Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gospel Reading Sept 13

Gospel reading for Sunday, September 13th is from St. Luke 11:33-41

33  "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 

34  Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. 

35  See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 

36  Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."

37  When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 

38  But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.

39  Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 

40  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 

41  But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

If you recall, we came across this chapter - Luke Ch 11 on Aug 23rd, where Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray; where Our Father.... is narrated.  This reading is the continuation of the same chapter.  

Jesus talks about the light and darkness; tells us that eyes are the light of our own body.  Have you noticed that when you are happy internally, your eyes radiate that energy outward.  On the other hand, when you are sad, your eyes look gloomy and reflect that as well.  While doing a painting, eyes of a person are the most difficult to draw, because they set the tone of that painting.  

In the next part, Jesus talks about internal cleanliness.  We talked about a similar topic in class last Sunday.  We talked about the mind and inner beauty.  

Cleaning tips

Let's say you are in charge of your house this week.  You get a phone call saying that some of your friends are coming to your house in 30 minutes, and they would like a tour of your house. Your house is a mess. What will you do?

CAUTION: Your mom may not like these secret tips unless she is too cool and hip like U.

If a room clearly can’t be whipped into shape in 30 days – much less 30 minutes – employ the Locked Door Method of cleaning. Tell anyone who tries to go in the room that the door is intentionally locked. CAUTION: It is not advisable to use this tip for the bathroom.
Time: 2 seconds

No home should be without an ample supply. Not only is it handy for plumbing repairs, but it’s a great way to hem drapes, tablecloths, clothes, just about anything. No mess, no fuss.
Time: 2-3 minutes

If you think ovens are just for baking, think again. Ovens represent at least 9 cubic feet of hidden storage space, which means they’re a great place to shove dirty dishes, dirty clothes, or just about anything you want to get out of sight when company’s coming.
Time: 2 minutes

Like Secret Tip 3, except bigger. CAUTION: Avoid hiding flammable objects here.
Time: 2.5 minutes

Like Secret Tip 4, except even bigger.
Time: 3 minutes

No bed should be without one. Devotees of Martha Stewart believe dust ruffles exist to keep dust out from under a bed or to help coordinate the colorful look of a bedroom. The rest of us know a dust ruffle’s highest and best use is to hide whatever you’ve managed to shove under the bed. (Refer to Secret Tips 3, 4, 5.)
Time: 4 minutes

The 30-Minutes-To-A-Clean-House method says: Never dust under what you can dust around.
Time: 3 minutes

Don’t use them. Use plastic or paper and you won’t have to wash them.
Time: 1 minute

Stick to the middle of the room, which is the only place people look. Don’t bother vacuuming under furniture. It takes way too long and no one looks there anyway.
Time: 5 minutes, entire house; 2 minutes, living room only

The key here is low, low, and lower. It’s not only romantic, but bad lighting can hide a multitude of dirt.
Time: 10 seconds

Get an old-fashioned waterbed. No one can tell if those things are made up or not, saving you hundreds of seconds over the course of a lifetime.
Time: 0

Forget one and two. Concentrate on three.
Time: 1 minute

If you already knew at least 10 of these tips, don’t even think about inviting a Martha Stewart type to your home.

NEVER stop your younger siblings from writing their names in the dust on your furniture. Just don’t let them write the date.

If you receive the phone call only 10 minutes in advance, remember this: the bathtub is the second dirtiest place in the home and the number one danger in the house is the kitchen sink.

Credits: Bob


Click on the image for a larger view

Credits: Danziger

Friday, September 11, 2009

God and 9/11

Here is a vaild question:

"Where was God on 9/11 when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked?"

And, here is an interesting answer:

Well, I know where my God was on the morning of September 11, 2001, and He was very busy!

He was discouraging people from taking those four flights. Together they could accommodate more than 1,000 passengers, yet there were only 266 aboard. He was on those four flights giving the terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the people who was called by a loved one on one of the hijacked planes mentioned that passengers were panicked, nor was there any screaming in the background. And on one of the flights, God gave strength to the passengers to overcome the hijackers.

God was also busy creating obstacles to prevent people who worked in the WTC from getting to work on time. The work day had begun, more than 50,000 people worked in the two towers, yet only 20,000 were at their desks. On that beautiful morning, God created scores of unexpected traffic delays, subway delays, and commuter train delays. A PATH train packed with commuters was stopped at a signal just short of the WTC and was able to return to Jersey City. And far more meetings were scheduled elsewhere than was usual.

God held up each of the two mighty towers for a half hour so that the people on the lower floors could get out. And when He finally let go, He caused the towers to fall inward rather than to topple over, which would have killed so many more people. The foundations of six surrounding buildings were demolished by the fall of the towers, but God held them up for many hours until all the occupants were safely evacuated.

And when the WTC and Pentagon buildings went down, my God picked up almost 3,500 of His children and carried them to their home for all eternity. He also sat down and cried that 19 of His children could have so much hate in their hearts, that they did not choose him, but another god that doesn't exist, and now they are lost forever.

He sent people trained in dealing with earthly disasters to save those that were injured. And he sent in thousands of others to help in any way they were needed. And He brought people together across the world in a way that moved thousands to tears and hundreds of thousands to prayer—and caused millions to turn to the one true living God.

He still isn't finished. Every day He comforts those who lost loved ones. He is encouraging others to reach out to those who don't know Him or believe in Him. He is giving the leaders of our great nation the strength and conviction to do the right thing, to follow His will, not a popular poll.

So if anyone ever asks, "Where was your God on 9/11?" you can say, "He was everywhere! And, in fact, He is everywhere today and every day." Without a doubt, this was the worst catastrophe most of us have ever seen. I can't imagine getting through such a difficult time without God at my side. Without God, life would be hopeless.

Credits: Dave Ahl

Remembering 9/11

Today all of us remember 9/11.  You guys in 10th grade may not remember 9/11/2001 very well, since you were young at that time.  Many lives were lost and several others have changed since then.

Due to that one incident, our family life has been changed too.  We were living in California at the time of that incident.  Until 9/10/01, we were having a very peaceful life and were enjoying every bit of it.  My job was a very good one, and the industry in general was doing extremely well.  We loved the place and atmosphere very much; we travelled all around CA and had numerous good friends.  CA really is a 'golden state'.  Around that time, we were about to buy a new house and start a new life.

That one day changed our lives.  Right after 9/11, the entire state of CA, especially silicon valley was in financial crisis.  The dot-com bubble burst, and people started losing their jobs within a span of few weeks.  Towards the end of October, I lost my job too.  There was virtually no work in CA.  Many of my colleagues had no option, but to go back to India leaving behind all their valuables.  I was fortunate to find work here in Atlanta in December, and arrived at this place.  It's 9/11 that brought us to Atlanta.

Arriving here in Atlanta, we started all over again, from scratch, with God's grace. There is so much cultural difference between CA and GA. We now like this place, since it had something to offer us.  God and His Angels took care of us, during those difficult times, and we are thankful to Him.

Thousands of people have similar and even tragic stories to share. It certainly was a turning point in the history of US. Let's remember those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of this country, and our well being.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

The word

Ever heard the word “TENJOOBERRYMUDS”? 

Read the following conversation out loud (I mean really loud) until you are able to understand the term “TENJOOBERRYMUDS”. With a little patience, you’ll be able to fit right in. If you did not get it on your first try, give it a second try.  

You are travelling within the United States and decided to stay at a hotel to spend the night.  The following is a telephone exchange between you, the guest and the person at the other end, when you called for room-service.  

Room Service : “Morrin. Roon sirbees.”

Guest : “Sorry, I thought I dialed room-service.”

Room Service: “Rye. Roon sirbees…morrin! Joowish to oddor sunteen???”

Guest: “Uh….. Yes, I’d like to order bacon and eggs.”

Room Service: “Ow July den?”

Guest: “What??”

Room Service: “Ow July den?!?… pryed, boyud, poochd?”

Guest: “Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry.. scrambled, please.”

Room Service: “Ow July dee baykem? Crease?”

Guest: “Crisp will be fine.”

Room Service: “Hokay. An Sahn toes?”

Guest: “What?”

Room Service: “An toes. July Sahn toes?”

Guest: “I… don’t think so.”

Room Service: “No? Judo wan sahn toes???”

Guest: “I feel really bad about this, but I don’t know what ‘judo wan sahn toes’ means.”

Room Service: “Toes! Toes! Why joo don Juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we bodder?”

Guest: “Oh, English muffin!!! I’ve got it! You were saying ‘toast’. Fine…Yes, an English muffin will be fine.”

Room Service: “We bodder?”

Guest: “No, just put the bodder on the side.”

Room Service: “Wad?”

Guest: “I mean butter… just put the butter on the side.”

Room Service: “Copy?”

Guest: “Excuse me?”

Room Service: “Copy…tea..meel?”

Guest: “Yes. Coffee, please… and that’s everything.”

Room Service: “One Minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin, we bodder on sigh and copy – rye??”

Guest: “Whatever you say.”

Room Service: “Tenjooberrymuds.”

Guest: “You’re welcome”

Aaahaa - now you get what ‘TENJOOBERRYMUDS’ means - right?  If not, try reading again, you'll get it.  Just try harder.  

About Holy Qurbana

Many of us, we go to church and take part in the Holy Qurbana.  We have participated in it over and over; still we do not know what is it's significance.  While attending Sunday school, we learn that we offer thanks, praise and sacrifice during Qurbana; the body and blood of Christ is celebrated during the Qurbana etc. 

When I was almost your age, I had the following questions: "Why is our Qurbana so long?  Why does the priest wash his hands during the middle of the service - shouldn't he do it earlier?  Why is the priest kneeling down, when all of us are standing?  What happens when the curtain is closed?  Why does the priest bless everyone's head at the end of the service?  Why does the church have prayers during the 3rd hour, 6th hour, 9th hour etc?  Why is that time different from our normal clock?  If you have similar questions, you are not alone.  I had all these plus many other questions, but was afraid to ask.  I would have appeared to know nothing in front of my other church friends.  

After taking part in the Holy Qurbana so closely for several years, hopefully I have found answers to these questions.  It prompted me to write something like, "Holy Qurbana for Dummies" or "Holy Qurbana for Rookies".  If most of you are interested in this topic, I can share what I learned on this blog.  However, let's do it at a gradual pace learning one thing at a time.  I can label all these under 'Holy Qurbana'.  Meanwhile, I encourage you to send me any pertaining questions you may have (remember - there is no silly or dumb question).  If you are too concerned, just send me an anonymous question; I'll try to answer it.  We can make this learning a fun filled one.  

Right after reading this, just post a comment of send me an email about your opinion.   This is not really part of our syllabus and there will be no questions from this area on your test.  I just need to find out how many of you are really interested in learning more about it.


Never heard at Church

Things that you never hear at church: 

Hey! It’s MY turn to sit on the front pew!

I was so enthralled I never noticed the sermon went over time 25 minutes.

Personally, I find witnessing church much more enjoyable than tennis.

I’ve decided to give our church the $500.00 a month I used to send to charity.

I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for Sunday School class.

I love it when the choir sings hymns I’ve never heard before!

Since we’re all here, let’s start the worship service early!

We should send our priest to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas.

Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment like our annual fundraiser campaign!

Forget the denominational minimum salary: let’s pay our priest well so he can live like we do.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rules for Grads

Few rules for high school and college graduates, an excerpt from Charles Skyes:

Life is not fair; get used to it.

The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school OR college. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone, until you earn both.

If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping; they called it opportunity.

If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try "delousing" the closet in your own room.

Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

RULE 10.
Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

RULE 11.
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sightings of St. Mary

Over the period of time, many people have reported to have sighted St. Mary.  In fact, St. Mary is said to have appeared to several people over the course of past two thousand years, in person as well as an image. 

One of the most popular site is in France, called Lourdes where St. Mary appeared to a young girl, in the year 1858. The young 14-year-old girl by the name of Bernadette lived in Pyrenees at a time of turmoil. She was encountered by Mary in a grotto, and made several visitations to her over a 6-month period. During this time, Mary instructed Bernadette to dig a hole in the ground, drink, and bathe in it, and later this became a spring of healing. Lourdes soon became known as the world's major pilgrimage site where thousands have been cured from a variety of illnesses, both physical and spiritual.  Today, it is one of the largest tourist spot in France.  

In Walsingham, England, around 1061, Lady Richeldis de Faverches, was visited three times by Mary. Mary showed her the house in Nazareth where the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus. Mary asked her to build a replica of that house in Nazareth to be dedicated as a memorial. Walsingham became one of the greatest pilgrimage sites in all of Europe when people came to view this shrine. 

Domingo de Guzman was a Spanish preacher who went to southern France to oppose the Albegesian heresy. In 1208, while he was praying at a chapel in Prouille, France, Mary appeared to him, gave him the Rosary and urged him to preach the Rosary as a remedy against heresy and sin. Domingo founded an order of preaching friars who went on to halt the Albegesian heresy and establish monasteries all over the world. The order is commonly referred to as the Dominicans. 

While these are only the most popular locations where sightings of St. Mary have been reported, there are numerous others.  Here in the US, in Clearwater, FL, a stain is said to resemble St. Mary and it has turned into a Shrine.  The image above is from that building in Clearwater, FL.  

Most recently, St.Mary is said to have appeared in Los Angeles in January 2009.  Click here to read more about it.

Image Credit: Roadside America

Happy Birthday St. Mary

Today, Sept 8th, we celebrate the birthday of Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.  

Both Christians and Muslims call her by the name 'Virgin Mary'.  Virgin Mary holds the highest honor among all saints as well as any human beings born on earth, other than Jesus Christ.  To some, Virgin Mary is regarded even higher than the Angels.  Undoubtedly, St. Mary holds a key role in the Christian domain.  Thus, the prayer, "Hail Mary..."

Mary was presented at the temple, by her parents, when she was three years old.  She was educated till the age of twelve and led a very simple life.  St. Mary is said to have suffered a lot of hardships during her lifetime.  Her lifestyle of simplicity and sufferings is one to look at and meditate, during difficult times.  

St. Luke, the apostle, was a physician and a painter.  St. Luke is believed to have painted an icon of St. Mary.  One such icon is located at the Orthodox Church, Jerusalem.  I do not have an image of that painting handy at this time, but will post it here when I get to it.    

Personally, I am a huge fan, believer and devotee of St. Mary; I seek her intercession during prayers, and while in need.  Next time you are in the church, pay close attention to the picture of St. Mary located above the left side of the Altar.  Notice the amount of grace radiating from that picture.  I encourage you to look at that picture of St. Mary next time you recite the prayer, "Hail Mary...".  Try getting closer to St. Mary; try talking to her - it is a soothing and comforting experience.  

Since her birthday is on September 8th, according to the zodiac sign, Virgin Mary is a Virgo. 

Happy Birthday, Virgin Mary.     

Monday, September 7, 2009

8 Day Lent

Image: The birth of St. Mary

I got a question from our distant learning student - Ajoey Abraham about 8 day lent (Ettu Nombu).  Thought of posting it here so that it will benefit everyone.  

The 8 day lent is a lent commonly observed, mainly by orthodox Christians, to celebrate the birth of St. Mary, the mother of God.  This 8 day lent is not instituted by our church.  Here is the scenario: Our church does not encourage us to fast and lent during this period, but our faithful people do.  Due to it's increased popularity, even though it is not listed on the church's official calendar, the priests and bishops do special prayers for those faithful.  It is particularly common among our ladies; they have very strong belief in this 8 day lent, since it is in the name of St. Mary.  Ask your mom about the 8 day lent and I am sure you'll get more info.  

