Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jo dar gaya woh mar gaya

Those of us who have grown up on Indian television,would be very familiar with the consumer electronics brand - Onida and their popular ad-theme from the 80s and 90s featuring the devil complete with horns and tail.Here is the thing,when I was a little kid I found this Onida devil really scary.I always thought that this devil resided inside my TV,and whenever this particular advertisement came on the TV I would quickly close my eyes and ears and hide behind the couch.No matter how much my parents tried to pacify me or try to explain the science behind the television,I wouldn't budge from my hideout until the advertisement was over.According to my puny little brain the devil lived inside that TV.Isn't fear a funny thing ?

We all have our fears and on our own we seldom succeed in making them go.I'll be really surprised to find a man/woman who has been fear-free throughout his/her lives.And fear seems a natural human response when threatened.But what is God's view of fear ? Again and again the Bible tells us - do not be afraid,fear not,be courageous etc. In-spite of knowing all these verses when faced with a difficulty our first response is to get scared and take flight.But, yet God expects us not to loose our cool and stand our ground.

If you are afflicted with this disease called fear,here is a good opportunity to come clean.We have just celebrated Easter.Christ is risen.Indeed,He is risen.Through Easter,He has conquered death - the final frontier.This same Risen Christ promises us,that He shall never leave us nor forsake us.He is on our side,protecting us,caring for us and relieving our fears.So,call upon the living God today and ask him to absorb all your fears.Being the good Father,He'll definitely do it.Dearly beloved know this - when we are living in Christ's love and power nothing from this world can hurt us.So be of good cheer and do not fear.

Take a chill-pill today !!
(for the sake of re-living the nostalgia u can watch the old Onida commercial here

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Worst Easter Ever

And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? - Luke 24:5

Consider the scenario ,you decide to spend the Easter Triduum in Bangalore,alone away from your family.On Easter eve you decide to go to one of the more famous Churches in the city where you have never been before,so instead of taking your own vehicle you hire a rickshaw.Traversing through the roads of B'lore your rickshaw gets a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.Finding no other means of transport you decide to walk to the church and then it starts to rain...heavy rains and you don't have an umbrella.As you are unsuccessfully trying to keep yourself dry you realize it is just 20 minutes to the start of the Easter vigil, there are only few rickshaws in sight all of them occupied by the way and the rain does not show any sign of letting up.Finally one rickshaw-walla decides to stop for you,you enter the rickshaw and realize its totally flooded and wet on the inside,anyways you decide to carry on reach the church,rush in only to find the whole place full of people,not even a single free seat . Welcome to my world.

As I was standing there in the church angry and wet,the proceedings of the night started.I was too irritated to even listen to what was happening in the Church and suddenly the choir started singing "Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good" .I thought to myself 'what an irony, am I expected to thank God in the middle of all this ? '  . But as they were singing I realized this is not irony...this is a pretty natural and expected behavior from us Christians - To praise and thank the Lord under all circumstances.Through Christ's death and resurrection we are a new creation.Because of His resurrection we have hope in the middle of hopelessness,light in the middle of darkness and life in the middle of death.The Resurrection is proof that God,our father,adores us and is for us.And when He is for us there is only room for thanks and praise not fear and complain.This was my Easter Revelation for 2011.

Dearly beloved,Christ has risen from the dead.....let us also find the strength in Him to rise up from our graves

Thursday, April 21, 2011


But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed - Isaiah 53:5

Yesterday one of my colleague was asking me as to where I was planning to celebrate Good Friday.Whether I was going up-North to be with my parents or down-South to be with my extended family.As I was about to answer him,I noticed something..he used the phrase celebrate Good Friday.I thought as to who on earth celebrates Good Friday ? Yes,we may observe Good Friday,we may contemplate Good Friday.....but we never really celebrate Good Friday...Do we ? Realizing his apparent mistake,I was about to correct him,I was about to give him some gyaan in theology,as to how Good Friday is a solemn reminder of the crucifixion of Christ,how on this day we Christians contemplate the passion of Christ etc.But before I could utter a word of correction to him another thought came to my mind.....after-all why is this day called 'Good Friday' ? Why not Lousy Friday,Awful Friday or maybe just 'The Friday' or something like that....why add the adjective 'Good' ? Its then that this personalized verse from Isaiah came to  me,"But He was wounded for MY transgressions, He was bruised for MY iniquities: MY chastisement was on Him; and with His stripes I am healed".I realized that He died to save me from the wrath of God.I was like a lost sheep....a stupid lost sheep who didn't even realize that it was lost.Happily unaware of my own lassitude I was going my own way,not caring about Him or the world.Yet He chose to endure humiliation,scourging and the Cross for me.Why ? Because He has loved me....He has loved me with a love which is beyond explanation and understanding.This  'Love' is what makes this Friday 'Good'.In-fact it is not just a 'Good Friday' it is the 'Best Friday' as far as schmucks like me are concerned .And that's why I realized that my colleague was not all that wrong to use the phrase "celebrate Good Friday" and therefore chose not to correct him.After-all,if it is good then shouldn't we celebrate it ?

