Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Conversion Ordinance: Christian Institutions to Remain Closed on Oct. 24

A 16-member delegation of the Tamil Nadu Minorities Forum comprising archbishops, bishops, and leaders of Muslim groups, October 21 held talks with Ms. Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, on the controversial anti-conversion ordinance, but failed to elicit any assurance of withdrawal of the legislation from the CM, news reports reaching here from Chennai said.

With Ms. Jayalalithaa not giving any indication of withdrawing the ordinance, the "anti-conversion protest committee" as the group called itself, decided to go ahead with its proposed statewide stir October 24, according to Church of South India Bishop Devasahayam, who led the delegation.

The delegation comprised among others Archbishop Michael Augustin of Pondicherry-Cuddalur, Bishop Chinnappa of Vellore, Bishop Lawrence Paes, Auxiliary Bishop of Madras-Myalpore, Rev. Vincent Chinnadura, and Chennai Minorities Manram leader, Mr. Abdul Kadher.

Meanwhile, reports said that Ms. Jayalalithaa had assured the delegation that the ordinance against conversion was not aimed at any particular religion.

"The ordinance has been promulgated only to prevent conversions through force or allurement. It is not directed against any religion or minority communities," the Chief Minister told the 16-member team when it called on her at the Secretariat, an official press release said.

Later speaking to newspersons, Bishop Devasahayam said there was no change in their decision to close all the educational institutions run by minorities on October 24, since the chief minister had not given any indication of withdrawing the ordinance.

Nearly 600-odd educational institutions will remain closed on that day through Tamil nadu, as a mark of protest, the CSI bishop added.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

29 Week 2002, year II, Monday

First Reading Ephesians: 2:1-10
Gospel: Lk 12: 13 – 21


Security is a big issue with human beings, to some extent even with animals, I suppose. Human beings want to feel secure. We want to feel secure on different levels – physical, emotional, psychological, financial and so on. It is natural to seek security on these levels. But there might come a time when we feel over secure (just as we say over-confident). We may feel over secure on account of our good health, good physique, beauty, talents, intelligence, wealth and so forth.

In today’s gospel Jesus tells us: “a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.” To further explain this point he says the parable of the rich man, about which we are familiar.

The rich man is more than self-sufficient. His barns are overflowing; no place to store further. Even then from the manner of his talk it would seem that everything he has got is due to his own merit; not for a moment he thinks that what he has, is received as a gift from God.

Since he has no sense of receiving he also does not have a sense of giving. He is seems to be not generous. Rather he only thinks of storing/hoarding. Only when we feel that whatever we have is received as a gift from God then it makes us generous towards others.

The rich man’s only decision is to take it easy and enjoy life. He feels totally secure. He feels totally self-sufficent. Self-sufficiency is good. We should all try to be self-sufficient. But the moment it leads to selfishness and self-centredness, it becomes a curse. It may make us live as an island, cut off from others. So self-sufficiency can be a curse. This is true of all kinds of self-sufficiencies whether it is physical, mental, emotional, psychological or financial.

The rich man’s over-secure feeling was totally shattered when his soul was demanded by God, that same night.

Today we ask the Lord to free us from the feeling of over-security. Rather we thank the Lord for the times when we felt insecure at different levels. Such experiences can bring us closer to God, who can make us feel completely secure.