Thursday, March 17, 2011

A questionnaire

“Even now,” declares the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning - Joel 2:12

Dear Saints in the making,

Here's a questionnaire for you,quickly choose one option for each of the questions 

1) Its a hot afternoon,you are traveling on a Volvo bus,all the while thanking God for the person who invented air-conditioning, you see an old man approaching your seat.Knowing that there are no free seats available,you:
    A) Immediately get up and make way for the old gentleman.
    B) Look around expecting someone else to do the sacrifice,upon seeing that none of the jerks are getting up you reluctantly make way for the old man.
    C) Pretend to be deaf,dumb,blind,mentally-
retarded and in deep meditation all at the same time.

2)You are back from work in the night and sit down for your daily prayer:
    A)You immediately start praying with full vigor forgetting the cares of the world.
    B)You vacillate between your prayer and your cares every 2 minutes,but somehow manage to finish it off.
    C)You immediately start thinking about Muammar Gaddafi and the revolution sweeping across Libya and try to figure out the the effect of these events on the global crude oil prices going forward.Next,you wake up in the morning and rush to work.

3)You miss the deadline of a work assigned to you,you:
   A)Immediately owe up to your mistake resolving never to mess-up again.
   B)Decide to share responsibility between yourself and the rest of your team.
   C)Decide to blame the rest of your team,your computer and Muammar Gaddafi for the mess-up.

4)Upon arriving at the airport you are told that your flight has been delayed by an hour,you:
   A)Thank God for the extra time He has given you for prayer and start praying.
   B)Give an angry look to the ground staff,and begin complaining to God about the aviation industry.
   C)Become a combination of Thor and the Incredible Hulk and make life miserable for yourself and the people around you.

If most of your answers are 'A' ,good for you,you are true blue Jesus Youth ! Congratulations ! Keep it up ! 
If most of your answers are 'B',you are a wannabe Jesus Youth.Work hard.Keep trying.Don't give up.
If all your answers are 'C',well,then you are piyush Philip.Welcome to my world.God help you(and me).

Dearly beloved,this Lent lets strive to convert all our 'B's & 'C's to 'A's.That's what God our father desires from us.That's what Lent is all about.A radical transformation towards Christ and His church.Let the Lent of 2011 be worth remembering for the rest of our lives,and for good reasons.That's my prayer for us today.

Lenten Reflection
To repent is to adopt God’s viewpoint in place of your own…In itself, far from being sorrowful, it is the most joyful thing in the world, because when you have done it you have adopted the viewpoint of truth itself and you are in fellowship with God 

Prayer Requests
1. Pray for the people of Japan,who are affected by one of the worst natural calamity of our times.
2. Pray for the Christians in West Asia.

luv n pryrs,

My problem with Ash Wednesday

Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return - Genesis 3:19

Dear Saints in the making,

So we began our Lenten journey for 2011 last week with Ash Wednesday.Hope you guys are getting holier day by day through His grace.This is a time of exceptional grace.Talking about Ash-Wednesday,I have this strange trepidation towards Ash-Wednesday services since childhood,the reason I never seem to get anything resembling a cross on my forehead.I don't know what the priests have against me,over the years having attended Ash-Wednesday services in different parts of the country I never seem to get a cross on my forehead.It is usually something resembling an amoeba or the map of South America made from ash,but never a cross.And the tragedy is that all my friends and extended family attending the mass with me marked by the same priest get a perfect or a near-perfect cross,but I never seem to get one.(Hope this is not a sign from God ) This Ash-Wednesday was no different,but for a change I got a map of India,still not a cross.On a positive note,a map of India on the forehead is quite patriotic,don't u think

