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Feast of Diwali – 12 November 2023


Diwali is called the « Festival of Lights » and is celebrated to honor Rama-chandra, the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). It is believed that on this day Rama returned to his people after 14 years of exile during which he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana. People lit their houses to celebrate his victory over evil (light over darkness).

The goddess of happiness and good fortune, Lakshmi, also figures into the celebration. It is believed that she roams the Earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean, and bright. Diwali celebrations may vary in different communities but its significance and spiritual meaning is generally “the awareness of the inner light”.


Lamps, fireworks and bonfires illuminate this holiday, as the word “Deepawali” means “a row or cluster of lights” or “rows of diyas (clay lamps)”. The festival symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The goddess Lakshmi, who symbolizes wealth, happiness and prosperity, is also worshipped during Diwali.


Source: Text:    Image: BSc Nursing


International Day of Happiness – 20 March

What is the International Day of Happiness?

It’s a day to be happy, of course! Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.

Happiness is a fundamental human goal. The United Nations General Assembly recognizes this goal and calls for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.”

In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end povertyreduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.

The United Nations invites each person of any age, plus every classroom, business and government to join in celebration of the International Day of Happiness.

Gaza children playing in a water parkBackground

The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281 of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness, recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. It also recognized the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.

The resolution was initiated by Bhutan, a country which recognized the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. It also hosted a High Level Meeting on « Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm » during the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly.


Source: Text & Image (bottom):    Image: 

2nd Sunday of Year A – 2023

Every week, we reflect on the Bible texts of a given Sunday, or Feast Day.
Most times, we focus on the words of one of the readings.
Today, one verse of the Psalm, used as a response to the 1st reading, has caught my attention(Psalm 40:1-2,4,7-11).

“The Lord has stooped to me and he heard my cry for help.”
Another translation says: “He inclined unto me and he heard my cry.”

This is an amazing statement from the Psalmist.
God has stooped, he has inclined, he has bent down, he has come low, to reach him!

It is amazing, yes, but it is exactly what we have lived these past weeks!
We have been celebrating the feast of Christmas – God becoming one of us, a human being like us.
This is how far down, how much bending and stooping God has done!

When the word ‘GOD’ is heard, people usually think of:

  • power and glory,
  • magnificence and transcendence,
  • eminence and splendor.

But God thinks of… a baby in a manger!

A poor, helpless, dependent child – this is God!
Strangely, sadly… we often look for another one…

The text of the Psalm goes on with the words:
             “Happy the one who trusts in the Lord.”
Yes, the Lord of whom the Psalmist tells us about, the One who stoops and bends down –
he is the one who can give us the happiness we long for.
The happiness we have been wishing one another for this new year, he is ready to give it to us…
If only we dare to turn to him…

Note: Another text is available on a different theme, in French at:


Source: Image: LDS Scripture of the Day

19th Sunday of Year C – 2022

The 2nd reading of this Sunday speaks of people and events long gone (Hebrew 11:1-2,8-19).
The people involved and their experiences may seem distant and strange to us and yet…
Yet, what is described in this text has a message that is very relevant to us in our own time.

Those people are often referred to as ‘our ancestors in the faith’.
They saw themselves as “strangers and nomads on earth.”

What does this really mean?
The text goes on to explain what the words express:

“People who use such terms about  themselves make it quite plain  that they are in search of their real homeland.”

If we think about it, is this not what we, ourselves, are meant to be: strangers and nomads?
Is our life on this planet not meant to be a search for another place –
“the place founded for us by God », as the text says.

Not being satisfied, not being engrossed in what is available, but longing for something else…
Looking, searching, trying to find…
Not being totally absorbed in the present, but being aware that there is more awaiting us…

Satisfying experiences, fulfilling achievements, rewarding adventures –
all this can be gratifying but… this is not the full purpose of our existence on this earth.

There is MORE – deeper knowledge, greater fulfilment, more intense happiness.
MORE – a more authentic life, a closer relationship with the God who made us.

We do not see this, but we believe that this is what is waiting for us.
And, the first lines of the reading tell us:

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for 
and assurance about what we do not see.”


Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:


Source: Images: Scripture Images   Unsplash

18th Sunday of Year C – 2022

Belongings, possessions, riches – all items referring to one’s property.
They describe things of value acquired by someone.
Houses, cars, jewels, come immediately to mind, but many more ordinary or unusual items could also be mentioned!

The author of today’s 1st reading (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23) had his own detailed list of all that he had managed to obtain for himself.
(The list is in the words at the beginning of chapter 2 not read in the celebration itself but can be found in the Bible).
Yet, this rich man admitted that all his riches did not make him happy.

This Bible text suggested another one published as a modern parable which I share with you.

A very rich and clever man had gathered a large  fortune. He had managed to get all the things he wanted. After some time, he realized he had everything, except happiness.
One day, he heard about a wise man living by himself in the desert. Of him, people said he was the happiest man in the world and that it was enough to wear his shirt to be fully happy.

The rich man went to him; he bowed low offering him a bag filled with gold and asking to buy his shirt.
“I cannot sell it to you”, said the wise man.
“Why not”, said the rich man.
“Because I have none.”
“If you don’t have even a shirt, how can you be happy?”
To this, the wise man replied, “Only one thing makes a human being happy: a treasure. Woe to him/her who is without a treasure.”
The man with the large fortune exclaimed: “Treasures, I have so many, yet I am not happy,”
Then, the words of wisdom slowly came out: “You have money in plenty and possessions of all kinds, but you have no treasure. This is why you are so sad.”

The exclamation reaches to each one: “Who to him/her who is without a treasure.”

But… not just any treasure can bring happiness…
It is the one Jesus mentions in today’s gospel (Luke 12:13-21):
“Making himself (herself) rich in the sight of God.»
Something to be learned, day after day, by each and everyone who longs to be… HAPPY…


Note: Another reflection is available on a similar theme but presented differently in French at:


Source: Text of the modern parable of the rich man: Translation and adaptation of Lettie Morse, Living with Christ, 20 June 1982      Images: Pinterest  Adobe Stock

Global Day of Parents – 1st June 2022

Appreciate All Parents Throughout the World

Since the 1980s, the important role of the family has increasingly come to the attention of the international community. The General Assembly adopted a number of resolutions and proclaimed the International Year of the Family and the International Day of Families.

Emphasizing the critical role of parents in the rearing of children, the Global Day of Parents recognizes that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children. For the full and harmonious development of their personality, children should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.

Designated by the General Assembly in 2012, Global Day of Parents provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents for their « selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship. »

Greater support needed for working parents as COVID-19 takes hold

Families bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the anchors of the family and the foundation of our communities and societies, parents have the responsibility of sheltering their families from harm, caring for out-of-school children and, at the same time, continuing their work responsibilities. Without support from parents, children’s health, education and emotional well-being is at risk. By introducing family-friendly workplace policies and practices, companies and organizations will be in a better position to promote children’s safety and wellbeing and provide systematic support to employees.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its exponential growth, a technical note from UNICEF, ILO and UN Women on family-friendly policies and other good workplace practices in the context of COVID-19 shows that it is essential to support working families to minimize negative consequences for children.


Source: Text:   Image: The Nonstop News

International Day of Happiness – 20 March 2022

The International Day of Happiness is observed every year all over the world on March 20 to highlight the importance of happiness in the lives of people.

The day recognizes happiness as the one of the most important need of human being and also highlights why it is essential to discuss about it. Apart from the individual happiness it also focuses on over societies happiness, countries happiness. So it guides governments, organisations so they can make public policies or corporate policies which can improve happiness quotient of the people in country or for any specific organisation also.

History of International Day of Happiness 2022

The United Nations started to celebrate the International Day of Happiness in 2013 but a resolution for the same was passed on July 12, 2012. Bhutan was the first country which emphasized on the importance of national happiness in 1970s. They brought the concept of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.

It shows that just by increasing GDP or income of the people it doesn’t guarantee happiness. But there are other factors which also plays major role in happiness of the person. The World Happiness Report, evaluates global happiness from various countries and then publish the happiness report before World Happiness Day on March 20. To rank various countries on happiness it considers six characteristics like GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make choices, generosity, and perception of corruption.


