Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Today marks 19 years to the day God was gracious to share the gift of the priesthood with me. It is both a humbling and exhilarating moment. I feel humbled by what the Lord has been able to do inspite of my unworthiness and weakness. I also feel thrilled that I have been blessed in so many ways as I share the gifts God had given me to serve his people. And here is my all-time favorite poem on the priesthood: "The Beautiful Hands of a Priest"

We need them in life's early morning,
We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek it while tasting life's woes.

When we come to this world we are sinful,

The greatest as well as the least.
And the hands that make us pure as angels
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

At the altar each day we behold them,

And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness
Their dignity stands alone.

For there in the stillness of morning

Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
There God rests between the pure fingers
Of the beautiful hands of a priest.

When we are tempted and wander

To pathways of shame and sin
'Tis the hand of a priest that absolve us.
Not once but again and again.

And when we are taking life's partner

Other hands may prepare us a feast
But the hands that will bless and unite us,
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

God bless them and keep them all holy,

For the Host which their fingers caress,
What can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him who chose them to bless

When the death dews on our lids are falling,
May our courage and strength be increased
By seeing raised o'er us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Some days ago I was reading about a very tragic case that occurred in Brazil. A young nine-year old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her step-father, was found pregnant with twins. The doctors judging that carrying the pregnancy to term would almost certainly jeopardize the life of the child-mother, performed an abortion. On hearing of this the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho was quick to point out to the automatic excommunication incurred by the doctors and the mother. His tone came across as harsh, unfeeling and legalistic. Something did not ring true about this approach but there was no gainsaying its orthodoxy. While deep within myself I felt very uncomfortable. I just could not put my finger on the reasons.

Then yesterday I read something that brought home the reason for my discomfort, and made me feel a little less alone (I was in some very esteemed company when I felt unhappy with Archbishop Sobrinho’s reaction). Here are the views on this issue of Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He took a personal approach. The girl “in the first place should have been defended, hugged and held tenderly to help her feel that we were all on her side” he wrote in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, March 15.

The perspective is clear and is the truly Christian approach. It reflects the words of Jesus: “Be ye merciful as thy Father in heaven is merciful.” Would that my entire approach to life and people is marked by this same mercy and compassion, and especially when it concerns the weak and the helpless, who feel condemned already and have no need to be consigned to some deeper abyss of denigration.

Lord make us all merciful and compassionate!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


(I received this in an e-mail today and wish to share it with all who read this blog...)

Try this 3-minute retreat as you sit before your computer today...it will certainly help you have a better day...
Happy Lent!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


(Reflections on the scripture readings of Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent)

Jer. 18,18-20
Mt 20,17-28

I was reflecting on today's Gospel where Jesus warns his disciples to expect mockery, ridicule and persecution when they proclaim the Good News. In the first reading - Jeremiah is lamenting similar happenings in his life. This brought to mind instances in the recent past when the same seems to take place with disheartening regularity. We have the persecution of persons in our own land - India - whose only crime is to work for the upliftment of their needy brothers and sisters. They are opposed by fascist forces who do not want any selfless service for the underpriviledged or the downtrodden. When the message is not palatable the easiest way out is to "shoot the messenger".

But here is a personal experience that turned out positively. I was once asked by a relative to communicate a rather unpalatable truth to his father. This was the cause of much heartburn and pain in the life of the family. Well, living 2,000 kms away this seemed a rather easy task. Needless to say it was not so. Once the truth was told in as charitable a manner as possible, the recipient went into typical "attack is the best form of defence" mode. I was at the receiving end of some choice epithets maligning my vocation and intentions. Well, that was the last I wanted to hear of this case and the good news was that I lived far from the said family. But a couple of months later I received a letter from family thanking me profusely for my intervention. In the course of time, my relative had begun to take the suggestion seriously and work on his behaviour making himself less obnoxious and more a pleasure to live with.

So when they mock and ridicule and persecute you for telling the truth just remember that always the message gets home: a bit later from our perspective but in God's perfect time.