But I still look forward with anticipation to the Ash-Wednesday services,the reason  being the words the priest says while marking the foreheads - "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return". Many times when faced with exceptional hurdles in life we have this natural tendency of asking,"Why God,why are you allowing this to happen ?" Don't we ? Like,why would a loving and kind God allow last weeks earthquake and tsunami in Japan ?  It is precisely this question that this verse from Genesis 3:19 answers.It reminds us about our own mortality.It reminds us that,nothing from this life of ours is permanent.Our successes,our failures and indeed our problems all have an expiry date.In short - ALL OF US WILL DIE.Quite profound and true,right ? Dearly beloved,lets be aware that our eternity is not on this earth.This life and all its troubles are merely a preparation for the eternity of peace that Christ promises to all His believers in His church.And it is this belief in eternity that gives us,the followers of Christ,the courage to face this life and all its seemingly never-ending troubles with a cheerful heart.Because,this is not our home.Heaven awaits us.

Be cheerfully optimistic in the Lord today.

Lenten Reflection

How can we complain when He Himself was considered 'as one struck by God and afflicted' ?   - St. Therese of Lisieux

Prayer Requests

1. Pray for the people of Japan,who are affected by one of the worst natural calamity of our times.
2. Pray that every Catholic makes a radical turn towards Christ and His church this Lent.


Monday, March 14, 2011

For Japan we pray!

Japan needs our prayers. Eathquakes,Tsunami,Volcanic activities, Nuclear fall outs all have shocked this nation at once,  big time. A nation so progressive in its technological advancements is on its knees now when it comes to nature's natural responses. It may have built buildings to withstand strong quakes but nothing is full proof and we the human race are always at the mercy of the nature which sustains us and God who created the nature.

These catastrophic incidents remind me how small we are in spite of our so called intelligence, how vulnerable we are in spite of our precautions, how fragile we are in spite of our wisdom and strength, how inhuman we are without God in our life.

God's foolishness ( if that even exists) is far wiser than all the wisdom of the human race. Lets get back to basics lets get back to God.

Prayers for all in Japan. May all the departed soul's rest in peace.

Hail Mary pray for Japan & its people......

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lenten Fasting - from what comes out of our mouth!

Dear Friends,
At the very outset of this holy season of Lent I thought to share with you about 'Lenten Fasting' that might help us all to benefit from this wonderful and holy season.
Lenten Fasting

On Ash Wednesday, the Christian faithful across the world lift up their faces to be signed with ashes.  This sign is meant to remind us both of our mortality and of the promise of new life through repentance. The ashes signal entry into the holy season of Lent, a time of fasting, an opportunity to deprive the body and consequently make room for the spirit.

While fasting from food can be good practice as an act of discipline – and nothing can be achieved without discipline – I challenge each Jesus Youth to consider another view as we journey this Lenten season.  It is as important to control what goes into our mouth as it is to control what comes out of our mouth (Mt 15:11).  During this lent we would consider fasting from what comes out of our mouth.
There are four areas we might consider in this kind of fasting.  The first is fasting from foul language.   The air around us is full of it: in movies, in TV shows, in commercials, in song lyrics, in novels and magazine articles, and in everyday conversation.  Almost everyone uses it regardless of their age, education, status, etc.   Often such foul language from children, youth and adults is meant to signal sophistication and freedom in this modern world.  Using foul, dirty language or telling a smutty joke may make you feel like a big shot.  But remember what comes out of your mouth tells what is inside your heart.   To my mind, all it signals is poverty of vocabulary and small mind and heart.  Certainly, foul language has no place in the life of a disciple of Jesus.

The second Lenten practice is to fast from judgments spilling out from our mouth.  If not every day, make a sincere effort at least on every Friday of the season, in honour of Jesus’ crucifixion.  And so for each Friday of Lent, make no judgments about people: about their motives, their goodness or badness, their social standing, their defects, their clothes, their colour, their jobs, their mistakes, …  Just see everyone as God’s children, people for whom Christ died, fellow pilgrims.

Thirdly, fast from verbal negatives that so readily come from our mouths: the put-downs, the jabs that hurt, the insults, the criticism, the condemnations, the sarcasm, the harmful gossip, the rumour that smears, …  Again, if it is too much to practice every day of Lent, make it just one day of the week.  Preferably Wednesday, as tradition holds that this was the day Judas let the words which betrayed Jesus fall from his mouth.

