22nd Sunday OT Year B

22nd Sunday O T Year B

Dt.4:1-2, 6-9 / Jas.1:17-27 / Mk.7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

A man and a lady enter a ‘to go’ restaurant and the man orders two fried chicken dinners. The girl at the counter mistakenly gives him a bag of money, the entire day’s proceeds, instead of fried chicken.

The man and woman drive to their picnic site and sit down to enjoy their chicken dinner. To their surprise, they discover that it is a bag of money, totaling almost $1,000.

They put the money back in the bag, drive back to the restaurant and return the money bag to the restaurant manager. The manger is overwhelmed.

He declares the man a hero and a saint. He goes to call the local press to put the story and the man’s picture in the local newspaper. “You’re the most honest man in the whole world,” says the manager.

But the man would not let him call the press. Instead he leans closer and whispers in the ears of the manager, “You see, the woman I’m with is not my wife…she’s uh, somebody else’s wife.”

The man might well be a hero, but he’s no saint.

As James tells us in today’s second reading, true Christian holiness has as much to do with doing good to others as it has with keeping ourselves pure.

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jas.1:27). The man scores high on honesty but very low on purity.

All of us in our churches belong to one of two camps. Either we are people, like the man in the story, who score high mark in our commitment to practical justice and fairness but low in self-discipline or we are people who score high in self-discipline but low in practical commitment to justice and fairness.

Apostle James teaches us that a Christian must score high marks in both practical concern for the welfare of others and self-mastery in order to be truly holy and acceptable before God.

For the next four Sundays we shall be reading from the Letter of James, as he leads us to understand the importance of practical Christianity, that faith without good works is dead.

Apostle James makes two important points in today’s reading. He teaches the importance of faith in action, and he defines for us what true devotion is.

True devotion is not a matter of hearing good preaching and celebrating inspiring liturgies. Good preaching and inspiring liturgies are wonderful. Yet the litmus test of true devotion remains how we live out the word of God that we hear.

St. James defines true religion as keeping the word of God and doing His will by helping the needy, the poor and the weak in the community.

He challenges us to become doers of the word, not merely hearers. “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” (Jas.1;27)

Today’s readings explain what true religion is. It is not simply a scrupulous, external observance of rules, laws, traditions and rituals.

It is a loving, obedient relationship with God expressed in obeying His Commandments, worshipping Him, recognizing His presence in other human beings and rendering them loving and humble service.

Prayers, rituals, Sacraments and religious practices only help us to practice this true religion in our daily lives.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes true religion as serving God and all His children with a pure and holy heart.

Two monks, Brother Francis and an elder monk, are walking down a muddy road on a rainy day. They came upon a lovely young girl dressed in fine silk, who was afraid to cross because of the flood and the mud.

“Come on, girl,” said Brother Francis. And he picked her up in his strong arms, and carried her across the river.

The two monks walked on in silence till they reached the monastery. Then the elder monk couldn’t bear it any longer. “Monks shouldn’t go near young girls,” he said, “certainly not beautiful ones like that one! Why did you do it?”

“Dear brother,” said Brother Francis, “I put the girl down by the river bank, but you have brought her into the monastery.”

In these two monks we see the two often conflicting approaches to Christian spirituality, namely, avoidance and involvement.

The spirituality of avoidance emphasizes the devout fulfilment of pious religious obligations, and shuns away from those regarded as sinners for fear of being contaminated by them.

It aims at keeping the believer unstained by the world, not at changing the world or making a difference.

The spirituality of involvement, on the other hand, emphasizes active solidarity with sinners, who are often perceived as the untouchables of the world. It does not shun but extends a helping hand to them, believing that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Balance in Christian spirituality consists in reconciling these two tendencies and bringing them into harmony. As St James tells us,

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress [involvement], and to keep oneself unstained by the world [avoidance].”

Religion is not about things, it is about us! It is about the kind of response we make to the world, to others, and to God. It is about whether that wonderful ‘chemistry’ of the Gospel is happening in us:

the kind of ‘chemistry’ that can turn bad stuff into good, curses into blessings, suffering into prayer. The spirit of faith is hard to keep in sight at all times, yet it is meant for all times.

Here I also like to talk a little bit about the life style of Fr. Evans (from Kenya) for whom we have a mission appeal today.

