Third Week of Lent

03-15-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Welcome to the 3rd Sunday of Lent! As I have pointed out in my reflection of last week, during the first two Sundays of Lent every year we have the same themes. The gospel text of the 1stSunday of Lent is always about the temptations of Jesus – from the three synoptic Gospels according to the three year cycle. Similarly, the 2nd Sunday of Lent invites us to reflect on the story of Transfiguration. The remaining three Sundays before the Palm Sunday in Cycle A are special. The gospel passages are taken from the Gospel of John and they develop three central themes of our experience of Jesus that are particularly important for the catechumens – those adults who are preparing to be baptised during Easter:


Second Sunday of Lent

03-08-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Welcome to 2nd Sunday of Lent! The gospel reading of Ash Wednesday, proposed a program for the spiritual journey of the season of Lent: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. These three 'strategies' are relevant not only for the season of Lent, but throughout our Christian life. The season of Lent is but an intense way of living out our Christian life. Therefore fasting, prayer and almsgiving are ways to go beyond ourselves, extend our hearts to God, and to stretch out our hands to our neighbors. These two dimensions of our Christian life journey are like going up the mountain and coming down it.


Three Tests

03-01-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, prayer and fasting which is our preparation for the Easter celebration of Jesus' resurrection. Excluding Sundays it is a season of forty days, in imitation of Jesus spending forty days in the desert. Jesus fasted in the desert, and overcame the devil's temptations. By observing the forty days of lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus' withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days and at the same time contemplates on the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is an invitation to look into our hearts and make the ancient prayer our own: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."


Be Holy

02-23-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

The scripture readings give us a goal today. 1st reading tells: "Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy". 2nd reading asks us: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" And in the gospel Jesus tells us: "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. All the readings point to one theme, "Universal call to Holiness".


Sermon on the Mount Part II

02-16-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Jesus tells in today's gospel: I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." This is the time of New Dispensation. Righteousness is not legalism. The word 'righteousness' could be translated as justice, uprightness, virtue, perfection. Matthew is constantly proposing a new and deeper meaning of righteousness. It is not mere conformity to law, but a response to the plan of God. Let us consider just a few examples in the Gospel of Matthew to illustrate the meaning of righteousness which will serve to help us even understand the whole of the Gospel(s).


“You are the salt of the earth and Light of the world.”

02-09-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Today's Readings place an emphasis on Christian faith and call every Christian to be the shining light in the world. In Matthew's Gospel everyone is called by Jesus to be salt and light for others, for the world. Our lives, what we do and the way we do things, should be a source of light and meaning for others. Our actions should be a visible sign for others of God's presence in the world. A Christian has to be outstanding before everyone through his deeds and must enlighten all.


The Presentation of the Lord

02-02-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Today we are celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the feast of Purification of our Lady in the Temple at Jerusalem. Their offering was later to find complete and perfect fulfillment in the mystery of the passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord. The liturgy of the day opens with the blessing to meet Christ and to recognize him "in the breaking of the bread" until he comes again in glory. Today is also the day of consecrated life which necessarily passes through participation in the cross of Christ. This is how it seeks out Mary Most Holy. Hers is the suffering of the heart that is one with the Heart of the Son of God, pierced by love. This feast proclaims Christ as the Light of the World.


"Repent; the Kingdom of God is near."

01-26-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

The gospel text of today from Matthew narrates to us the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus in Capernaum. It was one of the principal towns around the lake of Galilee. It was on the trade route between the southern nations (that included even Egypt) and the northern lands of Syria and even Turkey. The Romans had established a customs office at Capernaum and a garrison managed by a centurion. Traders had to give a large rate of tax for unprocessed goods like grain and olives. Therefore, it is possible that besides the fishing industry Capernaum had a lot of processing units where grains were milled into flours and olives pressed to extract oil. The number of millstones and olive presses, lying all over Capernaum today, stand as witness to this once flourishing town. It is interesting to note that it is this bubbling town that Jesus chooses as the headquarters for his three-year public ministry.


Behold the Lamb of God

01-19-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Today we begin the ordinary season of the year. Today's readings tell us about the identity of Jesus, who he is and what his mission is. We need to know who Jesus is and understand his mission if we want to be his true disciples. A disciple is one who knows and understands the master and follows him closely. Every good disciple is also an apostle who proclaims the good news of the master. In the Gospel of today we have John the Baptist fulfilling his role as a witness and proclaiming to people that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.


Baptism of the Lord: Called to be Active Participants

01-09-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

As a priest while administering the sacrament of baptism to groups of infants back in India and in USA, I have often noted with much curiosity the variety of infant-reaction to the ceremony of the baptism itself. There are basically three types of behavior as infants react to, the priest, the water, the oil, the white cloth, the light, and the crowd itself that is around during the celebration of the sacrament of baptism:


Epiphany: God is made visible!

01-05-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Today’s feast, my dear friends, commemorates thepublic manifestation of God in the person of Jesus. Thestory in today’s Gospel passage tells us of three wise menfrom the East who undertook a tedious journey to beholdthis God-made-visible. This journey is the journey of everyhuman person. It is our journey. The journey towards thefulfilment of our heart’s desire. It is the fulfilment of what StAugustine encapsulated so beautifully, “You have made usfor yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you?” It is the story of the human heart as it longs for the Eternal beloved, as St John of the Cross sings, “Wherehave you hidden, Beloved, and left me moaning? You fledlike the stag after wounding me; I went out calling you, butyou were gone.”