Saturday, September 28, 2002

Thoughts for Sunday

- Prayer ... 'The degree of our faith is the degree of our prayer. The strength of our hope is the strength of our prayer. The warmth of our charity is the warmth of our prayer.' -- C. Carretto

- Example is not the main things in influencing others - it is the only thing -- A Schweitzer

- I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun - not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else -- C.S Lewis


CBCI Condemns Modi's remark against the Pope

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has urged the Catholic community "to see through the evil designs in the statement made recently by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi, during his 'Gaurav Yatra' against the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II."

A press statement issued September 24 by the chief spokesperson of the CBCI, Fr. Donald de Souza, said that Mr. Modi's remarks against the Pope is disrespectful and insulting. Mr. Modi during his 'Gaurav Yatra' had said that the "Pope in Rome must have advised her (Sonia) to get our 'Gaurav Yatra' postponed."

Fr. Donald said the Pope is not only the spiritual leader of millions of Catholics all over the world but also the head of the Vatican City, which has diplomatic relations with India and he does not interfere in the internal matters of any country.

The President of CBCI, Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios of Trivandrum, terming the accusation of Mr. Modi as hurtful said, "This is a futile attempt to establish a link between the Pope and Sonia Gandhi by the Chief Minister of Gujarat and divert the attention of people of Gujarat from the main issues which the State is facing at present."

The Secretary General of CBCI, Bishop Percival Fernandes, said, "It is unfortunate to note through the Press that Mr. Modi in his speech during 'Gaurav Yatra' has disrespectfully involved the name of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, who is the respected spiritual guide of the Catholic community in India."

The CBCI has called upon the Central Government to take serious note of the statement made by the Gujarat Chief Minister against the spiritual leader of the Catholic community and take necessary action against him for defaming the name of Pope.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Notable Quotes

Love, friendship, respect, do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something - Anton Chekov
No doubt religion has to answer for some of the most terrible crimes in history. But that is the fault not of religion but of the ungovernable brute in man - Mahatma Gandhi

25 Week of the Year II, Saturday
Readings: Ecclesiastes 11: 9-12: 8, Lk 9: 43-45

Very few of us would like to face unpleasant questions, events in our life. Very of us would like to face hard realities, difficult times. For instance, the First Reading reminds us , specially the young, of the evil days that might come and the approaching years when we might say, ‘These give me no pleasure’.

For the twelve disciples of Jesus perhaps it was easy to follow Jesus at first. Of course, not to forget that they had left everything to follow him. But behind that leaving everything they had looked forward to some glory. Humanly speaking many of them had harboured great ambitions – perhaps becoming ministers in his Kingdom; sitting at his right and left in that Kingdom …etc., Sure enough for a while they felt that they were getting there. Their master was performing many miracles, doing a lot of good works and becoming very popular. Here was someone they could follow, trust their lives with.

But according to today’s gospel passage “at a time when everyone was full admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘for your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.’” We are told the disciples didn’t understand what Jesus said. Surely they must have got a bit disillusioned when they heard this. Perhaps they never expected such a pessimistic outlook from their master. They felt unable to come to terms with such a dark portent. So “they were even afraid to ask him about what he had just said.”

The disciples mirror our own existential situation and everyday dilemmas. We ask the Lord to give us the strength to face the hard realities of our lives.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

-Appeals for Peace and Harmony-

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) strongly condemns the attack on the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Tuesday, 24 September , in which more than forty people including women and children have been killed and more than sixty have been injured. In a statement issued on the same day afternoon by the deputy secretary general of CBCI, Fr. Donald D’Souza, an appeal for peace and harmony was made.

It stated "the Christian Community is horrified to note that the killings took place in a place of worship, where hundreds of devotees had gathered for prayer and spiritual solace." Expressing his deep sadness at the horrible tragedy, the President of the CBCI, Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios said, "The killing of innocent devotees in the temple is a blatant attempt on the part of anti-social and anti-democratic forces to disturb the religious harmony of the country."

Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi and Vice President of the CBCI said, "The Church is appalled at the attack on the Swaminarayan Temple. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of devotees, killed by the terrorists and to the injured. Such acts can never be justified and they must be condemned by all in the strongest terms possible."

The Secretary General of the CBCI, Bishop Percival Fernandes, expressing his deep shock at the attack said, "It is an attack on our secular and democratic traditions and on the heritage of religious harmony of India."

The CBCI appeals to all people in the country to maintain peace and harmony at a time when the country is facing many challenges from various quarters. It appeals in a special way the Christian Community of India to remember all those killed in the temple attack, the injured and their families in their prayers. It calls upon the Central and the State Governments to provide adequate protection for places of worship all over the country.

Fr. Augustine elected Vice-Rector of St. Charles Seminary in place of Fr. John Kusumalayam, who left for higher studies to Belgium on 8 September. Congratulations and Best Wishes to Augustine.
Week 25, Year II, Friday
Readings: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11, Lk 9: 18-22
( 27 September: Memory of St. Vincent de Paul)

In the gospel reading Jesus poses two important questions: the first is more general in nature: “Who do the crowd say I am?” The second is more personal one: “But you – who do you say I am?”