African countries are really rich in natural resources but people are poor and have no power and knowledge to overcome the exploitation, by the few rich and the powerful, because they are not educated.

We can find even children have no great expectation in life than to become like their parents who have got few sheep or cows and have some cultivation depending up on the rain.

The children are not encouraged to go to school by the parents, since they find difficult to look after the cattle and cultivation without the support of their children.

In the parishes the people always expected from the priests financial support to buy medicine, food, clothing, and transportation, etc.

They don’t have proper Churches to celebrate The Holy Mass; they have mass celebrated under the mango trees and in open space.

They have to travel a lot to reach the remote villages, and the roads are very poor, we can drive 5, 10, 15, or if the roads little better 25, miles speed.

Almost all the priests used to celebrate three to four Masses on Sundays, travelling, 60 to 80 miles. Please do not think it is in one place, each mass in different villages of 5 to 25 miles distance.

Usually they get around 25 to 30 bucks as a Sunday collection for all the Masses together. It is not even sufficient for the wine and Hosts that they use for the Masses. So it is a huge expense to maintain those missions.

Let us accept the challenge to become hearers and doers of God’s word as St. James instructs us. Let us ask ourselves how the Sunday or daily readings are affecting or changing our lives. That will show us whether we are being attentive listeners to, and doers of, God’s word.

We become more fully Jesus’ family members, only when we consistently “hear the word of God and do it.” When we receive Jesus in Holy Communion today, let us ask him for the grace to become the doers of his word as he was the doer of his Fathers’ will.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.


21st Sunday O T Year B – 2018

21st Sunday O T Year B – 2018

To Whom Shall We Go? John 6:60-69

I believe it was Winston Churchill who said, “Democracy is a terrible form of government.” But then he added, “There is no other form that is better.” Sometimes our best choice is far from perfect.

We end up choosing something really does not please us, but we do so precisely because no better options are available.

This seems to be the situation with Peter in today’s gospel. Many people are finding that Jesus’ teaching is difficult, hard to accept. So they are leaving.

They are no longer traveling in his company. Jesus asks Peter, “Do you also want to leave?” and Peter says, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

The story is told about three priests who started discussing their common problem of how to get rid of bats in their churches.

The first priest said he once took a shotgun and fired at them, but to no avail. The second one said he trapped them alive and released them outside, but they came back.

The third priest said, he no longer had a problem in his church. They asked how he solved it, he said: “I simply baptized them and confirmed them, and I haven’t seen them in the church since then.”

Now let us go back to the gospel and let us notice, Peter is not affirming Jesus’ teaching. He is not saying that he is happy with it. He understands why so many people are leaving, but he is going to stay.

But he is not staying because he is excited about staying. He is going to stay because where else can he go.

Even though Jesus’ teaching is difficult and troublesome, Peter knows that there is no better option available to him. Now the good news about today’s gospel is that Jesus lets Peter stay.

Even though Peter is unhappy, even though he finds the teaching difficult, Jesus is willing to accept Peter as a disciple on those terms.

Peter can remain a disciple even though the only reason he is staying is because he does not have a better place to go.

We can be disciples of Jesus even though we are discouraged, even though we have doubts, even though we are afraid.

When troubles in our family continue to disrupt our lives, when our health deteriorates, when people whom we love make decisions that wound us, it does not mean that our faith is misplaced or that God is not God.

It is a reminder to us that God’s ways are often unclear and frequently burdensome. The troubles and difficulties of our life tell us that faith is as much about persevering as it is about celebrating and much more about trusting than understanding.

Brothers and sisters with this reflection on today’s word of God, now I would like to take your attention to the mission appeal of this year.

Today I am here not only as your associate pastor but also representing my Missionary Order.

First and foremost, on behalf of our Missionary Order, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to our Diocese for the continued support given to the Missionaries around the world.

In particular, I would like to thank Rev. …………, our pastor and all of you, my parishioners for giving me an opportunity to come over to your parish to share about our Congregation and our missionary work.

The Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (in short MSFS), also known as Fransalians, is an International Religious Order, spread out in 24 countries.

The Order was founded in 1838 at Annecy, France, by the servant of God, Fr. Peter Marie Mermier, under the patronage of St. Francis de Sales and Mother of Sorrows.

