4 Sunday A: Blessed are you

From Fr. Jude Botelho:

The first reading from Zephaniah speaks of the Day of Yahweh, when God will intervene directly in the life of Israel. Zephaniah advises the people to seek God in humility and lowliness. These are necessary conditions to find God for he rejects falsehood and the proud-hearted, who believe that they can manage on their own and don’t need him. The Israelite nation had suffered decades of oppression under the Assyrian rule, the prophet now announces the arrival of salvation and liberation of the little ones who have suffered under foreign rule. This ‘Day of Yahweh’ is a time of effective action by God on behalf of his people. God is close to those who are humble and depend on him. 

Meekness is not weakness
St Clement Hofbauer of Vienna was collecting funds for orphans whose parents had died in the Napoleonic wars. He walked into a restaurant where three men were playing cards and asked them for a contribution for his good work. One of the cursed him and spat on his face. Hofbauer quietly took out his handkerchief wiped the spit from his cheek and said without the slightest sign of anger, "Now that was for me, sir. How about something for my orphans?" The abusive card player was so dumbfounded that he reached into his pocket and handed the saint all the money he had with him.
- Msgr. Arthur Tonne
In the second reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Paul is aware of the diverse groups in Corinth who boast of their superior origins and ways of living the Christian life. Paul speaks bluntly to them and points out that none of them have grounds for boasting as none of them really come from noble stock. The Christian has only one basis for trust and hope and that is Jesus who died and rose again. In comparison with the Lord of life all divisions and privileges are insignificant. Unfortunately, even today, while claiming to follow Jesus Christ, people boast of being superior to others on the basis of race, colour, caste, class, education, social standing, all insignificant factors in matters of faith. "As Scripture says, if anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord." Today’s gospel portrays Jesus as an authoritative teacher, who solemnly announces the fundamentals of life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The disciples are the primary target audience of the Sermon on the Mount but the principles are addressed beyond the immediate circle of disciples to the crowds of followers. The principles are universal. They are delivered on the mountain, the favoured place among the Israelites for encountering God. The sermon on the mount contains the essence of Christ’s teachings and the beatitudes are the essence of that essence. In the beatitudes Jesus presents a new vision of the Kingdom and invites his followers to live that vision.

A new vision for new life
A native American chief who was nearing the end of his life gathered his three sons and told them, "Do you see that mountain in the distance? I want you to journey to that mountain, climb to its summit and bring back the thing you think will be most helpful in leading our people." After several days the first son returned with a load of flint stones, used to make arrow tips and spear points. He told his father, "Our people will never live in fear of their enemies. I know where there is a mount of flint." The second son climbed the top of the mountain and found forests rich with wood for making fires. When he returned he said to his father, "Our people will never be cold in winter. I know where wood can be found in abundance to keep them warm and cook their food." The third son returned late and empty handed. He stated "When I got to the top of the mountain I found nothing worth bringing back. I searched everywhere, but the top of the mountain was barren rock and useless. Then I looked towards the horizon, far into the distance. I was astonished to see new land filled with forests and meadows, mountains and valleys, fish and animals – a land of great beauty and great peace. I brought nothing back, for the land was still far off and I didn’t have time to travel there. But I would love to go there someday; I delayed coming back because I found it very difficult to return after seeing the beauty of the land." The old chief’s eyes blazed. He grasped this third son in his arms proclaiming that he would succeed him as the new chief. He thought to himself, "The other sons brought back worthy things, necessary things. But my third son knows the way to a better land. It is important that the new chief has a vision and has seen the promised land and burns with a desire for it."
- Brian Cavanaugh in ‘Sower’s Seeds of Encouragement’
In the beatitudes it is not starvation and misery that are being blessed- these are evil things. What is being blessed is reliance on God. Those who know their need of God, and live life as He would have them live it, are truly blessed. They are the most fortunate of all people, for God will give them all that they need. Only God can fulfill our emptiness. We like to believe that we can manage our lives, that we are self sufficient, that we can make it on our own. Those who put their trust in human resources will be disappointed but those who trust in God will never be disappointed. Men and women of all ages have drawn inspiration from the Sermon on the Mount. Mahatma Gandhi drew strength and inspiration from the Beatitudes for his concept of non-violence. Martin Luther King was convinced that his struggle on behalf of the poor and the oppressed would succeed only if it was based on justice, love and forgiveness, proclaimed in the Beatitudes. All the eight beatitudes have a second line that deals with relationship with God. The first and the last pledge the Kingdom in the present to those who are poor and persecuted, while the inner six look to a final completion of God’s work for the mourning and others in the future. These beatitudes form a summary of the Christian life. We are blessed by God when we depend on him and when we strive single mindedly for justice and are willing to endure for one’s fidelity. There is a present and a future dimension to the kingdom. The poor in spirit are not merely those who find themselves in poverty but those who know they depend on God for everything and are nothing without Him. They are those who joyfully acknowledge their dependence on his goodness and mercy. The beatitudes are a challenge to focus our lives not on our achievements and ourselves but on God alone. A challenge to live more for God.

