31 July, 2013

18th Sun in ordinary time - 4th Aug 2013

Valentine de Souza
9:17 AM (8 hours ago)
to bcc: me
What shall I do? I will store all my grain...
Eighteenth Sunday of the Year © 4 August, 2013
Luke 12: 13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”  Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable:
“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.  He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’  “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
Against foolishness
José Antonio Pagola
We know increasingly more of the social and economic situation Jesus encountered in the Galilee of the 30s. While wealth kept growing in the cities of Sephoris and Tiberias, hunger and misery kept increasing in the villages. The peasants remained landless and landowners built larger barns and silos.
   In a short story  preserved by Luke, Jesus reveals what he thought of that situation so contrary to the project willed by God, of a more humane world for all. He tells this parable not to denounce the abuses and outrages the landlords committed, but to expose the folly of those living in comfortable security.
   A wealthy landowner finds himself surprised by an unexpected large harvest.  He does not know what to do with such abundance. “What shall I do?” His monologue exposes the insane logic of the powerful who only live to hoard wealth and secure wellbeing while excluding the needy from their horizon.
   The rich man of the parable plans his life and takes his decisions. He will pull down the old barns and build other larger ones. There he will store up all his harvest. He can accumulate goods for many years.  Now on he will live only to enjoy himself: “relax, eat, drink and have a good time.” Unexpectedly, God interrupts his plans: “You fool, this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
   This man reduced his existence to enjoying the abundance of his possessions. All that exists at the centre of his life is he alone and his well-being. God is not there.  The workers who till the land don’t exist. The families of the villages struggling against hunger don’t count. God’s judgment  is unambiguous: it’s stupid and foolish to live this kind of a life.
   Today, practically all over the world inequality is increasing alarmingly. It’s a stark, inhuman reality: “The rich, specially the very rich, are becoming much richer, while the poor, specially the poorest, are becoming much poorer “ (Zygmunt Bauman).
   It is not something normal. Quite simply, it is the ultimate consequence of the most serious foolishness human beings are committing: replacing friendly cooperation, solidarity, and a search for the common good of humanity by competition, rivalry and a monopoly of goods in the hands of the most powerful people on the earth.
   On the part of the Church of Jesus present all over the world, the cry of his followers against such foolishness needs to be heard  as well as the reaction felt against the model that today guides human history.

Today's Homily - 2013-07-30 - Fr. Wade Menezes, CPM - St. Peter Chrysologus

28 July, 2013

FEAST OF ST ALPHONSAMMA - Xavier's parish Navrangpura.

The feast of St Alphonsamma was celebrated on 28th July 2013,  with colourful umbrellas used for the procession.
The photos show people getting ready for the procession.

27 July, 2013

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time C


July 28, 2013

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time C

Daily Mass Reading - Audio

“The Lord ’s Prayer”

We have the beautiful passage from the Gospel of Luke where Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray. In many places in Luke we see Jesus spending time in prayer. It seems he had a clear schedule of prayer in addition to the prayers at different occasions. The famous Bible commentator Plummer calls the Gospel of Luke “The gospel of Prayer”. The first verse itself says, “Jesus was praying in a certain place”- it can be a place where he used to pray or a place chosen by him for a special prayer. Any way prayer was an integral part of the daily schedule of Jesus.

Now seeing that the master is praying, the disciples get interested in prayer. See, how inspiring is the model than a thousand preaching on prayer. One of the disciples makes the request to Jesus, ‘Master, you pray daily, John too prayed. Moreover he taught his disciples to pray. Now kindly teach us also to pray’. The initiative comes from the disciple. Only when we acknowledge that we do not knowthe master can teach. The learner should feel the need of acquiring knowledge. Most of our spiritual learning is usually forced upon us. Only when we are thirsty we may realize how sweet the water is. Forced over eating will cause indigestion and flatulence. Let us have the humility to acknowledge before the Lord that we do not know.

**Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C

Valentine de Souza
Jul 23 (4 days ago)

**Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time ©
Luke 11, 1-13
Three counsels of Jesus
José Antonio Pagola

“I say to you: ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened.” Jesus could easily have said these words when he moved through the villages of Galilee begging for something to eat, looking for shelter and knocking at the doors of neighbors.  He knew how to make use of the most ordinary experiences of life to arouse the trust of his followers in the Good Father of all.

   Interestingly, we are never told at any time what we ought to ask for  or seek; nor are we told at which door we are to knock. The attitude is what matters for Jesus. Before the Father we are to live like the poor begging for what we need to live on, like the lost seeking the road we don’t know well,  like the helpless who knock at the door of God.