The charism of the Fransalians is to live the spirit and spirituality of St. Francis de Sales which consists of “doing everything by love, and nothing by force.”

The main apostolates of Fransalians are Christian renewal, education, and pioneering evangelization. Imbibing the spirit of joyful and gentle optimism of St. Francis de Sales, the Fransalians take the good news of Jesus to people everywhere, particularly to the non-Christian territories of the world.

Although our founder wanted to send missionaries to Africa immediately after founding the Order, the Holy See entrusted to him a vast territory in India for missionary work.

The first batch of missionaries consisting of 6 members arrived in India in 1845. As of today, about 30 dioceses have been erected from those original mission territories evangelized by the Fransalian missionaries.

In the course of time, the Fransalian missionaries spread out to other countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America.

The dream of the founder to do missionary work in Africa was fulfilled when the Fransalian missionaries took up missions in Africa in the 1980s.

Today, the Fransalians serve the local churches in nine countries in Africa. In India and Africa, Fransalian missionaries strive to bring the good news of Jesus to the poor and those who have not heard about Jesus.

Today, our priests number around 1400 and we have 400 professed members soon to become priests. There are 10 provinces, 2 regions, and other independent missions.

In the United States, there are 56 of us and in Canada 6 of us serving in various dioceses. We are fortunately blessed with many vocations in India, Africa, and the Philippines.

Altogether, there are about 900 seminarians getting their priestly training at various places all over the world. The future of our missions depends on the continuous availability of new members.

Your generous support is vital in getting the new and young members trained and formed to be priests to continue the mission of our congregation in particular, and that of the Universal Church in general.

It is for this training and formation of our young seminarians in our congregation that I am appealing to you for your generous help.

To whom shall we go other than you my dear people of God…….

Our missionary work depends on your prayer and support. I assure you of our prayerful support. And you all will be specially remembered in our daily masses, celebrated in all our missions.

May God bless you and all you do for God’s people!

Be blessed and be a blessing. Amen.

Assumption of the BVM

Assumption of the BVM

1Chr.15.3-4, 15-16; 16.1-2, 1Cor.15.54b-57, Luke 11.27-28

There is an old story about a workman on scaffolding high above the nave of a cathedral who looked down and saw a woman praying before a statue of Mary. As a joke, the workman whispered, “Woman, this is Jesus.” The woman ignored him.

The workman whispered again, more loudly: “Woman, this is Jesus.” Again, the woman ignored him. Finally, he said aloud, “Woman, don’t you hear me? This is Jesus.” At this point the woman looked up at the crucifix and said, “Be still now, Jesus, I’m talking to your mother.”

Why do Catholics treasure Marian devotions and doctrines that their non-Catholic brothers and sisters do not? It is because, I think, the Catholic Church is trying to tell the full story, to proclaim the full gospel.

But isn’t the gospel all about Christ and what he did and taught? Yes and no. The gospel is about Christ in the same way that the story of the Fall is about Adam. “For as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ” (1 Cor.15:22).

That is why we call Christ the new Adam. But as soon as we say that, we become aware of a missing link. The story of the Fall is not only the story of Adam but the story of Adam and Eve.

If Jesus is the new Adam, who then is the new Eve? Mary is the new Eve. Just as the full story of our Fall cannot be told without Eve, so also the full story of our Redemption cannot be told without Mary.

There are many revealing parallels between the old Adam and Eve on the one hand and the new Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary, on the other. Here are some of them.

In the old order, the woman (Eve) came from the body of the man (Adam), but in the new order the man (Jesus) comes from the body of the woman (Mary).

In the old order, the woman (Eve) first disobeyed God and led the man (Adam) to do the same, in the new order the woman (Mary) first said “Yes” to God (Luke 1:38) and raised her son Jesus to do likewise.

Adam and Eve had a good time together disobeying God, Jesus and Mary suffered together doing God’s will. The sword of sorrow pierced their hearts equally (John 19:34; Luke 2:35b).

In the old order Adam and Eve shared immediately in the resulting consequences and punishments of the Fall.

In the new order, similarly, both Jesus and Mary share immediately in the resulting consequences and blessings of the Redemption, the fullness of life with God; Jesus through the Ascension and Mary through the Assumption.

The doctrine of the Assumption teaches that at the end of her earthly existence, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken up (assumed), body and soul, into heaven.