And then some
A successful businessman once was asked the secret of success. His reply summed success in three words: AND THEN SOME. He learned early in life that the difference between average people and truly successful people could be simply stated in those three words. Top people did what was expected and then some! Jesus taught the and then some principle in the Sermon on the Mount. He is saying: Go beyond what is expected! Go a little further! Let these words serve as a tonic for your spirit. Practice your faith faithfully –and then some. Give generously of your time and resources- and then some. Greet those you meet with a smile – and then some. Meet your obligations; be dependable –and then some. Do your best in all things and at all times –and then some.
- Clarence DeLoach Jr.

Presentation: Feb 2 and 4 Sunday: Beatitudes Homilies

Stories from Fr. Tony Kadavil's Collection:

1: "Would you hold my baby for me, please?"

Years ago a young man was riding a bus from Chicago to Miami. He had a stop-over in Atlanta. While he was sitting at the lunch counter, a woman came out of the ladies' restroom carrying a tiny baby. She walked up to this man and asked, "Would you hold my baby for me? I left my purse in the restroom." He did. But as the woman neared the front door of the bus station, she darted out into the crowded street and was immediately lost in the crowd. This guy couldn't believe his eyes. He rushed to the door to call the woman, but couldn't see her anywhere. Now what should he do? Put the baby down and run? When calmness finally settled in, he went to the Traveler's Aid booth and together with the local police, they soon found the real mother. You see, the woman who'd left him holding the baby wasn't the baby's real mother. She'd taken the child. Maybe it was to satisfy some motherly urge to hold a child or something else. No one really knows. But we do know that this man breathed a sigh of relief when the real mother was found. After all, what was he going to do with a baby? In a way, each of us, is in the same sort of situation as this young man. Every Christmas God Himself walks up to us and asks, "Would you hold My Baby for Me, please?" and then thrusts the Christ Child into our arms. And we're left with the question, "What are we going to do with this Baby?" But an even deeper question is just, "Who is this Baby?" If we look at Scripture, we find all kinds of titles and names for this Baby we hold in our arms: Emmanuel, "God-with-us;" Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Christ the King, Jesus. In today’s Gospel describing the presentation ceremony, Simeon asks Mary the question: "Can I hold your Baby for a few minutes, please?" (King Duncan). 

St. Agnes - Jan 21 - Homily

Homily from Father Joseph Pellegrino
St. Agnes and the Victory of Christ’s Peace
I want to begin by telling you about a little girl, most likely 12, possibly 13 years old,  who took on a mighty empire and won.  The little girl was named Agnes.  At least that is the name she is remembered by.  Agnes means lamb.  She was like a little lamb. Agnes was a child of a noble family in ancient Rome, and lived around the year 300 AD.  She was a Christian in the  last decades of Rome’s persecution of the Christians. At that time, more and more members of the empire were becoming Christian including the noble families and even members of the royal household.  The Emperor Diocletian decided to put an end to these Christians once and for all with one of the worst of all the persecutions of Christianity.  Anyone caught being a Christian would lose all their possessions and be given the option of renouncing Christ or being put to death.

