There was once a little boy who desired to meet God. One day he was walking home from school. As he went through the park, he noticed an old woman sitting on a park bench. She looked lonely and hungry, so he sat down and offered part of the chocolate he had been saving. She accepted it with a smile. They sat together in a very friendly manner, eating and drinking and smiling at each other. When the boy got up to leave, he reached over to the woman and gave her a big hug. Then walked home smiling. His mother noticed his big smile and happiness on his face and asked, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” “I had lunch with God. And he has a great smile,” he said. The old woman returned to the small house she shared with her sister. She too was smiling. Her sister asked her why she was so happy. “I just had lunch with God. And he is a lot younger than I expected,” she said.
The Emmaus story speaks to people of all ages. We can see ourselves in these two despondent travellers on their journey, the faith and hope they have lost, the future they have hoped for fallen apart. And yet they met an unknown friend walking the road with them, who gave them fresh insight, and connected their challenging present situation with what they had known in the past. And, of course, Jesus reveals Himself powerfully and creatively in explaining the Scriptures, in the breaking of bread, as symbolic of the Eucharist. Having dined with Him, they were filled with new energy and enthusiasm, to share with others what they now knew about Him.
God challenges us to meet the Risen Christ who comes to us in ordinary life situations. The disciples of Emmaus were given a lesson in the scriptures. It is in the Word that we also meet God and Jesus. Scripture is God’s word and through it He communicates Himself to us. All of the Easter accounts suggest that Christ comes to us in the places where we live out our lives. Followers like Mary, Peter, Cleopas and His companion discover Him in a personal way. The Easter story and the story of the Emmaus journey tell us that God never forces Himself on us, but joins us in a walk or in the visit of a friend or while sharing the sorrow of another or reading a consoling letter from someone we love. God speaks to us in the here and now – in the voices of those who are hurt or are sorrowful, in the faces of the poor and the needy, in the victims of prejudice and the generosity of those who care. We may miss Him if we do not look for Him where Cleopas and his friend found Him – in things as ordinary as a meal and in the Eucharist. Our experience of loving and being loved by Jesus helps us to share that experience with others to help them walk the way of Jesus, to discover the Way of Truth and Life. Today we pray that each of us can personally share in that experience, that our hearts too may be burning within us...
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Monday 20 April
Tuesday 21 April
Wednesday 22 April
Thursday 23 April
Friday 24 April
Saturday 25 April
Sunday 26 April
Christians worldwide celebrated an Easter like no other. Our hearts are still filled with Easter joy! Easter is a reminder and encouragement that God in Christ continues to love and care for the whole world, overcoming death with life, conquering fear and uncertainty with hope. The Easter message also conveys that our God is a loving God, the source of life, not death. The Lord Himself has power to revive our courage and our faith.
No locked doors, nor even our current pandemic situation, can keep Him out. This weekend we continue to celebrate the victory of the Cross and Resurrection. Every year on the Sunday after Easter, the greatest celebration of faith, we encounter the gospel’s most famous story of doubt: the story of Thomas, who demands proof before he will believe. The risen Lord appeared to the apostles, who were gathered together in one place. The fact that they were gathered in one place is not without significance; for it is there that the Lord chose to appear to them. One of them, as we shall see, was not in the gathering and thus missed the blessing of seeing and experiencing the risen Lord. It might be said that Thomas, the absent apostle, missed His blessing.
Jesus is found in His Church, among those who have gathered. There is surely joy to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus, but the Lord also announced a special presence whenever two or three are gathered in His name. This Gospel has a lot to say to us about the benefit of gathering together to find the Lord’s blessing in the community of the Church, in His Word, and in the Sacraments. In every Mass, the Lord strengthens us. I am powerfully aware that every Mass I celebrate, is a source of powerful blessings for me. Not only does God instruct us with His Word and feed us with His Body and Blood, He also helps form us through the presence and participation of others.
This Sunday, we mark Divine Mercy Sunday, when we embrace the power and beauty of God’s forgiveness. It is the Sunday in which we are reminded of God’s tender mercies – when we strive, more than ever, to let Him break through the locked doors of our hearts. This Mercy Sunday means that there is a whole new moment in our lives. Risen from the dead, Jesus is now walking with us - just as He walked with those first apostles. And He is showing us the path of mercy, the path of compassion. Let us pray to be more open to God’s tender mercies that we might respond with the joy of Easter discovery, and with the wonder and conviction of St. Thomas: “My Lord and my God.”
