Category Archives: Easter – B

Easter – B

Ascension of our Lord -B – 2015

EmptinessWhen we travel in the Holy Land, we will find so many places, which are related to the life of Jesus. Many of them are not “the” place, which we read in the holy bible. Some places like Cana or the place of Baptism, exist not only once, but more than one time.

Once we visit the tomb of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre church, we may notice an empty tomb; empty, as the disciples found it in that early morning.
Also we may find “the place of Jesus’ Ascension” in the holy Land.
We cannot prove scientifically, that this was the place of ascension.
Not only that place, but many such places cannot give us a hundred percent surety for that.
We cannot experience Jesus and his disciples physically in these places. The faith and narrations keep this alive in us.
Still these places are of great importance for our faith.
Because, once being there and associating the biblical narrations and our faith experiences, with that of Jesus and his way, we fell something special.

When we celebrate the feast of Ascension and all other feasts of Jesus, we come across with the truth, Jesus’ life is connected with a system of “emptiness”. Yes, he made himself “empty” for a great faith. He made himself to nothing, to invisible, so that those who follow him may experience his special assistance though out their lives.

Jesus tells that in another words: “For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (Jn 16, 7)
Yes, he is making way for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
He makes himself empty, so that the new spirit can work.
He made place for the freshness of God’s renewing spirit,
just as the fresh wind replaces the heavy condensed air
in the atmosphere circulation which gives freshness to our thoughts and lives.

Jesus makes himself empty, so that the fresh spirit of God can renew the faithful with new thoughts and new lives.
Christ’s ascension is in this manner, not a loss for the disciple and the church. He is still present in and with his eternal love.
He is still in work as God the father is in work.
He works in the Spirit of God. He works in his real disciples.

He sends us with this mission to renew the world.
By proclaiming the new message of Peace and Life,
by proclaiming the extra ordinary message of being empty,
by proclaiming the renewing spirit of God,
the ascended Christ is present in our World.

He showed it his disciples by braking the bread,
by sharing his life with others.
His emptiness was not something theoretical, but had a practical example too.
He made himself empty, not in a negative way,
but for the re-creation of the better world.

Let us follow this example of Jesus.
Let us make ourselves empty and make Jesus and his fresh spirit present.
May this change our lives and our World.
God bless us all. Amen!

–Thomas Kalathil

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6th Sunday of Easter – B – Acts 10, 25-26. 34-35. 44-48

Be humanAn year ago, on 12th of May 2014 Vatican Radio transmitted the morning Mass of Pope Francis in which he gave the message, even the green men with the long nose and big ears, as the children draw, – yes he meant even the Martians – have a right to be baptized, if they so wished. The background of this statement was a discussion, whether a priest can baptize the children of parents who live ‘away’ from the church. And as usual, the media reported that message of Pope Francis with great attention.

As I read the first reading for the preparation of this sermon, this statement of the Pope came to my mind. Because in the reading we see a similar statement from St Peter.
Peter came to Caesarea and visited the centurion Cornelius.
He was neither a Christian nor a Jew. He was a Roman centurion and a Gentile too. But God sends Peter to this ‘non-believer’, because he was God-fearing and charitable (Acts 10, 2)

Peter follows the voice of God. He proclaims Christ,
and the people who heard the word received the Holy Spirit.
Peter was usually a bit cautious in such issues- in direct contact with Gentiles.
But as God gives him a sign and leads him to some change,
he would not resist and criticize this God’s will.

But during this incident he recognizes some important truths for his mission.
First, he says, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”
Yes, Peter understands slowly that God has another measure, an unusual way to measure people. God sees the hearts of men and not their origin, appearances, language, color or cultures that make them different, clean or unclean.

Further, Peter gives God always first priority.
In the encounter with Cornelius it becomes very clear.
Peter says, to honor God alone; not him, not any man.
This attitude of Peter appeals me highly:
yes even in his greatest call as the leader of the Christians,
he just stayed as a human.

I wish all of us, specially ministers of God may inherit this grace.
Because, in many of my talks with many people, they tell the sad stories, why they refrain from the church and God.
As a priest I find some reasons self-criticizing.
Yes it is true too, that some priests and nuns behave they are above others and forget their roots and lose their humanity as well. Sometimes they forget their own shortcomings and judge others rash and harsh.

In a short time we have perceived that, Pope Francis attracts people very much; many, not only Christians but also non-Christians speak about him, because he has not lost his human approach even after his papal election. He speaks and lives as a human- just as Peter says in the reading. Therefore, Pope Francis could say that “he would even baptize a believer ‘Martian'”.

God’s servants should be helpers of people. Peter proves that.
He helps Cornelius and so many others with the gift of the Spirit and with the baptism. He helped them to live with Christ sincerely and upright. He says, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we have?”
yes, we should meditate on this question, again and again.

This venture or adventure of Peter was actually a break in Tradition: Yes it was a modern step, a reformation in the Church. Of course he had to face criticism for that. After all, the circumcised believers could not believe it. Still Peter tried to remain human and ‘modern’, giving Priority to the will od God. He gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the water.

My dear friends,
we too need this courage of Peter in the Church today. Because there are so many people who have been denied of their experience of God in the Church because of their external obstacles. There are many people who are avoided by the power-obsessed ‘servants of the Church’. Yes, we need courageous servants like Peter, who can clean and renew the Church according to the will of God. We need especially human and simple servants of God and not rulers. Because our baptism and God is unique, who makes us all his children. We need no tug of wars between the children of God. That will not help, but only ruin the Church of God.
So let us pray and work for this renewal.
May the God’s Spirit strengthen and bless us. Amen!

–Thomas Kalathil

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5th Sunday of Easter – B – Jn 15, 1-8

Remain In JesusSince I’m in Nierstein in Germany, I became an observer too:
Yes, I have the opportunity to observe the works in the vineyards from my room, on my evening walks etc, because I live in the middle of many vineyards. I even admire how quickly the vine grow and bear green leaves.

At first it was quite interesting for me.
Then I saw the branches were cut and only two branches were left to grow.
I was wondering what can bring out the two branches on each vine?
But after a few weeks, these two branches are full of leaves.
The workers have to remove superfluous branches and leaves of the vine.
At the beginning I did not understand it. But later I was explained that the vintner has to do it in order to keep the quality of the grapes better and to raise a good harvest.

I must say, these observations of the vineyards gave me more insight and helped me to understand the Gospel passage better.
The Gospel of this Sunday covers the interesting point in the parable of the vine and the branches: The winemaker has to cut the branches, remove the excess. He can not be kind and thus grow the whole branches. It will then be a disaster in the quantity and quality.

Yes, the Gospel tells without any mercy, that there must be some sort of order in life. The Word of God helps us: Then Jesus says, we are clean through the word spoken by God.

The word of God can heal us.
We heard it from the first reading. It was about the converted Saul. He was purified by the word of God. Saul means “asked for, prayer for”. He was a Man of proud and heritage. But the encounter with Jesus made him, “Brother Paul” or “The minister of Christ” and “the Apostle of the Gentiles”.
He counted his sublime Jewish tradition no longer.
Through the Word of God, the Apostle Paul stood so close to Jesus and brought corresponding fruit. He was cleaned by the Word.

Yes, my friends, the fruits are very important:
That tells us Jesus in the Gospel.
Also the life of Paul teaches it.

Our God invites us to stay with him.
As his branches we are called to bear his fruits.

We are blessed,
if our lives remain attached to the living vine Jesus and grow fruits matching to his will.
Let us pray and work for that.
May the good God bless us all. Amen!

–Thomas Kalathil

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