Monday, 30 April 2012


A close friend and brother in Christ was chatting with me on the topic of ‘loans’ and the ‘repayment’ of the same. We both agreed that as Christians, we have helped many by loaning ‘interest free’ money to help others in their hour of need but sadly the very same persons have avoided further contact in the fear that they will be reminded of the loan. Upon close observation, the very same persons appear to be doing quite well but are not willing to come forward on their own and repay. There’s a case wherein my friend has even taken money from his credit card to help a friend in need and is paying huge interest on the same. The borrower has been contacted several times after he has not delivered on his promise and my friend continues to pay interest. Will he ever get his money back? Meanwhile, he himself is going through a financial problem! This is not a case wherein the loan can just be written off!

Another friend stood guarantee for his ‘friend’ who disappeared soon after getting the loan. The bank has now forced the guarantor to pay the installments until the whole loan is paid up. The case is in court and that is an added headache too! Again, this is not a case wherein the loan can just be written off!

Jesus linked forgiveness of money debts and spiritual debts (Luke 7:36-50, 11:2-4, 16:1-13), and made forgiveness of our debts contingent on our forgiveness of the debts of others (Matthew 6:9-15, 18:21-35). Early Christians applied the call to practice debt cancellation literally and spiritually. The parable of the Unrighteous Steward (Luke 16:1-13) speaks of a man who apparently cheats his master by writing

There are far too many people in this world who are living irresponsibly BEYOND THEIR MEANS! When these fall into trouble, they come asking for help and expect their Christian brothers and sisters to help. Some will borrow and not pay back. Others will borrow from Peter to pay Paul!

I believe the debt cancellation that Jesus talks about is regarding cases where one gives freely/writes off loans, to help the ‘genuine needy’. The early Christians lived differently. In the book of Acts, disciples sell property and fields, share wealth, break bread together, rest and study and restore community (Acts 2:43-46, 4:32-37). The theme gets extra emphasis in Acts 4:34’s close paraphrase of Deuteronomy 15:4:
"There was not a needy person among them..." And Barnabas, a Levite, sells a field and gives the
proceeds to the whole community, modelling ‘restoration’ of a blessed community.

Since the modern society doesn’t live like the early Christians, I wonder if DEBT CANCELLATION really applies! So if a Christian brother or sister approaches you for a loan, i would think the following would apply (?) .

·         If the family is in genuine trouble due to no fault of their own, GIVE FREELY as much as you can give and do not expect anything back.
·          If a person is asking for help because the children are suffering due to their parents’ irresponsible acts, help the children in their education and bare necessities of the family BUT DO NOT LOAN MONEY TO THEM!
·         If someone is sick and the treatment is not covered by insurance, help as much as you can without expecting anything back!
·         If you’re loaning money with interest (b'coz the other is re-investing the money), you understand the risk and so it falls in a different category ( since the person is also benefitting through the loan!).


Saturday, 28 April 2012


I offered mass yesterday to my 46 years of existence on this earth! I view every one of those years as a free gift from God to experience the 'Spirit Life' lived from within a 'vehicle' called the body (remember? Man is a SPIRIT who has a SOUL which lives in a vehicle called the BODY). Actually, i almost did not make it into this world when i was born a 'blue baby'!

As i recollected this great sermon on SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY, by Bro. Johnson Sequeira (Given three and a half years ago!), i realised how great is the 'will of God' for us through our lives. If i am alive today, it is because God's WILL must be achieved through me before my soul ultimately unites with the 'divine spirit' we call, GOD THE FATHER!

The teaching really unlocked several closed doors for me in my mind and i began to find answers to many of life's daunting questions. Andrew Wommack, a celebrated preacher of our time says the following ( Extracts from Andrew's teachings given below):

"Understanding spirit, soul, and body is critically important to every believer. It’s like the key that opens the treasure chest of God’s grace. It could be a matter of life and death, and it’s the foundation to understanding the rest of Scripture".

