We need them in life’s early morning,
We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek it while tasting life’s woes.
When we come to this world we are sinful,
The greatest as well as the least.
And the hands that make us pure as angels
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness
Their dignity stands alone.
For there in the stillness of morning
Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
There God rests between the pure fingers
Of the beautiful hands of a priest.
When we are tempted and wander
To pathways of shame and sin
‘Tis the hand of a priest that absolve us.
Not once but again and again.
And when we are taking life’s partner
Other hands may prepare us a feast
But the hands that will bless and unite us,
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.
God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress,
What can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him who chose them to bless
When the death dews on our lids are falling,
May our courage and strength be increased
By seeing raised o’er us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.
My dear friends; good morning,
There was a painter named Apelles in Greece. He was a great painter. He used to draw great paintings. Once he draws a beautiful painting. All the people appreciate and congratulate him for his wonderful work. But most strange thing is he again and again making it beautiful every day. He continued his work every day on that same picture. The picture was getting more and more beautiful. One day some people came to Apelles the great painter and asked, why are you continuing your work on this same picture, you can start another one by this time. Apelles answered, my picture is not for today or tomorrow but it for eternal, it is forever. Dear friends our life is also not for today, tomorrow or for ten years or fifty. It is for eternal. Today’s readings are all helping us to live our life thinking of eternal life.
In the first reading it is all about the Ten Commandments. How many of you know what a law is? It is a rule. Do you have rules here? Don’t make noise in the classroom, don’t talk in the dormitory, respect your teachers, and don’t roam around after the bell. Don’t talk too much to brothers, if are looking other laws like “Look both ways before crossing the street, don’t spit on the street, like that there is many rules and laws. Most rules are meant to keep us safe from harm; others are to help us to have good manners. Today I want to tell you about God’s rules. Any way can I ask one question anybody like rules? Any way I don’t like. If there are rules our tendency is to break that rules.
One day after creating the world God went around with Ten Commandments. He asked Babylonians “would you like to have one commandment.” They said what is it? Naturally first one should ask that question what the commandment is. God knows who is Babylonians and what is their weakness God answered “you should not commit adultery” Babylonians said forget all about it. What shall we do then the only game in this meaningless life is this. Just get lost. God was so angry but what to do? If they don’t like…
He went to Egyptians, he went other races, but everybody asked, first tell us what the commandment is? And they all refused. They said “we don’t want anybody else to tell us what to do. We want to find from our heart what is right and what is wrong.”
And finally God come across Moses, who was in search of holy land Israel. God not knowing the typical Jews’ nature exactly asked him very hesitantly, “would you like to have one commandment? – Because he had been refused everywhere else.
But for God surprise Moses asked a totally different question. He did not ask what it is. But he asked how much is for one? How much does it cost? Just like us ….. God said “it is totally free.”
Then Moses said, “I will take ten. If it is free, why take only one?”
Friends this commandments are all the pointers in the way to eternity. This commandments are all to safe guard us in this world. We are also some time refusing the commandments, we are also asking God who are you to control me I know how to control myself. In this Lenten season let us reflect upon our own life how I am keeping Gods commandments.
Let this be binded in our heart let the laws of lord control us. St John said in his first letter, “God’s love is manifested in us when we keep his commandments.”
Today’s readings give us three points to ponder. The first one is to love God with all your strength and with all your heart. Lk-10:27 Create temple of God in all circumstances.
Let us reflect and ask this question to ourselves …
• How do I love God?
• Is my love towards God is only in the time of sorrow, pain, or disaster?
• Am I going to church because of love towards God?
The second point from today’s reading is, love your neighbor. Respect them as the temple of God.try to create temple of God in others heart. I remember an incident about our one priest. His name is Davis. One day when in a Lenten season when he was reading news paper he saw one advertisement in a small column. “Need help from Good hearts.” This advertisement is put by one Ngo.the message in that news was this a man with a kidney problem seek for help. His two kidneys are not working now he is keeping his life with the help dialysis. And they are asking for kidney for a man with a ‘o’-ve blood group. All on a sudden this father felt a kind of lightning in his mind. His blood group is o –ve. He without thinking just calls in that number and said his willingness to donate his one kidney. My dear friends this is real love. Without knowing the man, without knowing his background he just be ready to give his kidney and the interesting thing was that man was a Hindu. We are called as Christians to love each other. Unconditional love. In marks gospel Jesus is curing a blind man near Bethsaida after touching him Jesus asked do you see anything. Looking up he said I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; let us ask God’s grace to see human as human not as objects, let us ask God to see others as the temple God because God is residing in them. In the Indian philosophy there are two great sayings, Tatvamasi (thou art that), that is you. Aham Bhramasmi (I am Bhraman). Once Gandhi said, “If God resides in every heart, who dares hate whom?”