That means, therefore, that there are two human bodies we know to be in heaven with God at this time: the human body of Jesus and that of Mary.

The Ark of the Covenant was the central symbol of the Jewish religion, not because of what it was, but because of what it contained. Within the Ark of the Covenant were the tablets of the Law and a jar of manna and the staff of Aaron the priest.

None of these items were actually God, but they represented the relationship between God and Israel. Over the centuries, the contents of the Ark were lost, but the Ark itself was still revered because of what it had once held.

The Ark of the New Covenant is Mary, the Mother of God. As the Jews revered the Ark of the Covenant without ever confusing the Ark with God himself, so we Christians revere Mary without ever confusing her with God. Within her body was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus took his human nature, his DNA, his cells, from Mary. She nourished him for 9 months as a mother nourishes her unborn child. Even after she had given birth, she could rightly be revered for what her body once held.

But that would be the wrong reason to honor Mary! At least, that is what Jesus tells us. If we honored Mary merely because she carried Jesus in her womb, we would be missing more than half the point.

The Ark of the Covenant was made of wood. What did the trees do to deserve being made into the Ark? Nothing; they are trees. No one asked their permission, they merely looked all over for the very best wood.

Similarly, Mary was chosen because she was the very best human being, but Mary is a human being, so God would not have used her without her permission.

This is why, when a woman shouts out today from the crowd, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed”, Jesus corrects her: “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

He is saying that Mary is blessed to be the Mother of God, but not merely because part of her body became the body of God, nor even because of the intimate relationship between Jesus and Mary, who fed him at her breast.

Mary is blessed because she heard the word of God, through the angel Gabriel: Who, more than Mary, heard the word of God and did it? No one. She is the Mother of Jesus, but she is also his first disciple.

How fitting it is then that, as the first disciple of Jesus Christ, she was the first human person to experience the Resurrection in her own body.

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption, that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Mary was raised before us as a symbol of the whole Church. Jesus, by rising from the dead, destroyed the power of death, so that we too can rise in our earthly bodies, and Mary is the first fruits of that Resurrection. Where she has gone before us, we hope to follow.

Mary found the way to heaven, and it began with obedience. If we are hoping to follow her, we must begin in the same way.

However, it will be easier for us because we have an advantage that she lacked: we have a mother in heaven whose only desire is to lead us to her first-born son: Jesus Christ, who is the only way to the Father.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.

19th Sunday O T Year B

19th Sunday O T Year B

1Kings 19:4-8; Eph.4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51

Once there was a stonecutter who was bored and unhappy with his job. One morning, as he was cutting stones, he saw the king pass by. He prayed to God: “Lord, please make me that king because I am tired of being a stone cutter. It seems good to be king.” The Lord made him a king instantly.

While he was a king he was walking along a road one day, he found the sun much too hot that he was perspiring heavily. He said to God: “It seems the sun is more powerful than the king. I would like to be the Sun.” instantly, the Lord made him the Sun.

As he was shining brightly one morning, he found that the clouds were blocking his sunshine, then he thought to himself: “It seems as though the clouds are better than the sun because they can obstruct my sunshine.” So he said: “I want to be the clouds.” He became the clouds. Later on, he became the rain that poured down on the earth causing a flood. He said: “I’m now very powerful.”

Then he noticed a big rock that blocked his flow. He said to himself: “It seems the stone is more powerful than I am. I want to be this stone.” Then he became the stone. One morning, a stonecutter started to cut him to smaller pieces. He said: “it seems the stonecutter is more powerful than I am. I want to be stonecutter.” Then he instantly became what he originally was.

We are the people who love to complain. We are a people who love to murmur. We all do our fair share of complaining, and sometimes with good reason. We complain about the weather a great deal. We complain about all kinds of things. If we are not careful we can find ourselves complaining about nothing in particular, just complaining.

We can easily get ourselves into a very negative frame of mind. We see the problems but we see nothing else. We fail to see the bigger picture which will nearly always have brighter shades in it. Our vision can be restricted to what is wrong or missing or lacking.

The gospel starts by saying that as soon as the Lord said to the Jews: “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews murmured to one another. They started to say: “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’”

As far as they were concerned, he was a problem, and they could not see beyond the problem. They had always known him as the son of Joseph, the carpenter from Nazareth; they knew his family and his mother. Yet, here he was claiming to be the bread that came down from heaven.

