who gave her baptism named her Rose. She was the first life that the Lord had placed into our care. She is like our firstborn. We were all deeply sad in our hearts, but we know that we have given our best for this little one of our God whom no one else wanted. And we know that she is in the lap of Jesus and that she knows each one of us by name. We also know that we can raise to her our needs and she will speak on our behalf to Jesus and today she is a powerful intercessor for our ministry. We consider her as our patron saint. We call her Josephine Maria Rose. And that is the point from where the Prolife Ministry of Bangalore blossomed. Certainly our little angel was hard at work in heaven.

The life support systems etc in the hospital were expensive and if someone were to ask us what would you do if there were many other children who asked our support, we do not know the answer. We just did what we felt was right in the eyes of God and we know that what we have done for this little baby, we have done for Christ. We pray that as you read this, you will make a resolution to stand up in defense of every life that is in danger of being snuffed out, in all circumstances.

Website of Bangalore JY Prolife Ministry :

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tracing the footsteps of Christ in Bangalore JY Prolife Misnistry

Dear all,
I have been a mute witness to the amazing ways in which our Lord Jesus has worked through the JY Bangalore Prolife ministry. Only thing I have known about the JY Prolife ministry is that they are a faithful and committed group. They were never a group of extra ordinary, visible, magnetic group of people. But on the other hand a group of prayerful, consistent, people with zeal for the call Lord had given them and who did their bit faithfully. And I have heard from them the wonderful miracles that our lord worked through them. Till now our lord has given the group 16/17 adopted children. Little lives that Christ the savior protected from the hands that were poised to snuff them out. Also the numerous lives that Christ touched through them, changed for ever from being destroyers of lives to protectors of lives.

Here we start a new series, where we chronicle the miraculous ways of our Lord. Be a bit patient with us as we string them together slowly. God bless you.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

A few thoughts at the start of Lent

Another Lent has come by. As the usual practice on every lent, I prepared for the ritual of abstaining from non vegetarian food. It has been a ritual that has been part of my life from early adulthood that it is not so difficult a ritual and almost devoid of significance. This set me thinking on what this Lent should be for me.

The reading on Ash Wednesday started me off. I had read it many times, usually the scenes of temptations are the ones that catch my attention, but this time it was Jesus's retreat into to the desert. For Jesus, it was a time to start his public ministry and the spirit led him to the desert. In the silence and loneliness of the desert he communed with his father. He was strengthened by this time of 40 days in the desert for the ministry that he was about to start. So for me also the 40 days of lent became Gods invitation to be with him, so that I too may be strengthened for the year ahead for me. It became an invitation to be with Him and alone in his presence.

So at the start of this lent I accept his loving invitation to be in communion with him in the silence of my heart and the loneliness of my soul. As I enter this time of communion, like Jesus left companionship, the comforts of his home, the comforts of food and drink, so that he could be in complete communion with his father, I too, as I enter this beautiful time of retreating to Gods presence, leave behind all that would keep me away from this communion with God. My sins that would keep me away from him, my little habits that are not sinful in themselves, but would take away my time with God. I leave my little enjoyments as a humble sacrifice to my loving god and go in search of his love. I don't know how I will fare in the loneliness of the desert. I don't know how I will stay away from the allure of the my little "comforts". I don't know if I will be faithful to the search for his love. I don't even know how and where to search for him.

But I have decided to embark on the journey that this call entails. I know this is a journey that my God asks of me. I know he is looking forward to this time of communion, much more than my heart desires. So I leave all my "baggage" at the edge of the desert and go forth into the desert where I hope I will find my God and come back strengthened. Pray for me friends, my prayers and wishes are with you .. God bless ...

