..AW FACES !!!



“This is a challenge created to find beauty in almost everything. The challenge is simple : find beauty in everyday mundane things, capture the beauty and upload the photographs. And give me a pingback.

Anyone who comes across this post can take part in this challenge. And you are free to challenge or invite other bloggers who might be interested in  finding beauty in those everyday things all around us.”

I decided to participate because my pictures are mundane in any case so I need not be worried about them (Photrablogger is a real pro !!!)  and also it is a great start to the week to find beauty in the things around us.

So I am sharing something I took it a week ago and thought people will think I am crazy to be taking PAWS !!  but this challenge enables me to share it. I think the faces on my doggy’s paws are REALLY CUTE !! :)   This is the close up …

112 ..AW FACES !And this is the full shot ..with his little nose too.

112 smokeys paws (2)

Maundy Thursday – The Night of Love

Dame Julian of Norwich, who dedicated her life to contemplating the Passion of Christ, asked God why he had created the world. The answer came to her in an ecstatic whisper:

You want to know your Lord’s meaning in what I have done?  Know it well.  Love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you?  Love!  What did he reveal to you?   Love.    Why does he reveal it to you?  For Love

Uncannily, as I was reflecting on the Last Supper of our Lord, I heard a station playing “Can you feel the love tonight” (From the Lion King.)   Listening to the words, I thought of the love that must have been present that Maundy Thursday – Jesus final night on earth; the night when he gave his apostles the commandment to love and instituted the sacrament of Love.

The chorus of the song echoes in the background – Can you feel the love tonight? How its laid to rest.  It seems so appropriate.

Jesus knows in a few hours his life and mission will end. He loves his friends so dearly but the hour has come to return to His Father. It is time to say goodbye.

It is the most momentous farewell in the history of man. God became man and dwelt among us.  And now he is leaving us.

The success of Jesus’ entire mission could hinge on what memories, message and instructions he leaves behind for his followers.

What can he say?  Continue reading


Journalist and Editor of the Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge was shot in the head by cold blooded killers … whilst on his way to work on 8th January 2009

In an uncanny editorial published posthumously a few days later like a voice from the grave, Lasantha predicted his murder and laid the blame for it squarely on the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa – our incumbent president.     http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090111/editorial-.htm

It seems a strange twist of fate, that the same government will be holding a Presidential election on the anniversary of  the murder most foul: 8th January which the sooth sayers have apparently fixed as the most auspicious date.   Dejavue ?

This article which I wrote and was published in the Sunday Times in 2009  is being posted here as a reminder to us to follow the call of conscience for the truth will set us free.




My soul is searching … pouring over innumerable articles that have been penned in papers and on the net … hoping to find a word that might still the restlessness I feel following the vicious and vengeful slaying of a fearless journalist.

Why do I feel this way?  I did not know Lasantha personally though I occasionally read his articles and knew about his courageous investigations.

Of the many thousands of words spoken and written since his murder, some strike home – sear home – seeking an acknowledgement.  Echoes taken up by D Mark and others – where was IWhere was I when Lasantha needed another voice to support him?   Where was I “when they came for him”?   Where have I been all this time …like Nero carrying on blithely whilst my country descended into darkness?  

And where am I now?   Am I not my brother’s keeper?  Then why do I continue to hide instead of running out, totally exposed to the powers of earth, shouting out the truth with trust in the God of Truth.  The truth will set you free.  The truth will set us free.  Yet we cower and murmur: should I, should I not?   Why not? 

Is there time to turn the tide? Can we build the wave that someone spoke of?  All it takes is a few steps; a few steps that would bring people together and soon we will have a wall – a wave of humanity walking together.

I took one step.  I attended the Church Service to pay my respects to a man who gave his life in the fight for freedom of expression.  One of the priests called him a prophet.  Those words struck a chord in my questing soul.  A prophet?  Yes of course.  A voice crying in the wilderness; I can add …. make straight the twisted corridors of power.  Stop the racial prejudice parading under the guise of victory.

Inspired, I took a second step.  I joined the funeral walk to to the cemetry, Kanatte – with a lot more respect and the beginnings of defiance.  Let them know.  Let me be counted.

A third step.  I held a banner that someone gave me that proclaimed my right to have a different opinion without being labelled a traitor. 