Audrey Hepburn and Real Beauty-ppt

Compassion - Joan Halifax - Video

World's richest 85 have same wealth as 3.5 billion poorest

From ET by: | Senior Digital Editor, CNBC International

Frank Bienewald | LightRocket | Getty Images
The combined wealth of the world's richest 85 people is now equivalent to that owned by half of the world's population – or 3.5 billion of the poorest people – according to a new report from Oxfam.

3 Sunday A - Reign of God - Come, Follow Me!

Fr. Bill Grimm:

From The Connections:

‘My Monastery Is a Minivan’

When asked our religion, most of us would describe ourselves as “Catholic” or “Christian.”  But we would tend to back away from daring to call ourselves “disciple” or “follower.”  That description rightly belongs to the great heroes of our faith: the apostles and holy men and women of the Gospel, the saints and martyrs, the Francises of Assisi, the Mother Teresas, the Thomas Mertons, the Dorothy Days, the Albert Schweitzers.  Our lives are too ordinary, our professions too worldly to dare imagine that we are doing the work of the Gospel Jesus.

Pope Benedict: Quote for January 20th

"The Church does not engage in proselytism. Instead, she grows by “attraction”: just as Christ 'draws all to himself' by the power of his love, culminating in the sacrifice of the Cross, so the Church fulfills her mission..."

- Pope Benedict XVI


Puppy Love - Live like the Lamb

 A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls.

He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

"Mister," he said, "I want to buy one of your puppies."

Latha Kare: 61-year-old woman clad in sari and running barefoot wins Baramati Marathon

Age: 61; sex: female; dress code: sari; gear: barefoot; event: Baramati Marathon; finish: FIRST!!
Yes! That is the unexpected and surprising tale that emerged from the Baramati marathon as Lata Bhagwan Kare outran every other conventional runner to emerge victorious at the event.
She took everyone – the organizers, the spectators and fellow competitors – completely by surprise, as not only was this her first ever race of such a kind, but she also established a big lead over the remaining participants within minutes of the start.
Everything about this runner was a surprise element, right from her being 61-years-old, to running barefoot and the fact that she wore a traditional nauvari (Maharashtrian sari) while running.

Conquer stress to keep New Year's resolutions

ANI | From Deccan Chronicle
A new research has shown that in order to tackle New Year's resolutions, people will have to counter their stress.
According to a new research, stress negatively impacts people's ability to lose weight, quit smoking and stick with a new healthy lifestyle change.
In The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living, Mayo Clinic stress management and resiliency expert Amit Sood, M.D., draws on decades of groundbreaking research to offer readers a scientifically proven, structured and practical approach to reducing stress.
 He explains the brain's two modes - focused mode and default mode - and how an imbalance between the two produces unwanted stress, and he shares newBook cover Mayo Clinic's Guide to Stress-Free Living, with female doing cartwheel insights about how the mind works, including its natural tendency to wander. 

2 Sunday A -Lamb of God -2014 - Homilies

Fr Bill Grimm's Video at the bottom: Ordinary Times

1) Lamb at the roof:

In the city of Werden, in Germany, there stands a Catholic Church with a lamb carved out of stone and placed on its roof. Centuries ago a worker was once up on the roof of that church in order to repair it. His safety belt snapped and he fell. The area below was filled with large-size rocks. As luck would have it, a lamb was having its lunch on grass growing between the rocks. The craftsman fell on the poor lamb. The lamb was slain… but the man lived. So the craftsman did the decent thing. He sculpted a lamb and, in gratitude, situated it on the roof. Today we come together at this Liturgy to remember and salute another Lamb. Each of us owes Him much. As a matter of fact, we owe Him our spiritual lives because he saved us from the eternally fatal fall from grace. (Msgr. Arthur Tonne).