Source: Text: The Free Press Journal   Image: pexels

6th Sunday of Year C – 2022

Poverty, hunger, sadness, hatred from others – who would dare say that these will bring happiness?
Someone has dared to say so – Jesus did when speaking to the crowds eager to listen to him (Luke 6:17,20-26).

I wonder how they reacted, all those listening to him on that day…
As they walked back home, they must have been puzzled, wondering about such an unusual message.

I ask myself: ‘Nowadays, how many people are listening to these words, listening and being ready to accept the message given – such a challenging message!’…

Possessions and prestige, this is what people are looking for, not poverty and hunger.
Enjoying life and all the pleasures it can offer, this is what appeals to people, not suffering and sadness.

Of course, there is the promise – the promise of the kingdom of God, of future satisfaction and joy, a reward waiting in heaven.
But precisely, this is all to come… in the future.
This perspective has not much interest for people living in what has been qualified as a time of instant gratification!
Enjoying life now, not in what seems to many as a doubtful future.

We, each one of us, are faced with a choice, a challenge: accepting Jesus’ message and following him, or…
Or, following our own path, searching, and searching, never really finding what we are longing for…

In the 1st reading, the prophet Jeremiah says (Jeremiah 17:5-8):

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord”.

Trust and hope: relying on someone who cannot disappoint our search – this is the option offered to us.
Instead of a constant search leading to… a dead end.


Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at:


Source: Image: historyandthenews.wordpress

24th Sunday of Year B – 2021

The gospel texts are sometimes comforting and encouraging.
At other times, they are demanding and… more than a little challenging

The text for this Sunday (Mark 7:28-35) belongs to this challenging category!
We are told that:

“He (Jesus) began to teach them (the apostles) that the Son of Man must suffer many things… be rejected…
that he must be killed…”
The perspective of such a future for their Master is surely disheartening for the apostles.
No wonder that Peter, the leader among them, protests and even tries to have Jesus change direction!
I expect that some of us would have been inclined to do the same…

It is natural to try and avoid whatever is painful, whatever causes hurt and provokes fear and discouragement.
The problem is that our attempts are so often shortsighted.
To follow this course of action may end up by depriving us of something absolutely… wonderful.

The sentence printed above is still incomplete – following the words: “he must be killed…”
the text continues with: “and after three days rise again.”

So often, what happens in our lives is that:
we see only the negative,
we focus only on the possible hurt,
we envisage only what goes against our desires…

We fail to broaden our perspective to see what will follow the… ‘must’ –
to perceive all the great things that God has prepared for us.

Of course, to take up one’s cross –
a very personal, intimate, demanding denial of oneself –
this would be more than we can cope with…
if we were left to ourselves.
But we are NOT.

Christ is with us, he who has walked this way before us.
And what he has lived through is awaiting us also: “rise again.”
Rise to a life of unending happiness!


Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:


Source: Images:

18th Sunday of Year B – 2021

In the 1st reading of today’s celebration (Ex.16:2-4,12-15), we meet people greatly annoyed and showing clearly their discontent.
They grumble about their situation and reproach their leader, Moses, for having taken them where they are.

Their attitude is quite surprising:
We would think they would rejoice at having been freed from slavery and all its misery.
But they now regret their previous situation where they could enjoy bread and meat.

And in a parallel text they will even lament:
also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic” (Numbers 11:5).

Fast forward to the 21st century, to ourselves… and our own regrets!
Regrets… We all have some and for different reasons…

            • Failure in a business venture due to laziness.
            • Cherished goals not pursued through a lack of perseverance.
            • Dreams abandoned without reflection.
            • Repeated broken relationships out of selfishness.
            • Missed opportunities in many areas of life.
                • Dissatisfaction with the present when the past was so much better, it seems…

The ever-present temptations lurk in the dark area of our hearts:
lamenting, complaining, grumbling against others, searching for a scapegoat to escape responsibility…
All these will certainly not bring us to the ‘promised land’ – the land of serenity and happiness.

God is ready to give us what we need to sustain us on the way.
As he did for the people of Israel, he will provide us with whatever will enable us to keep going on the way.
He, himself, assures us:

“Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.”

 The assurance of his presence should be enough to renew our confidence and restore our peace of mind.


Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at:


Source: Image: Joanne Viola