Metaphorically, and physically, the funeral walk felt like angioplasty opening up a clogged artery.  What seemed to start as a small procession soon ballooned into a sea of persons that filled the roadway from Kirimandala roundabout to Kanatte.  Metaphorically too, like angioplasty brings hope, the growing throngs seemed to reflect hope, an unspoken mood that where there is life there is still hope; marching together, united we could still end tyranny.  Yes we can?!

www.sampsoniaway.org   lasantha_face0-e1317749227206   3184267389_0385ccc167_o (1)

Spoken and written words pierced the conscience  … Let’s not feel that reading ‘The Leader’ alone absolves us … Lets rise to bring light to the darkness  … lets continue the legacy.    Lets not forget … let his death not be in vain … let freedom ring ..Let the ‘dash’ of our lives matter … It’s not the voice of our enemies but the silence of our friends … All it takes for evil to thrive is for good people to do nothing … 

It made me wonder.  Do we really want peace without freedom?  I don’t.  I might as well die (as Lasantha did).  Is that foolhardy or courageous?

I find the answer in Hebrews 2:14:18 – incredibly, the Bible reflection for today: “….…those who fear death remain in bondage all their lifetime.”  

These  words  were echoed in the hymn sheet at Lasantha’s funeral.

 Set my spirit free that I might worship thee

Set my spirit free that I might praise thy name

Let all bondage go and let deliverance flow.

Set my spirit free to worship thee.

Lasantha was a Christian who kept his eternal goal always in mind.  “… for what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul.”

He felt that there was “…  a calling that is above high office, fame, lucre and security.  It was the call of his conscience” that he followed to the end.  

No wonder he was fearless – and FREE!!!

Photo Credits :


http://www.lankastandard.com/2011/10/lasanthas-last-words/lasantha_face0/   last video condemning lack of media freedom


Trust in God sailor and row for the shore …?

I ponder the situation the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka finds herself in as she celebrates Christmas, and prepares for two significant events in January next year – one secular, one spiritual.

A Presidential election just five days before a papal visit. That in itself is unusual for the Vatican steers clear of partisan politics and does not usually schedule visits within two months of an election.

So when, how and WHY did these diametrically opposed events collide?

Instead of spending the weeks leading to the canonisation of the Apostle of Sri Lanka in prayerful spiritual preparation, both Church and State are guilty of distracting Catholics from this holy event, and placing our beloved Pope in the tenuous and unsolicited position of being in the epicentre of an ugly and volatile political situation.

I am not privy to communications between Church, State and Vatican, but the visit of the Pope was officially confirmed in October.  It was very much later – when preparations were substantially underway – that the Presidential elections were announced.

We know when rumours surfaced of pending elections, the Church voiced her concerns but despite her pleas, a date was set just four days apart from the papal visit when the President had promised a much bigger window.

Broken promises to the Catholics of the country.  Nothing new in that. In politics, promises are empty before they are spoken.

It then seemed a foregone conclusion that the visit would be postponed. However the Cardinal announced it would go ahead with “Trust in God”.  Some priests advocated postponement to 2016 but they were like the Baptist, lone voices crying out in the wilderness amidst the silence of many.  Why did we not speak out and protest the broken promises? Perhaps we would have if the Bishops Conference had led the way but they passively asked us to trust God.

My question is not so much about trust (a sin qua non for people of faith), but about actions that are judicious and prudent, based on trust and faith.  Do we trust in God and remain in the eye of the storm? Or, do we follow the wisdom of the adage, trust in God (sailor) and row for the shore, away from the impending storm?   Do we trust that nothing is impossible with God and another opportunity for a  papal visit will present itself?  We would then be able to truly prepare spiritually for this holy visit instead of being caught up in these secular issues?

The question may be moot.  It may be too late to head for safe waters.  We may have no option but to ride out the storm.  Or we may just have a wee bit of time before the storm hits. Hence this letter.

Reverend Cardinal and the Bishops Conference – look up, look out, look about.  Take your bearings.  It is certain that what was calculated as a passing shower is turning into a storm.  The elections were expected to be a slight blip.  The incumbent President would be re-elected. Life would go on.  He would welcome our Pope and we would prayerfully celebrate the canonisation of the Apostle of Sri Lanka.

But things have changed.  A serious contender with promise and potential for the powerful position has come forward.  Election violence is erupting.  The outcome of a free and fair election is by no means a foregone conclusion.  Skeletons are coming out of the closet. Pandora’s Box has been opened.