   The three counsels of Jesus invite us to raise trust in the Father, but they do so with different nuances. To “ask” is the attitude proper of the poor. We have to beg from God what we cannot give to ourselves: the breath of life, forgiveness, inner peace, salvation. “To seek” is not only to ask. It is, besides, taking steps to obtain what is not within our reach. Thus we have to seek above all the kingdom of God and his justice: a more humane and dignified world for all. “To call” is to  knock at the door, to insist, to call out to God when we feel him far away.

   The trust of Jesus in the Father is absolute. He wants his followers never to forget him: “ he who asks, receives, he who seeks finds, he who knocks has the door opened to him.”  Jesus does not say they receive exactly what they ask, find what they seek, or obtain what they call for. His promise is a different one: to those who trust in him, God gives; those who turn to him receive “good things”.

   Jesus does not give complicated explanations. He gives three examples which fathers and mothers of all times will understand. “Which  of you, fathers or mothers, if your son asks for a loaf of bread will give him a round shaped stone like those found along the roads? Or if asked for a fish will give him a water snake that sometimes appears in fishing nets? Or, if asked for an egg will give him a smashed scorpion found  on the shore of the lake?

   Parents  do not make fun of their children. They do not deceive them nor given them something that can harm them but “good things” . Jesus quickly draws the conclusion: “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” For Jesus, the best we can ask and receive from God is his Breath which sustains and saves our lives. 

21 July, 2013

Pope Francis welcomes Coptic pope to mark an important anniversary

The last days of Pope John Paul II - The untold stories (Cnn)

Bird in flight.(HD).Part-2.Must Watch.

Pope Francis

16th Sunday in ordinary Time

Mary Has chosen the better...


Luke 10, 38-42 

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried  and upset about many things,  but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

José Antonio Pagola

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time ©

Nothing more important

Luke 10: 38-42

The episode is somewhat surprising. The disciples accompanying Jesus have left the scene. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, is not there. In the house of the small town of Bethany, Jesus finds himself all alone with two women who adopt two different attitudes to his  arrival. 

   Martha, who undoubtedly is the elder sister, welcomes Jesus as the housekeeper and puts herself entirely at his service. It’s quite natural. According to the mentality of the time, dedication to the tasks of the home was the exclusive task of women. On the other hand. Maria, the younger sister, sits at the feet of Jesus to listen to what he says. Her attitude is surprising for she is taking the role proper of a “disciple” which belonged only  to men.

  At a certain point, Martha, absorbed by the work and overcome by fatigue, feels left alone by her sister and misunderstood by Jesus: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Why does she not tell her sister to do the work every woman should be doing and give up the place reserved for male disciples?

   The answer of Jesus is of great importance. Luke wrote this probably thinking of the disagreements and little conflicts that occurred in the early communities at the time of assigning various tasks: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is best and it will not be taken away from her.”

   At no time does Jesus criticize Martha about her attitude of service, a fundamental task in all following of Jesus, but he shows her not to be absorbed by her work to the point of losing her peace of mind. Then he reminds her that hearing his Word should be a priority for everyone, women too, and not a kind  of privilege of male members. 

   It is urgent to understand and organize the Christian community today, as a place where, first of all, the Gospel is welcomed in the midst of a secular and pluralistic society of our times. Nothing is more important, nothing more needed. We, men and women, believers and nonbelievers, must learn to gather together in small groups to listen to and share the message of Jesus.

   This listening to the Gospel in small “cells” can today become the “matrix” from which the fabric of our parishes in crisis will keep being regenerated. If ordinary people know the Gospel at first hand, enjoy it and demand it be implemented by the hierarchy, they will draw us all after Jesus.
 Translation by Vally D'Souza sj

15 July, 2013

16th Sunday of the year

Dear Friend,

We often complain that we have no time for ourselves because we have so many things to do. Yet when we do have free time on our hands we fill that time with all kinds of activities. Somehow we cannot sit still doing nothing! Even in our relationships with others, we want to do something. Often, more than our actions, people need our presence. In our relationship with God, do we want to do something for Him or can we just be with Him? Have a quiet weekend discovering God the stranger in our midst! Fr. Jude

Sunday Reflections: 16th Sunday of the Year "Welcome, entertain God, the stranger in our midst!" 21-Jul-2013

Today's first reading from Genesis describes God's homely visit to the house of Abraham and the warm welcome and generous hospitality God receives from Abraham. God appears in the garbs of three strangers who are passing by in front of Abraham's tent as he relaxes at mid-day. He does not recognize the divine visitors immediately but he goes out of his way to welcome them into his home and to offer them the best meal he can offer to make them comfortable. The strangers come with a special blessing from God for Abraham and his wife Sarah. After enjoying their hospitality, the strangers announce the promise of God that Sarah will bear a son. The story reveals how God deals familiarly and personally with his friends and is interested in their personal well-being. We need to be open to God's coming and promises.