The fourth Lenten practice is to let the word “no” fall more often from your mouth.  After all, our “nos” define our every bit as much as our “yesses”.   Let Jesus be our model.  When Pilate questioned Jesus, he shook his head no and refused to answer, for he knew Pilate wasn’t really after the truth.  He said no to the pain-dulling hyssop offered to him on the cross.  He would go all the way for us.  Jesus said no to turn stones into bread for he did not come to serve himself.  On the other hand, when it came to giving bread to other, to the five thousand, he said yes.

So, let us be like Jesus during this journey of Lent.  Say no to lies, cheating, over-consumption, drugs, premarital sex, pornography, …   But say yes to truth, words that heal and encourage, to charitable deeds and sharing, to prayer time, to families need for your presence and time, … Say yes to all the six JY pillars.  Say yes to Jesus.

May God bless us with a grace filled holy season of Lent.

Fr. Bitaju Puthenpurackal, O.SS.T.
Pastor, JYIT

Monday, March 7, 2011


Dear One's in Christ,                  
                              One of the truisms of the Christian journey is that the holier we get, the more sinful we discover we are. This apparent paradox is because the closer we come to God, the more spotlights God shines into our lives revealing the sin hidden in the shadows, much like a ray of sunlight in a room reveals particles of dust and debris that one would never notice otherwise.
                              The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: "venial sins", which are relatively minor and can be forgiven through any sacramental or sacraments of the Church (as well as through prayer and acts of charity), and the more severe "grave" or mortal sins. The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of objectionable vices, that were originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen man’s tendency to sin.
                           They are called capital because all the sins of commission and omission that we commit are said to flow from these seven capital sins.However, each of these may be venial or mortal depending on the specific case. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent” (CCC 1857)
                      In the Book of Proverbs, it is stated that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hated and the seventh His soul detested." namely:
• A proud look.
• A lying tongue.
• Hands that shed innocent blood.
• A heart that devises wicked plots.
• Feet that is swift to run into mischief.
• A deceitful witness that uttered lies.
• Him that sowed discord among brethren
                           In the order used by both Pope Gregory and by Dante Alighieri in his epic poem “The Divine Comedy”, the seven deadly sins are as follows:
• luxuria (lechery/lust)
• gula (gluttony)
• avaritia (avarice/greed)
• acedia (acedia/discouragement)
• ira (wrath)
• invidia (envy)
• superbia (pride)
                                    In Colossians 3:9-10 the apostle Paul mentions the "old self" and the "new self" as he writes "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him." He says that the old self has been put aside. Why would one want to put aside the old self, or old man? We are taught to put aside our old self because it is being corrupted.
                                 That old man who lives only for himself, arrogantly cutting himself loose from his Creator and selfishly closing his eyes to the needs of his neighbor. It is not merely a theological description: every one can readily understand this “old man” because we experience the direct effects of this nature within us, summed up in the seven capital sins: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony.
 1.Pride (thought for this week)
                                                        He was the most beautiful of all angels. He was referred to as the Day Star, and the son of Dawn. His name itself spoke of his brightness—Lucifer, angel of light. He dreamt of ascending the heavens and raising his throne above that of God's. But he was sent crashing down to the dark recesses of the pit for committing the greatest sin of all: Pride.
                                                    That is what pride, described by theologians as the father of all sins, does to us. We end up going down even as we try to go up. It is also the most common of all sins, though strangely enough, most of us don't even realize that we are proud.
Oh my God, at this moment I offer all the sins especially in the areas of capital sin PRIDE that I’ve addicted to. I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend You, my Lord, Who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I pray that even though temptation comes, help me to stand firm, to avoid the sins. Amen.
Saint Francis of Assisi  help us to overcome this sin 'Pride'.