It is 23rd September 2016. We celebrate the memorial of St Pius of Pietrelcina, lovingly called St. Padre Pio, Priest and Confessor. My most beloved and admired saint of my life as a Capuchin Friar is St. Padre Pio. St. Pio, a Capuchin Friar was ordained a priest in 1910. He suffered ill-health repeatedly. Soon after a Holy mass while thanking the Lord, he received the stigmata, the five holy wounds of our Lord. He was a gifted confessor. He strongly believed in personal prayer and mortifications. He said, “Pray, pray to the Lord with me, because the whole world needs prayer. And every day, when your heart especially feels the loneliness of life, pray. Pray to the Lord because even God needs our prayers.” He is known as a flying friar, a friar who reads the soul, has the fragrance of holiness, and a miracle healer. He is the greatest saints of the twentieth century inspiring us all even today with his humility, honesty, and holiness. He was declared a saint by Pope John Paul II, on June 16, 2002. The readings are from Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; and the Gospel from Luke 9:18-22. The first reading teaches us that there is a time for everything. The timing of the Lord with its calculated rhythms and cycles of change is in evitable in our life. There are two pairs of situations mentioned in the reading. Half of them are pleasant, up-building and positive while the other half is the opposite. Time is a gift of God once and for all. Whether we enjoy or suffer, the time does not wait for us. Neither we can prolong the time when it is suitable and pleasant nor to shorten the time when it is painful and unpleasant. Time is the only connecting moment by which we can recognize God as it begins to happen and to lead us to eternity. The responsorial Psalm praises, “Blessed be the Lord, my rock.” (Ps. 143:1). The Gospel invites us to answer a personal question: who do you say I am? Peter alone confesses openly that Jesus is the Christ of God. Jesus is also waiting for our personal confession yet to be made in public. Such confessions are possible only through a deep communion in prayer with Him. May the Lord bless you to communicate with Him in humility and holiness like that of St. Padre Pio. Have a good day.

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