Today we come together at this Liturgy to remember and salute another Lamb. Each of us likewise owes Him much. He too gave His life for us. But with one substantial difference. Jesus  voluntarily surrendered His life to save ours.
This Gospel opens just after Jesus had finished His forty day fast. He was probably bivouacing in a farmer's reed hut near the Jordan River and near John the Baptist's camp. He would soon head north into Galilee to begin His life's work. One hopes He took the time to put some pounds back on His lean frame after His fast. He had to be just skin and bones.
He had come once again to check out John the Baptist whom He would always admire. He had a premonition He would never see him again. We know He was correct.
What did John have in mind when He excitedly pointed at Jesus and shouted for all to hear, "Behold, the Lamb of God..." (Fr. James Gilhooley)

2) Pastor joke:  

My neighboring pastor put sanitary hot air hand dryers in the rest rooms at his church and after two weeks took them out. I asked him why and he confessed that they worked fine but when he went in there he saw a sign that read, "For a sample of this week's sermon, push the button." (Bret Blair)

Thomas O’Loughlin
Introduction to the Celebration

We gather here each Sunday to encounter one another and to encounter the Chosen One of the Father. We are, as St Paul tells us, ‘the holy people of Jesus Christ, who are called to take their place among all the saints everywhere who pray to our Lord Jesus Christ’. So let us reflect on who we are as a group and on how we have become this holy people through our baptism.

Baptism of the Lord - 2014


Because of a devastating childhood illness at nineteen months, Helen Keller (1880-1968) was left both blind and deaf. Her life was rightly written up as a "miracle story" and became a play called "The Miracle Worker" (1957) with Anne Bancroft starring in the Broadway production (1959). But the "miracle" Helen Keller experienced was not any return of hearing or vision. The "miracle" she received was the miracle of her committed, loving family, and of her relentlessly optimistic and patient teacher Anne Sullivan.  

When Helen was seven years old, trapped in a world where she could only communicate through a few hand signals with the family cook, her parents arranged for a twenty-year old, visually impaired teacher to come and work with their daughter. Using American Sign Language, Anne Sullivan spent months "spelling" words into Helen's hands. Everything Helen touched, everything she ate, every person she encountered, was "spelled out" into her hand. 

At first Helen Keller didn't get it. These random motions being pressed into her palm did not connect with experiences she felt. But Sullivan refused to give up. She kept spelling words. She kept giving "tactile-verbal" references for everything Helen encountered.  

Finally there was a "watershed" moment, which was indeed water-powered. Helen's breakthrough moment was as she was having water pumped over her hands and Anne Sullivan kept spelling the word for "water" over and over into her palm. Suddenly Helen "got it." Suddenly she realized those gestures meant something real and tangible. They were naming what she was experiencing.  

The world of communication, reading, literature, human interaction were all made possible to one person through the gift of another person. The "miracle" Helen's teacher Anne Sullivan worked was the miracle of patience. She simply kept on and kept at it, showing Helen there were "words" for "things," and there was true meaning behind all Helen's experiences. 

Wash Off the Stuff of the Day: 

One of the most successful and personable people on television is Oprah Winfrey. Movies, book clubs, she does it all. Huge business operations. While all the other talk shows on television are tearing people apart and putting all their illnesses out for public humiliation, Oprah is helping put people and families back together again. . . In a Newsweek magazine interview the interviewer asked her, "How do you separate yourself from work?" Answer, "I take a hot bath. . . My bath is my sanctuary. (Listen to this) It's the place where I can wash off all the stuff of the day" ((Jan 8, 2001, p. 45).

Baptism is a huge symbol -- it's the water of creation. . . .we are born anew. . . . life in the Spirit . . . all the "stuff" of the day is washed off. All of that is true. But at its basic level, baptism is the death of the old self. Before anything new can be born, the old has to pass away. (Brett Blair)

Goals of Counselling

Counselling Skills for Managers

Management Counselling

Epiphany of the Lord - Magi- Homilies

Fr. Bill Grimm's Video Message at the bottom
Story: A husband asked his wife, "Why would God give the wise men a star to guide them?" She replied, "Because God knows men are too proud to ask directions."

"When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, heal the broken, feed the hungry, rebuild the nations, bring peace among people, make music in the heart." So wrote Howard Thurman.

More from last year’s post: