There is a story about a young girl who was in great distress because she had lost a sense of God in her life. She complained to her elderly grandmother, “Why doesn’t God let me feel His presence? If only I could feel Him and know that He has touched me.” Her grandmother said, “Pray to God, right now. Close your eyes and pray to him. Ask Him to put out his hand and touch you.” The girl closed her eyes and prayed fervently. Then she felt a hand on her hand. “He touched me. He touched me,” she cried out. Then she said, “You know, his hand felt just like your hand.” “Of course it was my hand,” her grandmother said. “That’s how God works. He takes the hand that is nearest and uses that.”
In this weekend’s Gospel Jesus underlines the principle that Love of God means putting Him first, respecting His Name and we are to love our neighbour as we love ourselves because both of us bear God’s image, and to honour God’s image is to honour Him. The love of God has priority and is our source of love for neighbour. In our neighbour we experience something of God, His image and likeness that encourages us to show respect for others, their relationships, their reputations, and their property.
The readings of today easily remind us how God expresses His love for us. Most of the time, God shows His love for us through the people around us. God’s love is there for all to share and we love God when we sincerely love our brothers and sisters. It is simply the commandment to love. It reaches out even to those who do not behave well or wish to hurt us.
However, God does not stop loving us and He constantly reaches out to our love. We are always certain that God’s love is offered to human persons and is never taken back. It comes in the sunset, in creation, in friendship, in our service to others, and in our desire to reconcile. God expects us to respond to this love through our gratitude to Him and express it in our loving service to our brothers and sisters.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
There is an old saying which goes, “Things never really change.” In today’s Gospel we discover that 2000 years ago people were discussing the same topics we discuss today, politics and religion. There are those who say one shouldn’t mix politics with religion but Jesus seems to indicate otherwise. He admits they are separate issues but also makes it clear that God must be considered and, as He has said in other situations, God’s laws are primary.
This discussion comes at a good time because in a few days we will be deciding for whom we will vote. Jesus is very clear in saying, “Repay to Caesar what it Caesar’s and repay to God what is God’s.” And so, the question arises, “what is due God?”......Sacraments, Ten Commandments etc.
When Jesus outlined the commandments He gave us an exact description of what is God’s. For example, He said, “Thou shalt not kill.” God is the giver of life and it is not the province of a government to determine who dies and who lives. Some politicians running for office are saying that the modern Caesar, our federal government, has the right to make that decision. But Jesus, in his remarks in the Gospel says “give to God what belongs to God......that’s life.” So, do we mix politics and our religion?
In the normal Jewish customs, an invitation to a great feast like a wedding feast, when sent out, the time was not stated. Only after everything was ready the servants were sent out with a final summons to tell the wedding guests to come. So then, the king in this parable had long ago sent out his invitations but it was not until everything was prepared that the final summons was issued and insultingly refused by the invited wedding guests. In today’s Gospel (Mt. 22, 1-14), we hear a parable about a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. Those invited did not come for so many reasons, so in the end the king allowed the gates of his kingdom to be opened to all, and his hall was filled with guests. Today’s Gospel reading is an invitation. Our Lord is inviting us to be with Him, to come to Him, to come to His Kingdom which is described like a wedding feast where people are with joyful faces and dressed in their best clothes. He invites us to be close to Him at all times.
If we are going to compare our Christian religion with Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and other world religions, in them it is the people who look for God, but in the case of Christianity, it is God who looks for us. This truth can be seen in some other parables of Jesus, where it is God who looks for the lost sheep and the lost coin. And so it is God who takes the first initiative for our salvation.
It’s October! Can you believe it? By tradition, the Catholic Church dedicates each month of the year to certain devotion. The month of October is dedicated to the holy Rosary, one of the best known of all Catholic devotions. October includes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7th. The best way to celebrate the month is, of course, to pray the Rosary every day.
The Rosary will bring great peace and holiness to our life. Daily recitation of the Rosary will help us get to know our Mother better. By connected in a deeper way with Mary, we will in turn draw closer to Jesus. When we look at each mystery of the Rosary, we reflect upon different aspects of Jesus’ life through the eyes of His mother. Because the Rosary was given to us by Mary, it is very powerful. And of course, Our Lady of Fatima said, “Pray the Rosary daily.” There have been many miracles associated with praying the Rosary.
The Rosary is one of the most powerful weapons that we have against Satan. It will help to ward off temptations. Through Mary and her Magnificat, her “yes” to God, we had Our Lord Jesus Christ become flesh. Through Him we have our salvation, if we choose to accept it. This is how powerful the Rosary is. St. Francis de Sales, the great master of the spiritual life, wrote, “The greatest method of prayer is praying the Rosary.” St. John Paul the II said “With the Rosary, the Christian people sit at the school of Mary and are led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary, the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer”. Pope Francis says “the Rosary is the prayer that always accompanies my life: it is also the prayer of simple people and saints...it is the prayer of my heart”.
Our Blessed Mother herself has asked us in her apparitions to pray the rosary daily for the conversion of sinners and of the world. As we pray it, we are not only praising the Blessed Virgin Mary with the words of the angel Gabriel but we are also petitioning the Father to hear us while at the same time we have the opportunity to reflect upon the events of the life of our Lord Jesus. Let us make a commitment to pray the Rosary every day – and keep it. The best way to celebrate the month of the Holy Rosary is, of course, to pray the rosary daily.
“THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS THE ROSARY TOGETHER, STAYS TOGETHER!”
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.