Dearly beloved this Friday is worth a celebration.God's passionate love for us is what makes it worth celebrating.This Friday as you are contemplating the Passion of Christ...also do contemplate the awesome love of God which made this passion possible in the first place.Realize this,we should have been on that cross,not Him.Yet , He chose to endure every pain for just one thing...LOVE .

He died for us......shall we now start living for Him ?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Thief

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be
with me in paradise - Luke 23:43

Chances are that you have never heard of Václav Klaus.No worries,not
many knew him outside his country the Czech Republic until last
week.Václav Klaus is the the president of the Czech Republic, and he
was caught stealing a pen during a large news conference in Chile with
the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera. Here is what happened - the
two leaders were celebrating the signing of a new transportation
agreement.At the ceremony, Mr Klaus nimbly took out the pen embedded
with Chilean lapis lazuli stones from a pen box kept in front of him
and slipped it into his pocket. To cover his tracks, he then shut the
antique pen box before smiling for the camera.Needless to say this
gaffe of his was caught on camera and promptly made an appearance on
youtube,where the video went viral and now Mr.Klaus finds himself at
the receiving end of  ridicule and mockery at the hands of his
countrymen and the world at large.You can watch the video here

Mr Klaus got it all wrong and in all probability the tag of thief will
stick to him for the rest of His life.But,in this post I want to
highlight the life of another thief who according to the Bible got it
right at the fag end .Tradition tells us that his name was Dismas.We
also know him as the good thief crucified along with Christ.Boy,did He
get it right ? Many of us might have started this Lent with high
hopes,with a desire to change ourselves for good, hoping that this
Lent will be different from the previous Lents.But as time progressed
we might have realized that nothing much is changing and eventually
might have fallen victims to our own nonspiritual inertia.And now we
find ourselves in the final week of Lent.If like me , you too are
wondering what should be done in this Holy week...then like Dismas
looking at the crucified Christ and saying ,"Remember me when You come
into Your kingdom"
will be a good starting point.Here was a thief who
at the fag end of his life comes face to face with the Son of
God,realizes his own frailty and gets it right with God.And how did
Christ respond ? Dearly beloved,Christ didn't even utter a word about
forgiveness of his sins or anything,but just said,"Thou shalt be with
me in paradise
" and that's the beauty of God's love.So,this holy week
just turn to Him with humility and penitence,leave aside your past
transgressions and get it right with God,our father.And His promise
for an honest penitent is still the same  - "Thou shalt be with me in

Become Holy this Holy Week

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mountain Climbing

I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me - Philippians 4:13
Last month our professionals prayer group went for an outing in lieu of our 5th anniversary to a place called Savandurga.It is a famous hill on the outskirts of B'lore and one of the largest monolith hills in the world. The hill rises to 1226 m above mean sea level and forms a part of the Deccan plateau.The plan was to reach the base of the mountain by 10 AM and have a time of bonding while climbing up and come down by 12:30 PM.We hired a mini-bus and reached the base of the mountain by 10 AM.The 1st reaction of most of us on seeing the mountain was 'Oh my on earth are we supposed to climb a mountain this high ? ' those of us who are quantitatively challenged - 1226 mts is a huge distance its 1.26 kms - and that too - UP,against gravity.With an average inclination of 45 degrees and in some places 60 degrees the task becomes even more tough for a bunch of out-of-shape techies like us.But anyways we  started. ..huffing, puffing,with a prayer on our lips and with lots of mutual encouragement most of us were more than half the way up by 11:30 AM.We had come down after that because of the time constraints.But hey,we made more than half of it,not bad for a bunch of professionals whose only source of physical activity is the finger tapping while using a computer-keyboard.(anyways,I have decided to join a gym ASAP )

This brings me to an important point,most of us when faced with a big problem in life have a similar reaction i.e. 'Oh my God,How on earth am I supposed to solve this problem ? ' We get tensed,sometimes bitter.The answer to this question ironically lies in the question itself  => 'my God'. Dearly beloved,we serve a God who takes a personal interest in our lives.Our successes,our failures and indeed our problems nothing escapes His attention,He is interested...very interested in every little detail of our lives.Before you ever reach the mountain(problem) in your life He already has a plan for you...a plan to help your overcome your mountain(problem).As humans the first reaction of most of us is to find a way around(by-pass) our problems, but God our father expects us to face the problem head on with courage.And this courage to take on our problems does not come from a confidence in our own abilities but from a confidence in an all-powerful almighty God.Over the years,God has taught me this one thing - 'I'll only face two kinds of problems in my life ever, the first kind is the one which by my God's grace I can solve and the second which I just can't solve.The first kind of problem I go ahead with a prayer and try to solve,the second I let GO and let GOD(both ways I win )".And that's my prayer for us today,that we find the grace of God to solve the pressing problems in our lives and if not,let's  find the courage and the faith to let go and let GOD deal with those.Let our hearts never be troubled again.