Third point in today’s gospel is, love our selves. Because we are the temple of God. There was a balloon seller in a village. He used to sell the balloon filled with hydrogen. I think you know the specialty of hydrogen balloon it will go up when release. Many children used to come and buy this balloon. Whenever his business is going dull he used to release a red balloon to sky. By seeing this children will come attracted by this balloon and they ask their parents to get one balloon. And they will buy that. One day the business was dull and he released a red balloon. On that day only a child came to see this balloon. She is so confused about that balloon. She asked the balloon seller what is the factor that picking balloon up. Is it the colour of the balloon? Or the shape of the balloon? Balloon seller replied it is not the colour or shape but the thing inside the balloon is letting it to go up. My dear friends it is not our talents or ability make us to go forward in this life but the inside dweller of hearts is helping us to go forward with hope. In today’s gospel passage God is cleaning the Jerusalem temple and he is saying we are the temple of God the most high. Gospel we had seen Jesus sending them out the money changers and those who are selling the doves and goats. “He is saying my house shall be called the house of prayer but you made it a den of thieves.” Let us reflect on our selves, how is our position as temple of God? Is it like the den of thieves or like zoo? In this Lenten season let us cleanse ourselves and made it a holy place for God. Let us change our bad habits and attitudes. We are sometime so adamant about ourselves we are not ready to accept change. We hold to it like monkeys. I have heard a story about the African hunters of trapping monkeys.
They put inside a big fruit in side a pot with small opening just big enough for a monkey’s hand to pass through. Then they tie this on a tree and wait. By the smell of the fruit inside attract the monkey and monkey will come and discovers its location inside the pot. The monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasps the fruit, and tries to pull it through the hole. But it is not possible to pull it out because when the monkey holds the fruit it is unable to take out because the hole is so small. But the persistent monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the danger he is in.
While the monkey struggles with the fruit, the hunters simply come and capture the monkey by throwing a net over him. As long as the monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the fruit, the monkey is trapped. Don’t be like this monkey leave that trap us.
Let us try to give ear to our own conscience (voice of God). Once my catechism teacher was explaining what is conscience? He said it is like a triangle with three sharp edges. And it is situated in the heart and also it is on an axis to rotate freely. And he explains the working of that conscience. He said when we do wrong it started rotating on its axis. When it rotates its sharp edge will prick on the wall of heart. That is called the prick of conscience. And also if we are doing wrong repeatedly this sharpness of this triangle will go and it won’t make any prick to the heart and we won’t feel any pain in doing wrong. Friends let’s examine and do according to the will of God. Keep our body pure to God. St Paul said in the first letter to Corinthians chapter 3 verses 17.“If anyone destroys the Gods temple, God will destroy him; for gods temple is sacred. And you are that temple.” Dear friends let’s keep in mind the commandments of God. Let us try to turn back from our bad habits that are not apt for Gods holiness. God is ready to forgive our shortcomings because our God is an awesome God who think like us, eat like us, pray like us, play like us, become angry like us he knows all about us.
• Let us keep in mind, love god with all your strength and all your heart. Create temple of God in all circumstances.
• Love your neighbour and Respect them because they are the temple of God.
• Love your selves and keep your selves pure and clean because you are the temple of God.
And above that we must keep in mind the word of Jesus “love one another as I loved you, so you also should love one another.” John 13:34
My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
Today’s gospel gives us the picture of the Jesus and his disciples walking to the mountain. On the mountain suddenly Jesus changed in front of his disciples. His clothes became dazzling white. And Moses and Elijah also appeared along with Jesus. The voice from the heaven explains that this is my beloved son listen to him. This passage reveals the mystery of Jesus. God himself acknowledges Jesus as his beloved son. God the Father, confirms what peter has previously confessed. For this sudden change of Jesus we call as transfiguration. Or in simple way we can call it as transformation.
The word “transfiguration” is the translation of the Greek word “metamorphosis”. The word metamorphosis is also used for the life cycle of butterfly. In its life cycle it is coming out from the egg as a larva and then to a dormant state called pupa and then to beautiful, colorful butterfly. This stage of change happening in butterfly is called metamorphosis in scientific world.
My dear brothers and sisters the first message that is given by today’s gospel is the same as the life cycle of butterfly. We all need a metamorphosis of life or we need to be changed. We need a change in attitude, we need a transformation from our bad habits, we need a change in our life pattern, we need a change in the relation with Jesus, and we need a change in attitude towards others and toward God. In this Lenten season let us take a decision to give ourselves to Jesus and be transformed.
One day I was walking through the football ground stamping the small plants beneath. Suddenly it happened; I fell down hitting a stone. When I fell down I felt little pain on my legs. I just lay there for relaxing. I felt a sweet smell. I just look on ground I saw small flowers on that plants that I was stamped just before. I looked them so closely. It was so beautiful and sweet smelling. I really admire the hands behind those little flowers. I had many times walked on that flowers and I never recognized its beauty before but when I fell down all on a sudden those flowers transfigured in my sight.
We go to church several times, for years, we sung the same songs and hear the same stories. We recite same prayers many times nothing changed us we were in half sleep mood. But one Sunday mass it happens may be in the psalm 23, “ the lord is my shepherd there is nothing I lack” or the reading form the gospel “you are precious than many sparrows” or in the songs. All on a sudden it happens the sleepiness moved away and a new zeal and zest formed in us and our faith is transfigured.
A religious priest who lived in his congregation without any zeal or faith. He just says mass for the sake of people. He never believes and recites prayer with wholeheartedly. But one day something extraordinarily happened in his life. A crash landing of Jesus happened in his life. Sometimes it may be a bitter experience or shocking experience. Any way at that moment the transformation or transfiguration happened in that priest’s life. The real meaning and goal of his life he found.
My dear friends in Jesus Christ do not be embarrassed when something happened extraordinarily in our life. Do not be sad when something really challenges us. It would be to make us strong; it may be for the regaining of our lost zeal and zest. It may for transform us to a new Christian. It may be to save us from the hands of sins; it may be for strengthening us.
God says through Jeremiahs “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. Lord continued when you call me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you”. Let us offer ourselves for the will of God. Let us give completely in to the hands of the divine potter he will mould us without breaking.
In the synoptic gospels mark and Mathew transfiguration is placed after the first prediction of his passion and death and also after the instruction of cross. Because Jesus wants to explain that glory will only come through the passion and cross. He wants to explain the importance of suffering. We must receive the suffering with whole heart because it will lead us to partake in the glory of Jesus. Jesus says “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take his cross and follow me.” Brothers and sisters let us try to take our cross, cross of family problems, economical problems, diseases, etc and let us follow Jesus.
Lastly in today’s gospel shows the ups and downs in life and the importance of be awake with Jesus. Peter James and John are very strong in their faith in today’s gospel. They are saying “it is good to be here”. But after sometimes we can see them in Gethsemane garden in another mountain the Mount of Olive. When a large crowd armed with swords came looking for Jesus the same disciples who are so strong in their faith in Christ ran for their life and also peter denied Jesus. It is because they failed to be awake with Jesus and also it is showing the ups and downs in the spiritual life. During the high point, we feel so close to Jesus that we can touch him. We feel the warmth of God the father. On the other hand when we are in the low point, our faith will be doubt like the disciples in the garden Gethsemane. During the high points we feel life as beautiful. We love everyone. We forgive all our enemies. But in the downs of spiritual life we feel oppressed and we hate every one. We find fault with every friends and misjudged them. St John of the cross described it as the dark night of the soul. It is common in all of our life. But the thing is when the darkness come we should follow the example of Abraham the father of our faith. His faith flickered when God asked him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac but Abraham didn’t lose his faith in God. And God provides him with all blessings. In a similar way God tests our faith. When this happens, our hearts are pained and our minds are confused. But we trust in God as Abraham did, God will not allow us to lose our faith. In end God will bless us too. The apostle James said “happy is the person who remains faithful under the trails, because when he succeeds in passing such test, he will receive as his reward the life which god has promised to those who love him.”
My dear brothers and sisters so just keep in mind the points that today’s gospel gives us to reflect upon.
• First of all we need a transformation in our life from our bad habits, attitudes, relations, prayer life etc.
• Secondly not be embarrassed or sad when something extraordinarily happened in our life. Give it to the providence of god and be happy because Gods have a plan for us all.
• Thirdly, by accepting cross only we will come to Jesus glory. So take our cross in our daily life and follow Jesus with joy.
• Fourthly, the life is full of ups and downs at the time of downs just trust in god and believe in God. God will reward us.
Wish you a fruitful day and fruitful week. May God bless you.