Friday, February 19, 2010

falling cyclestand or the wall(lent special)

"Temptations are for everyone but to fall for it, its one's own choice".This statement for me almost summarizes my own struggle with temptations. Does anyone of us want to do things which we dont like, definetly not but the thing with sin preceeded by its temptation is kind of interesting. I find game of cricket as a great illustration of temptation and sin especially after today's India's win against SouthAfrica at eden gardens, Kolkatta.Wondering how? Well I would see temptation like harbhajan's singh's tossed up ball appearing to the run hungry batsmen like a nice gift which deserves to be behind the boundary lines.So here comes temptation like a nice juicy tossed up delivery and our eyes light up although back of our mind after our intense bowling analysis previous night we may well know that it could be the wrong one (doosra) which could deceive you after pitching on the 22 yard track yet for the moments glory we go for it and all that we see after that is a happy harbhajan dancing with his team members and a person in white stading in the background lifting his ring finger.This illustration readily strikes my mind. We all dont want to sin or like any batsmen get out. One may like it or not , one may or may not be religious , one may or may not be God fearing but somehow our inherent nature feels bad when we do something wrong especially in our own sights and least to say in the sight of God definitely.So we know the consequence,we know the lure, and God has beautifully given us the power to make the choice.Only true love can give us the choice to choose not choose from the choice.Now I know why disciple John after all his experience with God just defined - God is Love.So the choice to be away from Sin is with us , temptations are almost constant but challenge is to put forward our resistance in the same measure.As I read somewhere today - "Temptations Correspond to Our Vulnerabilities........Good habits result from resisting these temptations".... So I feel lent is great blessing to convert our vulnerabilities to good habits through persistant resistance to temptations.Life is a long test match with such lure's and vulnerabilities either be a falling cyclestand or the wall. Choice is with us, with me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Valentine

"there isn't any valentine's day without a valentine
but this is i am my own valentinebecause u can't love anyone more than urse'f"
This is a copy paste of a chat with my friend. This is what she said (The grammar maybe a bit unconventional, as all chat usually is :) )
I thought of this, she said so because she didn't have a valentine, what would you and me have said, if we didn't have one? She is a non believer, its understandable when she says this.
I guess My Lord would be very sad, because HE is the only one who who has written a true love letter to us, John 15. This whole chapter is His expression of love to us. His ultimate expression being the Cross. Lets remember Him this Feb 14th with an even deeper love. Not the one that we express with cards or gifts but with our Life.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is there anything too hard for me?"

Hi all!
Its been long since I posted on to "Discover". Well, I have been going through a little tough period for sometime now, without a job. Two days back I called up a dear Nun friend, "Sr. Mary" who used to be someone with whom I used to share a lot when I was confused or "down" during my college days. She was the animator of the JY in my place during that period. I called her to tell her to step up her prayers for me :)
She was talking to me when she suddenly said "Son, please read Jer 32:27" and claim it when praying. She told me this in Malayalam, I'm someone who is slightly weak in my vocabulary in Malayalam and I tried to translate the verse in English as soon as she kept the phone and found that I was not satisfied with my version of the translation. I was outside at the time, so didn't have the Bible with me to check out the English translation and then lo! I see a message pop in my mobile. Guess what? one of my JY frinds Denny has just sent me a message and it is Jer 32:27 and yeah in English :)

"I AM the Lord, the god of all mankind, is there anything too hard for me?" - Well! I don't doubt you my Lord, My God.
Friends, I don't think you should doubt either. There is nothing too hard for Him.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jesus's prayer for us

Personal reflection based on John 17 (Jesus prays for himself and his disciples):

Whenever I have read this passage I have got a little bored, feeling that Jesus just was saying the same things over and over again as He prays for His disciples. I knew it was definitely much more than that, and so this day I prayed that the Holy Spirit may shed His light to enable me understand the passage and the depth of what Jesus wanted to convey. These are the train of thoughts that came to my mind:

When we speak to someone about something that we feel so strongly about, don’t we do this too – say the same things over and over again? As we pour our hearts out to someone, don’t we find ourselves desperately trying to phrase and rephrase the exact same statements, just wanting to make sure they really understood us? The depth of Jesus’s prayer slowly started to dawn on me. Here is the gist of what He says – ‘I was here with them till now, but now I am going. But they are here (in the world). Father, protect them and keep them from the evil one.’ Jesus knows what it is like to be in this world; He knows what His people will have to go through. So He tells His heavenly Father to keep them, to protect them - over and over again.

I thought about how worried we parents are, as we send our children to school for the very first time. We are concerned about how well they will eat; whether they will know when it’s time to go to the bathroom; whether they will miss us; whether they will cry; whether the teachers will know how to handle them, so on and so forth. The children, on the other hand, may not worry as much, because it’s their first time and they really don’t know what to expect. This thought helped me relate to Jesus’s concern about us as He prays this prayer. He knows what it’s like, and so He prays with all sincerity…He has been through every single emotion/situation that we have or will have to go through in this world. To start with, He didn’t even have a proper place to be born! He has experienced temptations, was scoffed, neglected and falsely accused; He has experienced great stress and tension – so great that his sweat became drops of blood!; He has carried the heavy cross and endured great physical pain and suffering all the way up to the cross on Calvary. He knows what awaits us, and He prays to the Father for our protection.

In His prayer, Jesus says ‘When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them...’ (v 12) Yes, Jesus walked with His disciples and protected them while He was here…By His daily life, He taught the disciples and let them learn from Him….... A few examples from His life came to my mind – examples through which he conveyed valuables lessons on forgiveness, and on listening to the Spirit’s promptings in the various situations we face:

- The story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19), the tax collector. He climbed up the sycamore tree to see Jesus. He had not repented, not turned away from his wrong ways – not yet. He was up in the tree just as he was. He just wanted to see Jesus. Jesus did not wait for him to come ask for forgiveness; Jesus did not wait for him to repair his wrongs. Jesus sensed his repenting heart, and went out to him rightaway – accepted him just as he was. Jesus, our master, set an example for the kind of forgiveness that He asks of us – as soon as we sense a repenting heart, we are called to go forth and forgive, accept and embrace. Isn’t that much higher than the forgiveness that the world teaches us?

A few instances where Jesus speaks out against wrong practices and outlooks:
- When the scribes and Pharisees accuse the disciples of not washing hands, Jesus explains to them that ‘It is not what enters one's mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.’ (Mathew 15:11)
- When the scribes and Pharisees accuse Jesus of healing a man’s withered hand on Sabbath, he explains to them that ‘it is lawful to do good on Sabbath’ (Luke 6)
- On yet another occasion that he’s accused of healing on Sabbath, He says ‘Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?" (Luke 13:16)
In these situations, we see Jesus offering explanations to the scribes and Pharisees, helping them understand the truth. When we come across situations that we can use to offer counsel and advice and thus bear witness to Jesus, we are called to stand up and do it, trusting the Holy spirit to guide and enlighten us.

And then, the picture of Jesus in the Sanhedrin came to my mind. As Jesus is questioned by Pilate, we see him keeping quiet (Mat 27:13, 14) – not speaking out against the injustice, not even defending himself! Here, Jesus teaches us that there are times when we need to speak out, and times when we need to keep quiet...( desperately we need the grace to discern this!) When we stay close to Jesus, we will learn to recognize and listen to His voice in all that we say and do. We will be able to discern His will, and think, speak and do according to the prompting that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts.

- ‘I gave them your word,…’ (v14) : This verse got me thinking again about our children at school…: we feel comforted when we think about the instructions/advice that we have given them. We know we have told them to go ahead and use the bathroom when they need to, and not wait too long; We know we have told them that we will be there to pick them up right after school – ie; we find comfort/solace in the fact that we have ‘given them our words’. And we hope they will remember those words. Just the same way, Jesus says to the Father ‘I gave them your Word’. He hopes that we will remember them, and use them. He hopes that we will read and keep the Word of God close to our hearts, and will be able to use it as we live this life in the world. He knows that this Word that is sharper than a two-edged sword is all we need to fight the evil one. ‘Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.’ (v 17) Jesus prays to the Father to keep us holy , keep us sacred (consecrate) in the truth, which is the word of God.

Think about how happy we feel when someone says that they will pray for us. If so, how great should our joy be, knowing that Jesus our Lord and Savior prays for us to God the Father!

Praise God for his unending love for us!