Be a brave-heart in the Lord today


When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out! " - John 11:43

mir·a·cle - A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment

When I was a kid believing in miracles was easy.I believed from the bottom of my heart that miracles happened and that God is a God of miracles.My prayers and petitions,no matter how fantastic they were,had a kind of cocky self-assurance that God can and God will.And God did.Then something happened.I grew up.I became more rational.I became more cerebral.I became more analytical.I never lost my faith.I just started putting an asterisk  '*'  to my more extravagant prayer requests.So,whenever I was asked to pray for something or some cause which seemed to be highly improbable and requiring of a miracle,my prayer would be something like this - Lord please do this for me *
* now I know Lord this thing I ask for is really far fetched and You could be busy with other important things too,so if possible do it,if not then no hard feelings 

I don't know how many of you suffer from the above mentioned emotion in prayer.I believe most of you.C'mon now be honest with yourselves,how many times when supposed to pray for what seemed to be an impossible cause in your mind have you used the word 'May Your will be done' not because you really believe in these words but because you want to give a leeway to God.Some elbow room for God,so that He doesn't look bad.Dearly beloved there is news for you and me - "God is still in the business of doing miracles".That was one of the messages from this Sunday's gospel reading.Lazarus raised from the dead.Our puny little brains can't comprehend the capabilities of God our father.He is the one who parted the Red Sea,He is the one who produced manna in the desert,He is the one who fed the multitudes,He is the one who rose from the dead.So,don't limit God in your prayers.From now on when you pray,pray with a renewed assurance and understanding that He is infinitely able.No petition or request is too big for Him.And yeah,He is never too busy for you 

Be audacious in the Lord today.

There is something about Mary

"And the angel came in to her, and said, Hail, thou favored one! the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women" - Luke 1:28

Last week's long weekend afforded me and my roomies a much needed vacation in the beach town of Pondicherry. One of the days I woke up a little early and went to the beach,which was just across the resort we were staying in.It was around 5:45 AM,there was a cold morning breeze,the surf was up and the sun was rising.It was a sight to behold and I felt like praying & thanking the Lord.I was struggling to find words for my prayer and ended up saying the 'Hail Mary'.Slowly,intently and with all the concentration I could muster I said the words of this wonderful prayer.The surroundings made it all the more surreal.It was Bliss with a capital 'B'.

But,why pray to Mary ? All of you must be aware of the big theological debate happening between us Catholic and our Protestant brothers(and sisters) about Mary,Her role in salvation,Her veneration etc. But this post is not about the theology,(If u want some cool Marian theology in plain English click here and alsohere ) its about the relationship.So,why do we end up calling up Mary all the time ? I believe,its that 'mother thing'.I mean generally Mom's are easier to get to,they are more compassionate and tend to have a lot of patience.(Note : Dad's too possess these ,but Mom's tend to possess these virtues in much larger quantities ) They don't waste time while responding to requests and prepare awesome chicken curry (OK,the chicken curry part was  about my biological Mum  Lent-effect ) But most importantly Mother Mary is 'the' perfect example of surrendering oneself to the will of God.Her 'YES' in Luke 1:38 is the perfect example of how our own response to God,our Father,should be.Turn to Her and she'll turn you towards Her Son.One of the coolest advices,for our walk in Christ,given in the Scriptures is from our Mom herself i.e. "Do whatever He tells you"(John 2:5) and He tells us - 'Behold Your Mother'(John 19:27)

So,call upon Mommy today(and while you are at it,say one 'Hail Mary' for me too )


But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. - Mathew 6:33  

All of you must have read/heard/seen the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp from the Arabian Nights.You guys know the drag poor lad + magic lamp + Genie + 3 wishes + beautiful princess + love + evil magician + final confrontation between good and evil ,finally good wins and everyone goes home happy and satisfied.I remember reading about Aladdin in my 1st or 2nd grade,and the one thing that immediately stuck me was this - Aladdin was a total idiot.I mean think about it,here is a Genie who promises you three wishes and the schmuck Aladin goes on and asks for stuff like a palace,money etc. and before you know his 3 wishes are over.If I were in his place my first wish would have been - "10,000 more wishes" . Why would anyone in his/her right mind want to dry out his number of wishes ? This question confounded me then and it still does.So,for me Aladdin is a low-IQ imbecile.Period.

          Fortunately for us,JC*** promises that,"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do" and He does not put a constraint on the number of things you can ask of Him.It can be anything,you want to get hitched-Ask Him,if you want a new job-Ask Him,if you want more money-Ask Him,if you want a new house,a car anything-Ask Him.He will respond in all probability.But,there is a problem here,these things that I mentioned are just stuff and they can't satisfy you.Yes,they will make you happy for some time but they can't keep you happy.Understand this - prosperity after a point of time is boring.As a case in point - The suicide rate in Switzerland(one of the most prosperous country) is much-much higher than that of Haiti(one of the poorest country).Stuff just can't keep you what can ?? Only God ! Seek Him and His kingdom.He will satisfy.Dearly beloved,today and the days to follow don't just run after stuff but run after Him.Yes we all need stuff in this life but God our Father knows our needs(Note : Its NEED not GREED) even before we come to Him with our petitions.So,seek Him and Him alone ! He will never fail to satisfy !

Seek the Lord with all your heart today !!!

***JC a.k.a Jesus Christ.We are best friends,so He has allowed me to use His initials 'JC'  instead of His full name,how nice of Him