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Monday 13 April
Tuesday 14 April
Wednesday 15 April
Thursday 16 April
Friday 17 April
Saturday 18 April
Sunday 19 April
CHURCH BUILDINGS MIGHT BE EMPTY ON EASTER, BUT SO IS THE TOMB....
The message of Easter is first communicated by the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty and runs to the apostles to tell them her astonishing news. Only in St John’s account are the apostles directly involved in finding that the tomb was empty, though neither Jesus nor an angel gave them any guidance about what it meant. The Beloved Disciple was beside Peter to see the discarded burial cloths within the tomb, and he at once realised what this meant: that Jesus had risen from the dead! That emptiness was actually the first symbol of our new life....
On Easter morning, the stone was rolled away. Are our hearts like a tomb awaiting new life? Is anything holding us back from renewal of spirit. As pope Francis says, “we are called to be people of joyful hope, not prophets of doom. Through the resurrection of Jesus, we get an infusion of hope and joy, and an invitation to share them by our way of living”. So we need to live with that confidence — with that powerful hope. Christ is risen and we will rise with Him! This is our Easter joy because we have the certainty of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and that gives us hope: the hope of eternal life.
So, whatever it is that worries us or is a burden for us at this time, if we trust in Jesus, if we follow Him, if we ask for His help, He is always there for each one of us. We are assured of this because He is alive! We may be physically isolated but not separated. We are united as the body of Christ. We are the Church. We are united in spirit. Even though we cannot celebrate Easter together this year we can follow the time and ceremonies that will be available from the Cathedral and Churches on line. I especially encourage families to watch the ceremonies together. While this situation continues, I will continue to pray and offer the Mass each day.
I wish all of you and your families Easter blessings! May the Risen Christ bless you. Happy Easter...!
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Monday April 6
Tuesday April 7
Wednesday April 8
Thursday April 9
Friday April 10
Saturday April 11 - Easter Vigil
Sunday April 12 - Easter Sunday
We are preparing for a Holy Week like no other. The days of Holy Week and the Triduum are central to the liturgical life of the Church and this year due to the extraordinary situation, Holy Week liturgies will be celebrated under the present restrictions, without a congregation. We are indeed living in a time of great crisis locally and globally. Many of us feel powerless in the face of this corona virus pandemic. We continue to pray for all who are ill, those who have died, and all who have been affected in any way... financially, emotionally, and through isolation.
This most solemn time of the liturgical year was once called the ‘Great Week’ but nowadays we call it Holy Week. In it we witness the total self-giving of Jesus. We try to follow Jesus every step of the way, beginning with His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. There He was welcomed, applauded and acclaimed by a crowd of followers. On Thursday we commemorate Him at table, to receive His gift of Himself in the Eucharistic bread and wine. After dining with Him we will, in our reflections, go with Him along the trail from the Upper Room to the Garden of Olives. We recall His struggle with fear and anxiety about the cruel death that awaits Him. On Good Friday we stand in spirit beside His mother at the foot of the cross, while He hands His spirit back to the Father who sent Him.
On Saturday we will be quiet and silent around His tomb, as we remember the injustice and cruelty of humanity, for which He died. Then, late on Saturday, we will move from the darkness of our Passion journey to the place of the bright Easter Candle, representing the risen Christ, as He lights up the darkness of our Church and lives. Jesus Christ is not dead and gone. No, He is risen, strong and powerful, alive in Himself, and alive in us.
Dear parishioners as we enter into this Holy Week, I would encourage you to keep these days as holy days by taking time to pray at home, reading the Scriptures of the day, praying the Act of Spiritual Communion which I mentioned in last weekend’s newsletter and prayerfully joining Mass online or by television Resources. Also, a series of leaflets are available on our parish website for use at home during the days of Holy Week.
Although we cannot come together for public Masses during this holiest time of year, Fr. Prem and myself will celebrate Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Masses in our churches. I encourage everyone to participate spiritually and prayerfully unite with us in spirit. The Holy Week mass time schedule is given in the second page of the newsletter. You and your people are deeply in my thoughts and prayers. God bless everyone and let’s continue to pray for protection, health, recovery and a fuller sense of God’s compassionate love.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
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