Category Archives: Advent – B

Advent – B

Baptism of the Lord – B

Baptism of Jesus and CrossThere are many rituals of purification in almost all cultures. Also, we can see so many types of ritual washings in Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and many other religions. Some do it with water, others with sand and ashes… Therefore, the believers consider such places and many rivers something special and sacred.

Purification makes us look neat and clean, above all, it brings us good mood and energy. Water refreshes us and makes awake both externally and internally. But it is not just a superficial act. For the purification of the body can also refer to the inner purity. This cult show us the willingness to lead a pure life through faith and prayer. We Christians have not much purity regulations. But Baptism can be listed to this symbolic act.

Today we celebrate the baptism of Christ, with much meaningful symbols. Baptism was a very important event in the life of Jesus. Because after that Christ began his active life. He travelled across Palestine and announced the Gospel, the Kingdom of God. He healed people and called for vigilance.

But, baptism for Christ was not only the single event in Jordan. His baptism was connected with his death and resurrection. Therefore, he says, “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!“ (Lk 12, 50). Actually each baptism is a death, where one is reborn to new life in God; where one is reborn as healed and purified people; where one is newborn to be vigilant in faith…

We often learn of children crying at their baptism. They will be awake or feel irritated when the holy water is poured on the forehead. This is a normal reaction. Not only children but also we, adults still have this problem when we stay under the shower, especially in the cold winter.
Yes, water makes us awake. But baptism awakens and invites us to think about our lives, a holy life. This works in us and cleanse us from our sins. This sacrament gives us the strength to wear the name of God eagerly and to bear witness to him with our lives. Yes, the baptism actually lead us to this vigilance…

When we enter into a church, then our hands will go automatically to the holy water. We make the sign of cross with the water because it reminds us our baptism and also refreshes its memories. This invites us to be watchful and conscious Christians.

Except the scenes and dramatic representations, our baptism remain similar to the baptism of Christ on the shore of Jordan. Because we, as Christians, are in the world and live the good news of Christ. That means, we proclaim Christ with our lives – sometimes consciously and sometimes different.

My dear friends,
Christ was baptised, not to live easy and comfortably, but to give testimony to the Father in Heaven. He received his baptism to serve God and people.
We Christians too receive this same call,
because we are also called to serve God and man.

Everything we do as Christians, is because of him and in his name.
That is the purpose of our baptism and the meaning of to be Christian.
So, let us be aware of our baptism; be aware of our vocation.
Let God awaken us so that we can bring God’s Good news to others and serve both man and God. May God bless us all. Amen!

–Thomas Kalathil

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2nd Sunday of the Christmas Time – B

Time is God's Blessing for you!Many say the year has gone quickly. Some may even contradict this and say it was different, it was boring… Yes, we talk a lot about the ‘time’, especially at this time – at the end and at the beginning of the years. The modern social communication networks are full of such images and greetings, pictures and quotes and wishes of a nice, good time… In addition, we may listen to the many discussions and reports on the time that is past and is to come…

Yes, Time is important for all of us.
Because we live in the time and find time for ourselves and others.
Many will say, in this matter God is righteous and one can feel it in concrete terms: Because everyone has got exactly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
There is no difference between rich or poor, male or female, black or white…
Many use this time well and creatively too.
We may know people say they have no time.
But there are many who simply ‘find’ time for others…
Yes, we can also recite a litany on time, tell stories of time…

But today’s readings give us a different opinion.
Time is something especially when we receive or perceive it in faith. After all this time, is blessed by God.
In Sirach we heard.
“Before all ages, in the beginning, he created me, and through all ages I shall not cease to be.” (Sir 24, 9)
What a deep conviction !!!

The second reading (Ephesians) also talks about the same blessing of God…
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens…“ (Eph 1, 3).
With this blessing we accept two further challenges too.
One is “to be in the community” and the other is that “to live holy and blemish” before God. Both these challenges are not easy.
Community is beautiful but at the same time it requires certain sacrifices and renunciation, since we have to respect, tolerate and accommodate each other. That makes a community beautiful…

To live before God is a also bit exhausting, especially when we are not “good” enough. But these efforts can accompany us to the joys.

Even the Gospel talks about this eternal presence (omnipresence) of God, who was in the world in the form of a Word. This complicated story explains John in his Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word … the Word was God”…

My dear friends,
we see here the blessing presence of God in our time, in our history and life.
We can find his presence something exhausting or a blessing.
But one thing God tells us clearly. He is with us:
Yes, we hear this again and again, God is Emmanuel, God with us!
He speaks again and again these words, His Name, into our conscience, in to our hearts.
Let us accept his presence, his blessing, his offer and make our days, our activities fruitful. Then with his presence, our life get a “divine” nature.
This will make our lives and services easier.

My friends,
God calls us to holiness. He calls us to his Grace-Time.
Let us accept this time with wisdom.
May God bless us and our time. Amen!

–Thomas Kalathil

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Year-End – Thanks for 2014!

Thanks 2014My dear friends!
Normally we keep our bills and receipts. Well not all, but the important ones. We need some of them for tax returns or jut keep them to have a memory of a celebration or of a shopping…

Now we are at the end of the year. We are gathered in this church on the last day of the year as God’s community. Here we don’t have to submit any of our bills. Nevertheless, this day brings in us many memories… Many people and experiences, many life stories may go through our minds.

Now, I also look at my life in the last minutes of this year: my many encounters with people, my dealing with conflicts…
How they affected my life?
What do I do with this year, that’s over in a few hours?
So many questions come in my mind…

Among these questions it’s quite good to have a short glance at our paths, in this past year. This may be helpful to do some course correction. This year 2014 is going to end, but it is only a portion of our long life. This is the last day of this year, but not the end : we have to continue for our goals with courage and determination I the coming year.

Past is past. I can not change it any more. But I can learn from it and draw conclusions.
Above all, the words of the Lord should strengthen us:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…“(Mt 11, 28)
This sentence tells me that God is in the new year for me, just like in the old days. He gives me his peace and strength in this new time.
I must trust in him, even in my good and not so good experiences and experiences.
Now, we are entering a new year. We look forward to it with pleasure.
But I am not sure of the time in this new year. Of course, I can schedule some of my appointments, but the time is in God’s hands; it is his gift to us. He says ‘yes’ to new experiences and new life, but especially ‘Yes’ to rediscover and reanimate our faith in him…
The Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it wonderfully in the song:
“Surrounded by good powers, faithful and still,
wonderfully protected and comforted–
in this way I want to live these days with you
and go with you into a new year…
Wonderfully secured by good powers,
we confidently await what may come.
God is with us in the evening and the morning,
and most certainly in each new day.”

Sure, if we put aside the thoughts of the old days and trustingly place the coming year in the hands of God, we will surely enjoy his love and care. And this new year will be a blessing to us.

Now we let us adopt these last hours of the year with gratitude.
It is true that, some moments in life were not worth to be grateful. Nevertheless, we give thanks even for these bad experiences.
But with renewed hope we will sing and praise God together; We will praise, and thank his love for everything. For He is with us.
For his ever presence, let us thank him.

–Thomas Kalathil

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