In Greek mythology the story is told of how God Jupiter once visited the earth with his son Mercury. They disguised themselves as weary travelers and knocked on many doors in their search for shelter. Time after time they were ignored and left in the street. Eventually they came to a small cottage which was the home of an old couple Philemon and Baucis. When the two travelers knocked on the door, it was soon opened and they were welcomed inside. The old man filled a bowl with hot water so that the guests could wash; the old woman put on her apron and started to prepare a meal. While all this was happening the conversation flowed easily but no identities were revealed. When all was ready, the hot stew was placed on the table with a pitcher of wine. But as the wine was drunk it renewed itself in the pitcher, and the old couple were struck with terror when they realized they were entertaining gods. They implored forgiveness for their poor hospitality but the gods invited them to make a wish. As they discussed it in between them the old couple expressed their shared prayer: "Since we have passed our life together in love and concord we wish to die at the same time so neither of us has to live in grief." Their prayer was answered and when they grew very old they both died in peace. - We are all visited by God and invited to welcome Him and his word and give it our full attention. The way we continue having God as our guest, is when we welcome his word and attend to it. In a way, we are the Lord's host and guest.
Denis McBride in 'Seasons of the Word'

In today's gospel Jesus speaks of keeping the greatest of the commandments -the only commandment to be observed, the commandment of love. He combines the teaching of the law from Deuteronomy and Leviticus: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and love your neighbour as yourself.' The disciples were ready to accept the first part of the commandment, that of loving God with full commitment, but who is the neighbour whom they were called to love? Is the neighbour literally the one next door? Is the neighbour a person of my ethnic group? Is my neighbour one from my religious sect or group? Jesus in the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that neither religion, nor nationality can set limits to one's responsibility to come to the aid of our fellow human being. The duty to help a needy human being cannot be coloured by personal feelings or inclinations. The Samaritan showed by his actions that he recognized his neighbour even in the hated Jew. The lawyer who came to Jesus asked: Who is my neighbour? Jesus could have answered with a definition or short answer but he was more concerned about responding to the person behind the question. After telling the parable Jesus asked the lawyer, 'Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour?' The changed question shifted the emphasis from defining the restrictions of neighbourly love to exploring the demands of love. We therefore dare not ask, 'Who is my neighbour?' but rather, 'How can I be a good neighbour?' The love of God cannot be separated from the love of our neighbour. There is only one commandment and there can be only one love, the love of God seen in the way we deal with any and every human being. God is love and the only way to come to him is in love. The time for this love is now. And the place for its expression is today's reality as it meets me on the road and stares me in the face.

We do not live on bread alone
I remember some years ago when I used to visit home, I just wanted to spend a little time sitting and talking and my mother was always trying to serve something to eat, even if I had just had supper. Frustrating! Now she is in a nursing home and when I visit, she is not trying to feed me. We both just enjoy the visit. On the other hand, I have heard from so many wives how their husbands never have time to sit down and talk. They're always busy doing something or else half asleep in front of the TV. They complain "I feel like I'm all alone." In too many families today, the family members are too busy to listen to one another, to talk to one another, to feed one another emotionally. We do not live on bread alone! In today's gospel Jesus says; "Mary has chosen the better part."  Perhaps he was saying to Martha, "This is a golden opportunity; here is the Son of God coming to visit you and you're worried about chopping up the parsley!" or perhaps he was saying "you're trying to put out an eight course meal, Martha, and we would be happy with just a sandwich," or perhaps he was saying "maybe we ought to think of feeding the spirit before feeding our faces;" or perhaps he was saying "maybe we need to spend a little time enjoying each other's company before we get all uptight about dinner."
Joe Robinson in 'Guiding Light'

Focus on what is more important
There was a man who wanted to prove his love for his wife. So he climbed the highest mountain and swam the deepest sea. When he returned, his wife was gone because he was never at home! There is another story about a father who after work would take a long walk with his teenage daughter. He took great pleasure in her company. Suddenly she began to offer almost daily excuses as to why she could not accompany him. He was hurt but he held his tongue. Finally his birthday arrived. His daughter presented him a sweater she had knitted. Then he realized that she had done her knitting when he was out of the house for his walk. He said to her, "Martha, Martha, I do appreciate this sweater. But I value your company infinitely more. A sweater I can buy in any store. But you I cannot buy. Please never abandon me again." -People need company, a listener. In our daily life, it is important to focus on the right thing. Sometime we forget what is important and we focus on the wrong thing. This is what the gospel reading teaches us today.
John Pichappilly in 'The Table of the Word'