Things are turning ugly with accusations being hurled at the defender of the post who will use fair means or foul to retain power – including exploiting the much awaited papal visit.  The Cardinal has had to request that campaign posters exploiting the visit be taken down.  Whether or not this is heeded is also a moot point.

The Church, instead of being able to prepare spiritually for this momentous event,  is now fully caught in the midst of this political turmoil.  The Pope is being placed in the untenable position of endorsing the outcome of ‘dubious’ elections as he will be the first Head of State to visit.  ‘Dubious’ for how can valid elections be held when a sizeable populace displaced by floods is struggling for survival and may not be able to cast their vote?

Instead of preparing wholeheartedly in mind and spirit for the visit of our Pope, Catholics, as part of the nation find ourselves caught up and distracted with manifestos and election ‘fever’.

Our population has never been magnanimous in victory or humble in defeat. Post-election violence is inevitable irrespective of the outcome.  His Holiness will arrive in a nation caught up in the post-election emotions of victors and losers. Punitive measures, retribution, has followed every election and this can be expected in a far more dramatic way than previously,  especially if an unprecedented third term is obtained by the incumbent.  If the challenger wins, retribution is likely to be slower.

Either way, there will be cries of foul, and calls for recounts.  Either way, it is very unlikely the dust or mood of elections will settle in four days.

So … ‘Trust in God’ and stay ‘put’ … Or  ‘Trust in God sailor and row to safe waters ‘ before the storm hits and politics and religion are caught up in one ugly twister.  For aborting the visit any time after Election Day will appear as a politically partisan decision either way.

Letting God work on us

Prayer has far more to do with what God wants to do in us than with our trying to “reach” or “realize,” still less “entertain,” God in prayer.

This truth eliminates anxiety and concern as to the success or non-success of our prayer, for we can be quite certain that, if we want to pray and give the time to prayer, God is always successful and that is what matters.

What we think of as our search for God is, in reality, a response to the divine Lover drawing us to himself.  There is never a moment when divine Love is not at work.

This work is nothing other than a giving of the divine Self in love.

The logical consequence for us must surely be that our part is to

let ourselves be loved,
—let ourselves be given to,
let ourselves be worked upon by this great God
and made capable of total union with Him. “

This reflection extracted from Ruth Burrows Essence of Prayer  so closely resembles my Advent wish ‘Receive His Love’  from a different perspective that I thought I would share it as my Christmas post.

My wish for my Christian brothers and people of all faiths is that we will let God – whoever you conceive Him to be – to work on us this Christmas so there is peace on earth,  good will and love amongst men.

See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/an-ignatian-prayer-adventure/week-1/#sthash.4vWR0i0k.dpuf

When life gets in the way …

Dawn breaks gently on another Advent morn.

A barrage of thoughts crash their way into my mind – forcing me awake earlier than I wish; forcing me to get off the bed and start the day.

But I linger a while longer, reflecting.  So many things to do today Lord, where do I start?   The list is endless.  I am not going to be able to handle all of these unless you send me some help  – or take over the tasks  – or me;  one of the two – or nothing will get done and I am getting stressed at the thought of the never ending list that is looming large in front of me.

I can’t seem to handle these daily issues any more.  Every thing is like a mountain to climb.  I know they are little hillocks  –   not even that … but even a grassy mound seems a big obstacle when you want nothing more than to lie down in stillness, in quiet, and just BE  … a human BE-ING  instead of a human DO-ING!

But I can’t seem to be still because there are so many things that are both urgent and important.   You know they are not frivolous things Lord and they have to get done. In fact I have neglected them too much. I have not been a good steward of what you have given me and I am trying to rectify that without further delay.  Your Word last Sunday – no the previous Sunday – was sharper than the two edged sword which cuts  to the marrow.  I felt convicted.  How can I be trusted with the Kingdom if I don’t take care of the things you  have given me here on earth; if I am not faithful in little things and fail to multiply the talents given me? (Matthew 25.14-30)

So I am trying to correct this with a long list of TO DO’s that would not have piled up on me like this if I had remembered a stitch in time saves nine. Procrastination is such a thief of time and money and relationships. So many things I want to do Lord … so many elderly people I want to visit before it is too late.

So many good intentions but with all these things on my plate … I can’t do them!   And I can’t still myself to focus on Advent which starts today.

Don’t you think that sometimes Lord, life gets in the way of LIFE ?!  

Love is our Salvation

One month more for Christmas  –  the day that Love came down.

Fleeting thoughts … a thread floating in my mind waiting to be drawn, pulled together, stitched …

I’m Ok you’re Ok …  is not OK.  It forces  you said Anthony Mello to be OK before others accept you as OK;.  Better rather he suggested  “I’m an Ass …you’re  an Ass!”

Beethoven suffered because people appreciated his music but not his person – incredibly sad.

Success tells me that my work is fine while LOVE tells me that I am fine – 

Love me for a reason and let the reason be love …

Wonderful creative redemptive love that came to save me from myself

Grace freely given … without measure, without judgement, without demands

For God so loved the world that he gave his Beloved Son that whoever believed in Him might be saved. (John 3.16)

Saved from the world of conditional love

To the world of PERFECT LOVE

For only when we receive His love, can we be truly ONE with Him.

In LOVE are we saved … perfected.


It is our SALVATION.

Image Credit : https://glenelmadventblog.files.wordpress.com

When love cripples

Once a little boy  playing outdoors found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to ask his mother if he could keep it. She said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, into the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. Worried, the boy called his mother who understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. She explained to him how the caterpillar would go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly. chrysalys The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He waited every day for the butterfly to emerge. One day, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out it looked like it couldn’t break free!  It looked like it was making no progress! 

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He got a scissors and very carefully snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger. The butterfly quickly emerged! As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised to find it had a swollen body and small, shrivelled wings. He continued to watch it, expecting that at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would usually shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand. But neither happened! untitledinjured butterflywikicommons The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong, his mother explained to him: the butterfly was SUPPOSED TO STRUGGLE. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions had hurt the butterfly. “

Excessive zeal, love and care of parents for their children, spouses for each other, and elders towards children, can sadly and often cripple growth of the people they are trying to help.

Parents who fear their children will be rejected and  try to make them perfect – to ‘conform’ to peer standards – cripple a child’s ability to accept himself as he is.  He will always strive to be perfect before he can be accepted.

Jesuit Priest Anthony de Mello was very critical of the popular phrase “I’m OK, you’re OK” which sends a deep message to the subconscious that you have to be OK to be accepted.  We should rather, he suggests, keep reminding ourselves and our children “its OK to be not OK!”  

Parents who are too protective of their children and curtail their movements out of fear, send out subtle messages of doubt, timidity, lack of courage and inability to cope with dangers that may surface. Do not let fear cripple. Better rather to warn your children of these dangers, role play how to handle them and send them out with courage, hope and confidence in their ability to cope.

I know a girl who was at risk for epileptic seizures. Her parents were so scared to send her out,  she lived and died not ever leaving the confines of her home except with her mother or father.  Love and parental fear crippled her.  The words of the song by Leeanne Rhymes are a poignant reminder of “the soul so afraid of dying that it never learns to live”. 

They say “love must be tough’.  I think this means we should learn to let go and learn to love with the ‘good’ of the object of our love being the primary focus.

I know another beautiful and talented child – a slow learner in academic studies – but with sharp observation skills and with it an outstanding talent for  imitation and drama. Unfortunately, because our society believes you need the three R’s (Reading, wRiting and ‘Rithmetic)  to be a ‘whole’ person, she is considered ‘mentally challenged’,  cosseted and treated her like a five year old without realisation of how crippling this action is.  Sadly, who she is or can be is mirrored in the low expectations of people around her.  They think she can never crawl out of the cocoon alone and so she never is given the opportunity to struggle, to strengthen her latent and unique talents, and soar.

Parents,  spouses, elders … we need to keep the story of the boy and the caterpillar in mind.  Actions, albeit of love, can stifle growth;  ‘help’ can  be a hindrance to progress. Fear for safety paralyses and encourages doubts, anxiety, lack of confidence. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust God and let go.  He who takes care of the lilies of the field and the caterpillars in their cocoon will fulfil his plan for your little caterpillars,  for they are His beloved children.

May we always give our children the freedom to struggle, to take their own time to strengthen their wings, to be who they were created to be,  so they may one day soar to the heavens. imagesKF0LHI4Itelepic.netimagesB8OMQEU7programs.omsi.edu

An Icon is no more.

I was surprised to find myself humming tunes like ‘Candle in the Wind’ and ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’  whilst getting ready to return to my old school.

OK … so I was going to the funeral of the lady who was Principal the entire time I was in ‘College’ – Grade 6 to O’ Level;   the funeral of one whose personal signature is stamped – alongside her comments – on every page of my report card,  and indelibly stamped  in my memory.

But Norma Jean, Princess Diana, Evita … heroines of these songs buzzing in my head,  were super-star icons on the world stage.  Sr Helen Marguerite was well …  just Sr HM, our former Principal.  So why were these tunes surfacing from my subconscious?

Don’t cry for me ….?   I was not crying?!  She was our Principal maybe 30-40 years ago.  We had moved on … she had moved on.  The candle had in many ways been dimmed a long time ago.

It was only as I sat in the subdued quiet of a familiar chapel … with students of each class filing past in wonderful orchestrated synchronicity to recite a decade of the rosary and move on;  it was as the soft music of hymns like Amazing Grace played in the background between the visits of each class that I realised why my subconscious had thrown out these songs.

Sr Helen Marguerite may not have been a player on the world stage, but for us who passed through the hallowed portals of HFC Bambalapitiya in the late sixties/early seventies, she was indeed an iconic figure who loomed larger than life.

For me – Holy Family was “Puggy” and  “Puggy” was Holy Family – such was her influence in our lives.

Why  Puggy?  Am not really sure.  I think I first heard it on the lips of batch mate Faye.  I do know that Sr HM had a pug nose. Beyond that, was she ‘pugnacious’?  I was about to use that word and thankfully checked it.   Nope she was not belligerent, combative, aggressive, bellicose, argumentative, contentious etc.  No need to be.  She was the Principal.  Her word was law and we were not about to argue with her. We respected our Principal,  teachers and elders.


Rev. Sr. Helen Marguerite, First Sri Lankan Principal

Puggy was Puggy well because she looked Puggy. She strode around the school in a shorter than usual nuns habit, with a higher than normal heel in her shoe, and a stronger than normal walk.  I already mentioned she strode.  She never walked, minced, glided or moved like other nuns you knew.  In fact Puggy was not your normal nun.  You knew when she was around – both by the sound of her walk and by her PRESENCE.  And she did have a presence.  A huge presence that was way way disproportionate to her little diminutive figure.

However back then we did not see a little figure. We just saw a nun who was not very orthodox, who chatted ‘quite friendly like’ but was still able to command the utmost respect; one who maintained the highest standards of discipline; who would not accept falling grades even if you engaged in extracurricular activities, and one who maintained and insisted  on the highest morals of catholic education.

But most Principals are expected to do this … so what was so special about Puggy – or to be more formal –Rev. Sr. HM?  I believe she will be remembered and defined by her role in bringing the ‘Up with People’ songs to HFC and creating an indelible memory of  stage performances that took Colombo by storm.  It seemed the whole school was there in that choir except yours truly who cannot sing if my life depended on it.  Can you imagine the resounding echoes of songs whose words (I realise only today in Googling it ) defined a generation …

Up Up with people, you meet them wherever you go … Up Up with people they’re the best kind of folks you know.

And …

What color is God’s skin? What color is God’s skin? I said its black brown yellow it is red, it is white,  every man’s the same in the good Lords sight.

Plus the resounding echo  of Freedom isn’t Free. Freedom isn’t Free … You’ve got to pay a price, you’ve got to sacrifice, Freedom isn’t Free.

This was 60’s music:  psychedelic revolutionary pop culture, and the words were ringing out from the hallowed precincts of a convent with  Reverend Sister HM at the helm.

Sitting in the chapel,  I realised that ‘Puggy’ was in many ways ahead of her time.  She would be making waves on the international stage if she was Principal in these times … when nuns in habit are performing on the world stage, winning Voice Italia titles whilst carrying a new message of evangelisation .

Alas, we were entrenched in the pre-Vatican II era.  We thought Sr. HM was unorthodox and this was confirmed when we heard she had ‘left the robes’.  Sadly only that bit of ‘shocking news’ was passed on.  Not the fact that she continued in her mission till the end, working amongst children – street children.

