Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Thank you for this day……..

Thank you for stillness……………

Thank you for blessing and grace………

Thank you for those who walk with me in faith and prayer…

Thank you for all that has been and for the assurance of your provident care…

Thank you for this moment and all other moments that you will bring me to………..

Thank you for just being here and now, for me, my God.

Set your heart on what pertains to higher realms.

Be intent on things above rather than things of earth.

Be faithful to your higher calling.

(Colossians 3:1-3)

Be still. Dwell on these thoughts for a few moments.

St. Paul reminded the Colossians that they had a noble vocation, that they were “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved” and that they were clothed with the garment of salvation (Colossians 3:12-21). Therefore they must live a life worthy of this noble calling by living lives of honor, virtue and grace. They must live lives that are holy with “heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness and love”. This is our calling today!

Be men and women of noble character. Wear garments of nobility!

This also means, Paul says, that we must put to death whatever in our nature is rooted in earth. We must avoid sinful ways and embrace ways of virtue and honor and nobility. We must set side anger, jealousy, greed, foul language and all that degrades and lowers our dignity and that of others and clothe ourselves in garments of “heartfelt mercy, kindness, meekness, patience, forgiveness and put on love which binds all virtues together and makes them perfect. We must let Christ’s peace reign in our hearts (Colossians 3:5-17).

Put your best foot forward!

Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience…bear with one another, forgive one another….. look out for each other’s needs.

Keep your heart in a good place…a place of peace, joy and all-embracing love!

Jesus said to his listeners and says to us today, “A man may be wealthy, but his possessions do not guarantee life…..Grow rich in the sight of God” (Luke 12:13-21).

Jesus told the story of the “rich fool” who pulled down his barn to build a bigger one to gather in his rich harvest. The man never saw beyond himself. Neither did he see beyond this world. He lost himself even in this world!

This reminds us of the story of the rich young man who wanted to know from Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him follow the commandments that he knew. The young man seemed to want to do more. Jesus invited him do “one more thing”, to sell all he had and give it to the poor and choose to follow him, if he really wanted to. The young man could not make that choice. He went away sad because he had many possessions and he was not ready to part with them. Like the “rich fool” in the excerpt referenced above, he failed to see beyond himself…neither did he see beyond this world.

Possessions do not guarantee life! In fact, possessions could take away the joy of life! We have choices to make: grow rich before God or the world! Being rich before the world does not guarantee life!

We are challenged and inspired to prayerfully reflect on our own attitude toward the passing pleasures and possessions of this world and make choices in favor of the lasting, enduring wealth that bring us into the eternal.

Mathew’s Gospel tells us about the character of Joseph (Read Mathew 2:13-23). Joseph was a man of honor, noble, courageous and tenacious and he is a model for all who want to live a life according to their higher calling, intent on things above rather than things of earth as St. Paul advises (Colossians 3:1-3).

Joseph was willing to risk trusting his dreams as coming from God. He was willing to invest all he had to keep the baby and the mother safe from all dangers. He was willing to move from place to place until he could settle into a situation where the mother and the child would be safe. It is in the safety of an ordinary home, in a safe and loving environment that children have opportunities to grow up to be mature, free, joyful, faith-filled, virtuous men and women. This is what Joseph provided for Mary and Jesus. He was faithful to higher calling.

Be Safe. And be a safe person to be with. May your home be safe. Make your home a safe place, a sanctuary for yourself, for your spouse, for your children, for your parents, for your neighbors. Be safe! And look out for each other’s safety!

Be grateful…. grateful for your family, however imperfect or broken it may be, be grateful. Be grateful for your spouse, for your children, for your parents…..just be grateful!

During the second century before Christ, family structures and values began to break down among the Jews as a result of the influence of Greek culture and philosophy. Jesus Ben Sira, the wise man advised his people to maintain unity in families. He saw that breakdown in family life was going to cause breakdown in society as well. He invited his readers to see mutual love and care among family members as the highest standard and offered practical guidelines on how to live out the commandment to honor one’s father and mother and all others.

Our situation today is not much different from the time of Ben Sira. It is urgent that we renew our commitment to live higher values, to live life of honor and to set our hearts on God’s ways. It is urgent to honor our higher calling and be faithful!

Honor yourself and one another. Honor your spouse, your children, your parents, your commitments, your church, your country, your God. Be honorable men and women. Be noble in your ways.

We have seen the lack of honor, integrity, virtue and respect from our world leaders and our spiritual leaders. We see it in the coarseness of our culture, the stuff on TV, the speech in civil & cultural circles, the ugly & gross lyrics of music, the dress codes of boys and girls and the lack of virtue in relationship between men and women, even in Christian families. There seems to be a lack of private virtue in our people and without private virtue how could there be public virtue?!

John Adams wrote (April 16, 1776), “Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honor, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.”

Regardless of how our leaders act or what direction the world is going, we must choose honor, integrity, respect and all other virtues to keep us, our families and our world safe and healthy and alive and well. Virtue means strength and life. Absence of virtue means weakness and eventual death. A life time of vices and sin, saying “no” to God and God’s ways can be changed into a life of “yes”, a life of virtue and honor and integrity. Let us choose Virtue, honor and integrity!

Virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea. Virtues are the internal qualities that allow us to be our best selves and enable us to lead complete and fulfilling lives. They are God’s gifts to us. It is up to us to nurture them by daily practice.

Paul instructed the Ephesians: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God – Awake, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light – Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity – Defer to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:1-21)

Set your heart on what pertains to higher realms.

Be intent on things above rather than things of earth.

Be faithful to your higher calling.

(Colossians 3:1-3)

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs



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