First Thessalonians 5:23 makes it very clear that we are three-part beings:
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

  • It’s easy to know how your body feels, what’s going on in your mind, and what emotions you are experiencing. However, your spirit is much different; it cannot be accessed through your five senses.
John 3:6 says,
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Jesus meant that there’s no direct connection between the two. Spirit is spirit and flesh is flesh. You simply cannot contact your spirit through your five senses or through your mind, will, or emotions. This is the key that unlocked my brain.

  • The Bible says that every born-again believer has undergone a complete inner transformation.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17-18).

  • In the natural, the spirit realm can’t be seen or felt. The only way to accurately perceive spiritual truth is through the Bible. Simply believe God’s Word!
Jesus said in John 6:63,
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

  • God’s World reveals spiritual reality. If you want to know what your spirit is like, you must find out from the Word, not by relying on emotions or other perceptions. God’s Word is spirit and life! When you look at your face in a mirror, you trust what you see. God’s Word is just like that mirror; it reflects perfectly who you are in your spirit.
The good news is, you can change your soul as you change your mind. In fact, you are commanded to do so.
Romans 12:2 says,
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Thursday, 26 April 2012


This morning on my way to work (I was taking a lift with my brother Felix since I’m still having a problem with my car!); a fly got in and began to bother us! Felix and I were flailing our arms and smacking the air in a bid to kill the fly but to no avail. We even put all the windows down but still the fly refused to go out of the car! Eventually, I did manage to catch it and crush it in my palm!
How did I do it? Well … I remembered how uncle Joaquim would excel in catching flies at breakfast table in Goa. He had a simple technique. All he did was to grab them AGAINST their ‘path of flight’. If one tries to do it from behind them, they will always get away as they can take off pretty fast … but always forwards! They cannot take off backwards. This knowledge really helped sort our fly problem today J
So knowledge applied gave a good result!
This example of the fly can be used to illustrate many lessons, but for now I’d like to write about just one. Satan has been defeated by Christ and has no means of getting to us except through interfering with our thought processes. Just like the fly in our car, he can enter our minds and create a great disturbance by causing doubt and confusion. Some of us fall prey to his vile ‘suggestions’ and fall into sin or even enter depression. Some try to expel him for good but struggle in the process because they do not know the ‘technique’ to do so!
Actually the Bible has a simple instruction of how to get rid of this ‘pest’ … “ Resist the devil and HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU “ – James 4:7
We resist the devil when we listen to God, agree with him, submit to his wisdom, purify our hearts, mourn and weep etc. It might be that we will need to resist the devil as Jesus did, but the process and the battle is just the same. It's all about who I will ignore and who I will hear. I will ignore the devil and his "wisdom" and I will pay attention to God and learn his wisdom. When Jesus did battle with the devil, the battlefield was the arena of ideas, fought with scripture. Would Jesus pay attention to the devil or would he pay attention to God? What is really true and where are my loyalties? These are the same issues we face every day, whether we are facing a devil or our own double minded motivations.
Some of you may question 1 Peter 7:8 about the Devil being a ‘roaring lion’ … well, he may roar all he wants but as long as we Christians know that he has been defeated and that he has no influence on our lives as long as we resist him, we will do fine. If you’ve still not understood this point, take the example of a bully who is mightily feared but now is a quadriplegic. He can threaten as much as he wants but he can do nothing to you since YOU KNOW that he is restricted in movement!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