From the church's perspective, a holy person/saint is remembered during his/her death.  The only birth that the church celebrates with a lent is that of Jesus Christ, during Christmas.  Therefore, our church in it's official calendar remembers St. Mary during her death - on August 15th, and observes the 15 day lent (Aug 1 - 15). 

The Holy Scripture does not say anything about the birth of Mary or her parentage, though Joseph's lineage is given in the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. 

The names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, appear in the apocryphal "Gospel of James", a book dating from the 2nd Century AD, not part of the authentic canon of Scripture. According to this account, Joachim and Anna were also beyond the years of child-bearing, but prayed and fasted that God would grant their desire for a child.

According to one tradition, the house in which Mary was born in Nazareth is the same one in which the Annunciation took place, when Ark Angel Gabriel appeared in front of her.  

During the 8 day lent, people flock towards Manarkadu church, located near Kottayam.  This church is believed to have a part of St. Mary's girdle, which was recieved by St. Thomas during the ascension of St. Mary in AD 54.

Payasam is served at almost every church on September 8th, on the birthday of St. Mary.  There is Holy Mass at our church today at 6:30 PM to commemorate the final day of 8-day lent.   

Sunday, September 6, 2009


This wednesday is September 09, 2009 -ie. 09/09/09.


09/09/09 falls on a Wednesday, and Wednesday has 9 letters.

09/09/09 is in September, and September has 9 letters.

09/09/09 is the 252nd day of the day of the year; 2 + 5 + 2 = 9.

09/09/09 - when you add them up, 09 + 09 + 09 = 27; 2 + 7 = 9.

This Wednesday will be the last time such a single digit date will be seen synchronously. The next one will not occur during our lifetime.

There are various big events planned for that day.

09/09/09 - Apple is planning on launching something on that day. Invitations have gone out for that event.

09/09/09 is the date set for the release of the entire original Beatles catalogue, digitally remastered.

09/09/09 at 09:09:09 the Dubai metro will be inagurated. I heard about the HH:MM:SS, while we were in Dubai last summer.

09/09/09 - soft opening of Burj Dubai; the world's tallest building, standing tall at 818 mts. (Burj Dubai also has 9 letters!!)

You must have heard that the number 9 is quite magical in the math world. According to the Chinese, the date 09/09/09 is a very lucky one to start new venture(s).

Sept 6

We had the following students present in our class today: Alex Thomas, Alina Thomas, Anabella Jacks, James Joy, Joseph Joy, Merlyn Thomas, Rony Jacob, Sherine Sam & Sherlyne Sam.

Couple of 11th grade students came by, and shared their gmail experience. I am sure you too will enjoy it, as you start using it.

We talked a little bit about Swine Flu, created a general awareness, and talked about what we can do to prevent it. From now on, as soon as you enter the class, go ahead and use that hand sanitizer on my desk - it's there for you to use.

We went over the 8 day lent that starts every year on Sept 1st and ends on Sept 8th. I did not talk about Onam, since we are clebrating it next Sunday. Let's spend few minutes next Sunday to go over it so that you know enough about it. If you have traditional dresses, wear that to Church next Sunday as part of our onam celebration. Remind your parents as well; they may have to get those clothes ready for Sunday.

I was impressed to see that all of you came ready for the class - good job!! Keep it up. Just continues what you are doing.

We then continued our discussion on Love. We talked about the various forms of love, and the level of commitment and sacrifice we make while in love. I shared couple of stories on the topic and hope those stories stay in your mind.

I try to make the class as interactive as possible. Feel free to stop me and ask any questions you may have. Don't carry any doubts or questions in your mind. If you have a question, chances are, others in the class too may have the same question. Also, remember - there is no such question as a dumb or silly question. I weigh all your questions with equal importance and will do my best to provide appropriate answers.

Today I informed the Sunday school Headmaster and Secretary that I may not be able to make it to the teacher's meeting on Saturday. The Secretary will inform me what they discussed, and I shall pass on the relevant info to you. Also, I have put in a request with the Headmaster to replace those tube lights in our class. All 4 tube lights are not working.

No homeworks for next class - just show up with a smiley face.

Enjoy your long weekend.