This particular passage appears in the Synoptics more or less in the middle of Jesus ministry. We believe that Jesus wanted to know from his hearers and disciples as to who he is. We have different answers for this question: some saying that he is John the Baptist, others Elijah and yet others say one of the ancient prophet come back to life.

When we come to the personal question Peter says that Jesus is the Christ. In line with this answer, in general we can say that Abdul Kalam is the President of India. But for those who have lived with him and those who have read about him he is a good human being, a learned and yet humble man. In the same way those who know Christ closely can tell in a personal way as to who he is.

The important point is who is Jesus for me personally? What is our answer? Many – for instance St. Thomas Apostle, St. Paul, St. Dominic - have given different answers to the question. For example St. Vincent de Paul, whose feast we celebrate today experienced Christ in the poor. What is my answer? Is he for me, as the Psalmist says: “my rock,” “my love,” “my stronghold,” “my saviour,” “my place of refuge”?

Fr. Maxim D’Silva, OP

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time, Year II: Thursday
First Reading: Eccl 1,2-1;1Gospel: Lk 9,7-9

There are different ethical attitudes in the Bible. For example, Deuteronomy 4,1-2 insists on thorough following of the Law to its letter. However, we also find an ethical outlook, which provides a gentle and cynical attitude towards life, as we have it in the first reading today. There the author of Ecclesiastes urges the reader to take life easy and not be anxious about trivial things in life. Perhaps this attitude in the Bible seems to balance the over-emphasis on following to the letter of the Law and thereby being anxious. In God’s Providence, human beings are not to be anxious about many things and especially unimportant ones.

The ethical attitude in the NT is no different from Ecclesiastes. Jesus was also assuring the people of his Father’s providence and therefore not to be anxious about many things (Cf. Mt 6,25f: “That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear…” See also Lk 10,38-42, where Jesus tells: “‘Martha, Martha, you worry and fret about so many things…’”).

Usually, we are anxious and worried about many things in our life. We are anxious about what will happen in the afternoon, what will happen in the evening or tomorrow or in the future. We may also be anxious when we commit a sin and wait in expectation as to what will happen to us (The psychologists call this as “anticipatory anxiety”).

In the Gospel of today we find that Herod was anxious to find out who Jesus was. He was not anxious to find out about Jesus in order to become his follower as it happened in the case of Zacchaeus. He was anxious because he had beheaded a righteous man John the Baptist and now was under fear and threat if this man Jesus would bring him disaster.
My dear friends, if we acknowledge ourselves to be the children of God and trust in his Providence we do not have to be anxious about many things. Everyday during the Eucharist, after the ‘Our Father’ the priest prays “…and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.” We as Christians, who have been given the gift of the virtue of hope, then, need not be anxious about what will happen to us.

In the field of psychology, a person who is always frightened or worried about things that you consider unimportant is called a “neurotic”. Many of us who worry or get frightened can fall under this category of “neurosis”. In modern psychology, that word is no longer used. However, a polished word such as “anxiety disorder” is used to designate the same disorder.

Dear friends, let us not fall into the above category to be called a “neurotic” or as a person suffering from “anxiety disorder”. Let us trust in His Providence and with hope let us partake in this Eucharist that he will deliver us from all anxiety.

Fr. Augustine, OP

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Books worth reading:Wings of Fire, Ignited Minds by APJ Abdul Kalam
Film worth watching
Signs by Night Shyamalan
Courses available:
1) Journalism - print, radio and TV,
2) Media Education
3) Media Sociology
4) Media Ethics
5) Lumen Gentium - document on the Church in the Modern World
Talks available:
a) Computer Fundamentals,
b) Technology and Spirituality,
c) Computer maintenance,
d) Internet Fundamentals
e) Retreat Talks
25th Week Year II, Wednesday
Readings: Proverbs 30: 5-9, Lk 9: 1-6

In today’s gospel Jesus gives mission guidelines to his disciples: preach, heal and what not to take for the ministry. What to take? Question is: how practicable is Jesus’ guidelines?

Not impossible – to take it literally and practice. The disciples, great saints such as Sts. Francis and Dominic have put them into practice. They founded the mendicant orders whereby the preachers will be taken care of by the people to whom they ministered.
The question is: how practicable in the present day? As Catholics our life is guided by Tradition, Scripture and the Present day teaching of the Church.

The present teaching of the Church interprets the Word of God and makes it relevant to our times. The present teaching of the Church does speak about adapting to the modern times. The Vatican, the Curia and the Pope himself have adapted too the contemporary times. The Pope himself, who is the successor of Christ, is given the best facilities, for him to carry on his ministry effectively. Recently the Pope spoke about using the internet as the new means of evangelization.

Of course, the principles stand: the principle of simplicity, poverty and availability for the sake of the gospel. In the present day context, what the gospel passage of today wants to tell us is this: our primary focus should be on the gospel and not on the things surrounding it. The preacher should not be distracted by secondary considerations.

Ultimately, we should pray what the Proverb says in today’s first reading: “give me neither poverty nor riches”. For both are bad. Grinding poverty defaces human dignity. Even Christ wasn’t poor in this sense.

And richness is a great obstacle in the way of finding God, being in touch with reality around us and attaining true peace and happiness. Therefore each of us pray today that the Lord does not give us neither poverty nor riches so that we may be free for the gospel.