I’ve been extremely occupied at work and worse still at home. We had a major deadline to achieve by the 18th of April 2012 and lots of planning to do for Leroy’s Confirmation day on the 21st. During this time every petition of mine was answered by my ever faithful Jesus. All I needed to do was to look up at the cross and remind myself that He was always there with me.
 There were tense moments when Leroy ran a high fever on the eve of his Confirmation day. His catechist called to ask whether he would be able to make it to church the next day. All I said to him was, “By faith I can see him make it to the church tomorrow’ – and he did! Even the family get-together was an amazing one! There was that sudden call to say a few words to the gathering and I was left totally unprepared, but the Holy Spirit helped me with the speech. I addressed it to my son Leroy. I thought I’d share those thoughts with you here.
I shared on the POWER OF WORDS. As Genesis is the book of NEW BEGINNINGS, I read the following:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
When you analyse the above, there existed a bad situation and GOD SPOKE TO THE SITUATION and what he spoke manifested into LIGHT!
In order to have a successful life style we must simply speak it into existence. Our words are creative in nature because we were created in God's own image. The Bible states in Genesis 1:27 "And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Here are some thoughts on the power of words:
Our words are powerful.
Our words can either bring us closer to our goals of financial prosperity or push is farther away from them.
Our words can sabotage our productivity.
Our words determine what grows within us.
Our words should be spoken at the appropriate place and time.
Our words can deliver us from any dilemma.
Our words decide our seasons.
Our words decide our energy and enthusiasm.
Our words create a path into our future or a bridge to our past.
Our words can hinder our success.
Our words can open doors.
Where you are in life today is a result of words that you spoke three to five years ago.
Motivating words have a kind of power within them, after reading a set of good thoughts and affirmative words, our self confidence increases, we feel more focused and directed towards our goals. Motivating and inspirational words are the reservoir of energy and strength.
Stop talking about the mistakes you have made. Stop confessing your fears.
Thousands of people continuously speak negatively about their situation and financial state. They fail to realize that their own words have been holding them captive. They fail to realize that because of their own words they will never taste their financial harvest.
Your mouth is three things: your deliverer, your weapon and your motivator. We must use our words wisely.

Proverbs 18:21 states "Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


We were at the St. Mary's Church this evening, attending the 'Spirit Day'. Leroy is receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation on the 21st of April 2012 and we were required to attend the function along with God-parents (Any one of them could do!). Parents had to write a letter to their child receiving the confirmation, encouraging him/her on this great 'spiritual milestone' in their life.
In order to write a good letter to Leroy, i needed to remind myself about what the sacrament was all about and so i had taken some notes on it which i've thought of sharing with you ...
Confirmation is the Perfection of Baptism:
Although, in the West, Confirmation is usually received as a teenager, several years after making First Communion, the Catholic Church considers it the second of the three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism being the first and Communion the third). Confirmation is regarded as the perfection of Baptism, because, as the introduction to the Rite of Confirmation states:
by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.
The Form of the Sacrament of Confirmation:
Many people think of the laying on of hands, which signifies the descent of the Holy Spirit, as the central act in the Sacrament of Confirmation. The essential element, however, is the anointing of the confirmand (the person being confirmed) with chrism (an aromatic oil that has been consecrated by a bishop), accompanied by the words "Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit" (or, in the Eastern Catholic Churches, "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit"). This seal is a consecration, representing the safeguarding by the Holy Spirit of the graces conferred on the Christian at Baptism.
The Minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation:
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, "The original minister of Confirmation is the bishop." Each bishop is a successor to the apostles, upon whom the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost—the first Confirmation. The Acts of the Apostles mentions the apostles imparting the Holy Spirit to believers by the laying on of hands (see, for example, Acts 8:15-17 and 19:6).
The Church has always stressed this connection of confirmation, through the bishop, to the ministry of the apostles, but She has developed two different ways of doing so.
Confirmation in the East:
In the Eastern Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) Churches, the three sacraments of initiation are administered at the same time to infants. Children are baptized, confirmed (or "chrismated"), and receive Communion (in the form of the Sacred Blood, the consecrated wine), all in the same ceremony, and always in that order.
Since the timely reception of Baptism is very important, and it would be very hard for a bishop to administer every baptism, the bishop's presence, in the Eastern Churches, is signified by the use of chrism consecrated by the bishop. The priest, however, performs the confirmation.
Confirmation in the West:
The Church in the West came up with a different solution—the separation in time of the Sacrament of Confirmation from the Sacrament of Baptism. This allowed infants to be baptized soon after birth, while the bishop could confirm many Christians at the same time, even years after baptism. Eventually, the current custom of performing Confirmation several years after First Communion developed, but the Church continues to the stress the original order of the sacraments, and Pope Benedict XVI, in his apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, has suggested that the original order should be restored.
Eligibility for Confirmation:
Even in the West, priests can be authorized by their bishops to perform confirmations, and adult converts are routinely baptized and confirmed by priests. All those who have been baptized are eligible to be confirmed, and, while the Western Church suggests receiving the sacrament after reaching the "age of reason" (around seven years old), it can be received at any time. (A child in danger of death should receive Confirmation.)
A confirmand must be in a state of grace. If the sacrament is not received immediately after Baptism, the confirmand should participate in the Sacrament of Confession before Confirmation.
The Effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation:
The Sacrament of Confirmation confers special graces of the Holy Spirit upon the person being confirmed, just as such graces were granted to the Apostles on Pentecost. Like Baptism, therefore, it can only be performed once, and Confirmation increases and deepens all of the graces granted at Baptism.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists five effects of Confirmation:
· it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation [as sons of God] which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";