They were scandalized that one of their own could make such claims for himself. Their response to Jesus was to complain about him. Complaining on its own is rarely an adequate response to anything or anyone; it is certainly not an adequate response to the person of Jesus.

Yes, Jesus had a difficult time trying to teach the people that He is the bread of life because their minds were already filled with complains.

When the mind is filled with complaints, the heart is already closed. And when the mind is filled with complaints, then life can be a pain.

Joke for the day: After his return from church one Sunday a small boy said, “You know what, Mommy? I’m going to be a preacher when I grow up.” “That’s fine,” said his mother, “but what made you decide to be a preacher?” “Well,” said the boy thoughtfully.

“Since I have to go to Church every Sunday anyway, I think it would be more fun to stand up and yell than to sit still and listen.”

In the 1st reading, we hear of the prophet Elijah, who seemed to be complaining and even wishing he were dead. His words of complaint were these: Lord, I have had enough. Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors. Yet his complaint was not about the small stuff. His complaint was about a real mortal danger.

He was being pursued by his enemies, and they were hunting him down and bent on taking his life. So even as a prophet, he felt he can’t take it anymore, and hence those words – Lord, I have had enough. Take my life! Well, those are indeed prophetic words coming from a prophet in distress.

Because we too have our own complaints about life. Especially when all the work is arrowed and pushed to us, and no one would help us, whether it is at home or at work. Or when our problems keep mounting and no one understands us. All they ever say is: Don’t worry, be happy!

Or when one is old and sickly, and no one bothers or cares, and loneliness has drained the meaning out of life. In such situations, we will be tempted to say: Lord, I have had enough. (Take my life) But God being God, He won’t take our life just like that. Rather He will give us the bread of life.

For the prophet Elijah, God sent an angel to bring him bread and water to help him go on. The bread has a deeper meaning than just food to fill the stomach and to satisfy the hunger. It was a sign for the prophet Elijah that God will be with him in the journey ahead.

So for his complaint, God did not give a solution; rather God became his companion. Yet in our all complaints, whether it is about life or about God, let us realize that we are not asking for answers. For the questions about life, pain, and suffering and even about God, the answers won’t be of much help, even if we can get those answers.

Yet for all our questions and complaints, God comes to be with us and to be our companion on the way. And that is actually what we really need – a companion to be with us in our difficult and painful moments of life.

With that, we will understand what Jesus meant when He said: the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world. The language of the gospel is very graphic. Jesus speaks of himself as the bread that comes down from heaven and calls on us to eat this bread.

When we hear that kind of language we probably think instinctively of the Eucharist. Yet, it might be better not to jump to the Eucharist too quickly. The Lord invites us to come to him and to feed on his presence, and in particular to feed on his word.

In the Jewish Scriptures bread is often a symbol of the word of God. We may be familiar with the quotation from the Jewish Scriptures, ‘we do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

We need physical bread, but we also need the spiritual bread of God’s word. We come to Jesus to be nourished by his word. The Father draws us to his Son to be fed by his word. The food of his word will sustain us on our journey through life, just as, in the first reading, the baked scones sustained Elijah, until he reached his destination, the mountain of God.

When we keep coming to Jesus and feeding on his word, that word will shape our lives. It empowers us to live the kind of life that Saint Paul puts before us in the second reading, a life of love essentially, a life in which we love one another as Christ has loved us, forgive one another as readily as God forgives us. That, in essence, is our baptismal calling.

Indeed, the best service we can render to someone is to be a companion, to be a spiritual companion to be with that person even if it’s just being there quietly, especially when that person is in difficulty. Because no one would ever complain against a companion, especially a companion who shares in the bread of pain and suffering.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.

18th Sunday O T Year B

18th Sunday O T Year B

Ex.16: 2-4, 12-15, Eph.4: 17, 20-24, Jn.6:24-35

A few years before a miraculous event happened in a small village parish in the state of T.N in India.

During the Mass when the priest said the words ‘This is my Body…’ and raised the sacred host people saw the face of Jesus in the host. And it was there for real afterwards also.

People thronged to see the miraculous host with the face of Jesus on it. For a few days there was a flow of people to see that and later the host was taken to the Bishop’s house.