She had a special vocation with these children, just as she had with her charges at HFC.  I remember once we had forgotten our text books and my Dad had brought them into the office to be given  to us.  The receptionist had inquired ‘What class?’  “Class?  Errr … Don’t you know ?  … maybe Grade 7? “ stuttered my Dad.

Sr. Helen Marguerite who was passing had stopped by to interject : “Mr. Rasquinho, your girls are in Grade 9. They are preparing for their O Levels.  I have 2000 children and I know which class they are in and you have 3 and can’t keep track!”  We laughed so much when Dad told us.  He had muttered something about their Mum looks after that side and squirmed out of the office.

This was the lady I had come to pay my respects to: the Principal who took a personal interest and followed each child’s progress.  The nun who ‘left her robes’ but not her faith or her commitment to love and serve children; the lady I had once met in a doctor’s waiting room decades after I had left school who recognised me and spoke to me when I could not recognise her in her new garb  – grey skirt and blouse.

Don’t cry for me Argentina … the truth is I never left you … all through my wild days my mad existence  …

I served the Lord in the best way I could.

I was surprised that I had to fight to hold back the tears.  She was so much ahead of her time.  She had the courage to follow her heart, to pursue Truth wherever it leads you.

I went up to the bier to place a rose for a life that touched hundreds – nay thousands – of students in ways we did not realise.

I would not have recognised her if I passed her on the street with her children.  She looked so very tiny and frail … so ‘non existent’.  This my Principal who had filled the College corridors, who had left all that pomp and pageantry behind to live a new and anonymous life among the poor.

That is how I will recollect her memory in future.

Farewell ‘Puggy’.  Rest in Eternal Peace with your maker, courageous and indomitable Rev. Sr. Helen Marguerite.

Your students will sing  the College Anthem  in  your honour and listen also to the song that defines you.


Photo and School Anthem http://www.hfcb.lk/

It seems to me a strange thing mystifying

That my Lord came to this earth “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free” (Luke 4.18)

And yet we who call ourselves Christians because we wish to follow him, do the very opposite.

We get into our ivory castles where we are beyond reproach, and from the safety of this castle we throw stones at those who are not like us in religiosity, in piety, in following the letter of the law.

We are in fact, following the Pharisees rather than following Jesus.

In a recent homily, Pope Francis  exhorted that we ask ourselves the reason the doctors of the law (the Pharisees) did not understand the signs of the times and invoked an extraordinary sign. And he proposed several answers:

The first was “because they were closed. They were closed within their system, they had organized the law very well”. It was “a masterpiece. All of the Jews knew what one could and could not do, where one could go. It was all organized”. But Jesus caught them unprepared, by doing “curious things”, such as “going with the sinners”, and “eating with the publicans”. And the doctors of the law did not like this, they found it “dangerous”, putting at risk “the doctrine which they, the theologians, had been making for centuries”. This happens, said the Pope,  when you forget that you are people on a journey:

“when one is on journey  one always finds new things, things one does not know. And in the law, they had to accept these things in a heart faithful to the Lord”. But, also in this case, “a journey is not absolute in itself, it is a journey toward an end point: toward the definitive manifestation of the Lord”.

For this reason,  Pope Francis explained, Jesus defined them as an “evil generation”, inasmuch as “they did not understand that the law they protected and loved was a pedagogy toward Jesus Christ”. Indeed, “if the law does not lead to Jesus Christ, does not bring us close to Jesus Christ, it is dead”.

And this is why Jesus scolds the members of that generation “for being closed, for being incapable of recognizing the signs of the times, for not being open to the God of surprises, for not being on a journey toward the Lord’s triumphant finale”, to the point “that when he explains it, they think it is blasphemy”.

We who live in ivory towers, closed to the signs of the times, need to reflect on Pope Francis’ words:

Am I attached to my things, to my ideas, closed? Or am I open to the God of surprises?”.

“Am I a stationary person or a person on a journey?”.

May we lose no time  in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope, in setting captives free, and doing the ‘curious things’ that Jesus did as we follow our Master and not the Pharisees.

“A heart that loves the law, for the law is God’s”, but “which also loves God’s surprises”, for his “holy law is not an end in itself”: it is a journey, “a teaching which leads us to Jesus Christ”.


Excerpts (re-arranged with comments) from a homily by Pope Francis on 13 October 2014 on the God of Surprises.