· it unites us more firmly to Christ;

· it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;

· it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;

· it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross.
Because Confirmation perfects our baptism, we are obliged to receive it "in due time." Any Catholic who did not receive Confirmation at baptism or as part of his religious education during grade school or high school should contact a priest and arrange to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation

Sunday, 15 April 2012


I was pleasantly surprised that Leander (My older son) had chosen a topic like 'The Shroud Of Turin' to be his topic for an assignment at school. When he mentioned it to me casually, my curiosity peaked and wanted to find out what he had researched on the subject. I found out that he had done a pretty thorough research on the shroud via the Internet. I was particularly interested in the latest findings based on newer techniques and scientific approaches applied to the study of the shroud. Hearing Leander speak so convincingly on the authenticity of the shroud made me want to launch my own study on the net and i ended up spending a better half of the evening until the wee hours of the morning (until 2.30 am!). I'm still not done studying on the matter and i will be delving deeper into Gospel accounts of the resurrection story along with the study of Jewish burial customs of Jesus' day! It is an exciting topic and there's enough to read and research on the net for those of you who want to do so.
Pope Benedict xvi has not publicly commented on the Shroud's authenticity, but has taken steps that indirectly affect the Shroud. In June 2008 he approved the public display of the Shroud in the spring of 2010 and stated that he would like to go to Turin to see it along with other pilgrims. During his visit in Turin on Sunday May 2, 2010, Benedict XVI described the Shroud of Turin as an "extraordinary Icon", the "Icon of Holy Saturday corresponding in every way to what the Gospels tell us of Jesus", "an Icon written in blood, the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced". The pope said also that in the Turin Shroud "we see, as in a mirror, our suffering in the suffering of Christ". (Extract from Wikipedia)

Many consider the Shroud of Turin to be the Fifth Gospel, as it is a visual record of the instant the Lord's Light caused His body to change "in the twinkling of an eye" into His spiritual body. "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46). Is it any wonder that He also departed this light? And is it also any wonder that modern day scientists, with all their technology, cannot explain how the image was created on the Shroud...except for possible radiation light?

Well ... as for me, i've chosen to believe in Christ's ressurection and therefore HE LIVES ... and HE STILL HEALS!

Rom 10:9 - That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved

Saturday, 14 April 2012


I've always been singing in choirs probably from the age of ten! Even to this day i sing and sometimes play flute and sax in our choirs in Dubai. Choir members are the most distracted people as they are always thinking of the next song they will sing, the key, the tune, the soft whispers regarding how many verses to sing, which mass parts etc. One goes to church but forgets what sermon was preached or what reading was read!
Choirs are also a great place to meet future partners (I met my wife in our Dubai choir! Her sister and brother too met their mates in the same choir!). When one is part of a church choir, there are those weekly practices, weddings, funerals, anniversaries, picnics and pound parties, giving ample opportunities to get to know each other.
Why do i write about choirs today? Well, an old picture posted by an old friend in FB of a carol-singing choir triggered the memories of all the friends I'd made in those good old days in Goa and today at mass, i was playing flute in our choir and between songs, fondly remembering each of those friends (some of them are still in touch with me over Facebook). When i came back home from church, i thought I'd research a bit on 'choirs' and write an article on the blog for my readers.
Choirs have a long history of leading worship. Many references to a choir of men and boys singing and playing instruments can be found in the Old Testament. Worship in the early Christian church drew on these models that had become a part of synagogue worship. During the Middle Ages, choirs continued to play an important role in the liturgical practice of the Christian church, particularly with the advent of polyphonic (multi-layered, more complex) music.