Hearing about it and reading about this news on the net I called my older brother who is in T.N. I asked him whether he went and saw that.

His answer surprised me. (It should not have happened since as a priest I should have believed like him) He told me, “Why should I go there? Every day during the mass I see Jesus in the bread and I receive Him in communion. I don’t want any more proofs to believe that.”

In today’s Gospel passage we see Jesus offering himself as bread of life, “Take me as your bread and you will never be hungry again.”

They must have been unable to understand what he meant and I wonder whether we really understand that after two thousand years.

We live as hungry people in a hungry world. Everyone is looking for something that will sustain and nourish life, something that will feed and energize, and something that will fill and satisfy.

Everyone is looking for bread. The problem is not that we are hungry, but the kind of bread we eat.

That’s what Jesus is teaching in today’s gospel. Jesus saw that the people were hungry and he fed 5000 of them with five loaves and two fish. It’s the next day and the picnic is over so to speak.

Today they show up and their first question is, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”

They do not marvel at yesterday’s miracle, give thanks for God’s generosity, or even wonder who this rabbi is.

It was as if they are worried they might have missed the next meal, that Jesus started without them and they are too late. They saw no sign, no miracle, in yesterday’s feeding.

They either refused or were unable to see beyond the fish and bread. They are interested only in their own appetites and Jesus knows it.

“Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves,” he says to them.

The people are concerned for their bellies. Jesus is concerned for their lives. The people want to feed themselves with bread. Jesus wants to feed them with God.

“Do not work for the food that perishes,” he tells them, “but for the food that endures for eternal life.”

Jesus certainly did not neglect the physical suffering and physical hunger of the people as he shared with them the meaning of God’s love. Yet the crowds were having a hard time understanding all of this.

Jesus points out that the physical food perishes; the kind of food he is talking about lasts forever.

The crowd gets interested but still does not understand how they can work for the everlasting bread. The answer Jesus gives is so simple, “This is the work of God that you believe in the one that he has sent.”

They are still not satisfied; again they want him to prove it, “Give us a sign.”

St. Paul would urge the Ephesians in the 2nd reading, not to go on living the aimless kind of life that is corrupted by illusory desires.

To see the sign that Jesus is giving is to undergo a spiritual revolution so that they can put on the new self that is created in God’s way, i.e. the goodness and holiness of truth.

And so it is with us. Just what are we working for and what are the directions and the goals of our life?

Are we happier now that we were before? Are we happy with our job, with our marriage, with our family?

Are we happier now that we are older? Or do we think that we were happier when we were younger?

Are we like the Israelites in the 1st reading who think that they would be happier to be under slavery in Egypt than to have freedom in the desert?

But that is certainly an illusory desire which thinks that happiness and contentment is found everywhere else but not in the here and now.

No point going even to the moon and the stars to search for happiness, because as long as we are not happy on earth, even if we go to heaven, we might think it is hell.

The purpose of receiving Jesus the bread of life, is to open our eyes to life, and to see where are the areas of our lives that we can grow in happiness and love.

God made all things good, and He made man the best, because man is made in the image and likeness of God.

And God uses His beautiful creation to remind us of the beauty of our lives, and how to be happy.

The following are some images of creation, symbols of happiness, so that we can see for ourselves, what we need to be, in order to be happy.

Be like the sun. Arise early, and do not go to bed late.

Be like the moon. Shine in the darkness, but submit to the greater light.

Be like the stars that decorate the dark sky and make it beautiful.

Be like the birds. Eat, sing, drink, and fly free.

Be like the flowers. Loving the sun, but faithful to the roots.

Be like the faithful dog, but faithful only to the Lord.

Be like the fruit. Beautiful on the outside, and healthy on the inside.

Be like the day, which arrives and leaves without boasting.

Be like the well, giving water to the thirsty.

Be like the firefly, although small, it casts its own light.

Be like the water, good and transparent

Be like the river, always moving towards a greater goal.

Be like the flag, so that we can be proud of our nation.

And above all things, be like the heavens: A home for God.

If any of these images caught our attention, then act on it.

Let that image be our inspiration and motivation in our journey towards happiness.

May Jesus, the bread of life, fill the hunger of our hearts and the thirst of our souls, so that we become signs that point to God.

Be Blessed and Be a Blessing. Amen.