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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

"Let us walk in the light of the lord

"(Is 2:5)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

 

Divine Call

"God with us”, but are we with Him?
By Fr John Puthenpurackal VC

The God of the Bible is the One who reveals Himself to individuals, to the community and nations. Beginning with the book of Genesis we can see He is a God who walks with His people (Gen 3:6). The Exodus event testifies to the Presence of God leading the people by walking ahead of them in the pillar of cloud during the day and pillar of fire by night (Exd 13:21-22). This unique experience of God walking with them inspired them to proclaim, “For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to Him?” (Deut 4:7). The same God became, “Emmanuel" in the New Testament in Jesus Christ (Mt 1:23). This God came down and walked upon the earth and all who recognised Him proclaimed Him, saying, "You are the son of David, the Son of the living God."

The failure of the world to recognise its Saviour, and the rejection by His own (Jn 1:10) are indicators of the two possibilities of human life.  Although the gospel shows a variety of people who came to see and hear Jesus; those who walked with Him, dined with Him, claimed to belong to Him; those who experienced a healing; those who worshiped Him, and those who left everything for His sake; but to how many did He actually become a “Saviour”?

Even today there are many who desire to see Jesus. The crowds flocking to conventions and retreat centres could be a proof. But those returning with only an emotional satisfaction of having experienced some kind of healing, or with a sense of having done their duty to praise and worship Him, or of just having visited the place are a greater majority. Jesus was not a ‘Saviour’ fitting to the expectations of the world. So the people did not accept Him. The Gospel also speaks about people who went back grieving after having met and heard Jesus as in the case of the rich young man who preferred his wealth to the richness of life in Jesus Christ (Mt 19:16-22). Hence the people could not accept Him. About such a one who walked with Him for three years, Jesus said, "It would have been better for that one not to have been born" (Mt 26:24). Is it not frightening in reading such a thing?

Jesus had dined both in the house of Simon (Lk 7:36-50), and that of Zacchaeus (Lk 19).  And the Bible tells that Simon even after hosting Jesus could not gain any blessing from Him, since His mind was filled with thoughts of criticism and unbelief. But, however, in the same incident, the woman who came uninvited obtained salvation from Jesus and went back in peace (Lk 7:50). So to prevent us from ending up like Simon, Jesus warns, saying, "Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I do not know where you come from…’" (Lk 13:26-27).  On the other hand, Zacchaeus' hosting of a dinner for Jesus obtained for him the blessing of hearing the voice of salvation, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Lk 19:1-10).

God is always with humankind, but what about us humans, are we with God always? The “Birth of Jesus the Saviour” is the “Good News” prepared by God for the entire mankind. This is a historical event that has already taken place. But Christmas must not be approached as a mere memorial of an event that had occurred 2019 years ago, rather it should become a celebration that proclaims the birth of the Saviour within each of us. It is a time to allow the Saviour to be born in us, so that with His growth in us, we may outgrow our weaknesses and become spiritually strong. And when the principle, "He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30), that John the Baptist proclaimed, becomes a reality in us, only then are we truly with God. It is in this manner that Blessed Virgin Mary prepared herself and participated in the glorious Emmanuel experience. She was with the Lord always.  Thus she could accept the Saviour both in her heart and womb and let Him grow in her. This is exactly what we are also called for: to accept the Saviour and let the salvation of God grow within us. This way we shall experience the freedom of being the children of God. "But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1:12).

With prayers, blessings and heartfelt wishes for a blessed Christmas.

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Divine Updates

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, is holding several English and Malayalam language retreats - led by Fr. George Panackal VC, Fr. Joseph Edattu VC and Fr Antony Parankimalil VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2020

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The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our 10th annual Hindi convention, in 2020. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 31 - June 5, 2020

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Date: January 2020 - December, 2020

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Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC, along with Fr Jose Kannampally VC, will lead several healing Masses and retreats across various venues in Melbourne. Please spread the word.

Dates: 17 January - 4 February, 2020

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