 As such, the choir becomes an important leader in worship, guiding the gathered assembly in prayer and praise through song. Choir leaders will want to help the whole congregation to develop a clear understanding of the choir's role in the liturgy and its importance for the worship life of those assembled. In order to fulfil this calling, all choirs, no matter how large or small, no matter how limited or great their skill, will strive for excellence in all that they do.
Each of us, whether a worshipper in the pew or a choir member, will want to offer to God the best we can as our sacrifice of praise to God (Heb. 13:15). We should not be afraid of excellence. Rather, we should rejoice in it. How many of us, however, have been at a worship service where there was little care for detail, where the musical portions of the liturgy were ill-prepared and poorly executed? Instead of being absorbed in worship and sensing the importance of worship, our attention shifted to the difficulties of those trying to lead. Without exception, choirs want to be well prepared and to sing well. It is equally important that choristers understand that they are singing for worship, not for entertainment.
Our choirs can provide indispensable leadership for worship if we encourage them and adequately equip them for the task. Choirs that are enthusiastic, understand their role, and approach their task with a sense of reverence will, in turn, lead others to a profound conviction that through the music of the liturgy, we encounter the Holy God.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Bro. Johnson is in town again! Today was the second day of his talks here in Dubai. It is also my 'recharge time' for all things spiritual!

It is amazing how Bro. J can repeat teachings and yet they sound new every time. There's always fresh revelation in every repeated teaching! He has preached on JOY many times before but the sharing of a small personal secret of his brought tears to my eyes! He stated that ever since he started on this adventure with the Word Of God some twelve years back, he has always lived by the following scripture:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up - Gal 6:9

Time and time again, he drills into the gathering that only by becoming 'doers of the Word', can we stand up to every storm in our lives.

St. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians says:

Whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you - Phil 1:8-9

NO WORD, NO FAITH. NO WORD, NO JOY! Only when our soul prospers on God's Word, can we acquire good health and prosperity ... A 'NOTHING BROKEN, NOTHING MISSING' LIFE (refer 3 Jn 2).


Last week, i was in Germany attending an Architectural Conference. I was staying in a hotel in Dusseldorf and visited Cologne one of the days. The towering Cathedral of Cologne is simply awsome. No building is allowed to compete with the Cathedral and so it dominates the entire skyline of the city. The trip was very fruitful as regards the architectural exposure i had over there but my heart was saddened by the low attendance of churches which were humongous but only a few very old folk occupied the pews!

In Europe, some church  buildings are demolished, while others find new life as mosques, stores and even recreation centres!

I've read that some 4,400 church buildings remain in the Netherlands. But each week, around two close their doors forever. This mainly affects the Catholics, who they say will be forced to offload half of their churches in the coming years. One day it is a church building and on another, the church becomes real estate and the altar where believers had been blessed, married and mourned becomes a hunk of cement!
Some churches are converted into community centres whilst others are demolished to make space for apartment blocks apartments in its place.
For years the number of faithful has been declining. The trend has swept across all of Western Europe, with churches forced to close in France and Belgium too. But in the Netherlands, Christianity's retreat from society has been particularly drastic.

The trend has led to the mergers of churches from several communities. But none of these amalgamations need more than one church, one organ, and one altar crucifix. All the other chalices, crosses and pews need to be disposed of.

There is an instance when even a supermarket has moved into a defunct church. A bookstore has opened in a former Dominican church in Maastricht, while in Utrecht and Amsterdam churches have been turned into mosques! When a church has little purpose, emotional value or historical significance selling for conversion is seen to be the best solution!

St. Joseph's church in Arnhem opened a skate park, with ramps and obstacles in the nave, charging €3.50 to spend a day skating between holy figures!


Sunday, 8 April 2012


"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26.)

 Yes, life is eternal. We live on after this life!

There is no death - no permanent parting. The resurrection is a reality. Death is not the end. The resurrection brings joy to sorrow, and hope to fear!

Through his resurrection the Lord, Jesus Christ, overcame the bonds of death. To the women at the tomb the angels said, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen" (Luke 24:5,6.)

Believe in the above AND THEN CELEBRATE!