"Jesus drops by to visit his friends Mary and Martha. Martha fussed about getting a meal for Jesus while Mary sits listening to him. Mary complains about the unfairness of the situation but Jesus seems to take the part of Mary and says, "Martha. Martha, you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part; it is not to be taken from her." This story is not a condemnation of activity and an extolling of contemplation. The story comes immediately after the Parable of the Good Samaritan which has the clear message that you cannot be a loving person if you do not get up and do something for others. The story makes the point that if our activity is to be wise and fruitful there must also be times of stillness, of prayer, of being in touch with our own inner worlds and being open to intimacy - to hear the inner worlds of others. Christian meditation is just being still in the presence of the Lord. It is a being still with truth, the creation of a space where our inner selves can speak. It is a way of accepting our whole being in such a way that our inner spiritual and emotional lives will be integrated with the activities in which we engage. It is a prayer that will make us recognize the subtle ways in which we all become imprisoned and lead us out of these prisons into more wholesome relationships with ourselves, others and ultimately with God."
Gerry Pierse

What a waste of time!
The wedding of Tessie and John was one of the great social events of the early 1980's. The social columns in the newspapers wrote up how lovely they looked and how blessed they both were with foreign degrees in management. As addition to their competence they also had enough family influence to land them in managerial positions within a few years. Now, fourteen years later they have four beautiful children living in a beautiful house, cared for by the best maids, attended to by the best physicians when they get sick, enrolled in the best schools. They themselves leave the house early in the morning in their separate cars. They are successful but at a price. They are slaves of the culture in which they live and of the expectations that their roles impose on them. They often have to socialize with the right people even if they would much prefer to be at home. Seldom do they have time to really be with one another - to be without a schedule or an agenda. The children have become projects to be managed rather than human beings with which to waste time. Already the school has been reporting rebellious attention gaining behavior in their eldest child. How could this be when they had got the best of everything from their parents? Maybe they got presents instead of presence! -The story of Tessie and John might be a modern parable on the issue that Jesus tackles in today's Gospel story.
Gerry Pierse in 'Sundays into Silence'

God is frequently calling on us! May we be hospitable and caring towards our neighbour!

Fr. Jude Botelho

PS. The stories, incidents and anecdotes used in the reflections have been collected over the years from books as well as from sources over the net and from e-mails received. Every effort is made to acknowledge authors whenever possible. If you send in stories or illustrations I would be grateful if you could quote the source as well so that they can be acknowledged if used in these reflections.
These reflections are also available on my Web site www.NetForLife.net Thank you.

14 July, 2013

Rains on 13th July 2013XICA

XICA building on 14th morning.


St Xavier's Church Navrangpura

Church, Navrangpura.
Photos by Devasia M 14th July 2013

10 July, 2013

Buy humble bicycles, Pope advises future priests, nuns

CNA Daily News on July 9th, 2013
Additional reporting by Marta Jimenez Ibanez from Rome.

Vatican City, Jul 9, 2013
“I think that bicycles are necessary because there’s a lot of work to do and you have to move around but get a humbler one!” Pope Francis told seminarians and novices July 7 in the Vatican’ s Paul VI Hall.
“And, if you like that beautiful car, think about how many children are dying of hunger, just (think of) that!” he told the approximately 6,000 young adults.
Pope Francis met with the young seminarians and novices to mark the end of their four-day pilgrimage to Rome sponsored by the Vatican as part of the Year of Faith.
“I’m telling you, truly, it hurts me when I see a priest or a sister with a brand new car. But you can’t (do that), you can’t!” he commented.
“Now, you’re thinking, ‘but then, father, must we go by bike?’” the Pope asked. “Bikes are nice,” he replied, noting, “Monsignor Alfred goes by bike, he does it.”
The pontiff also advised them to always be coherent in living out their vocation so that their testimony will be credible.
“True joy doesn’t come from things. No, it is born of an encounter, of the relationship with the other,” he said.
“It’s born of feeling ourselves accepted, understood, loved and of accepting, understanding and loving,” the Pope said. “And this is not for interests of the moment but because others are people.”

15th Sunday in ordinary time - reflections - Vally D'Souza sj


Luke 10: 25-37
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ 3 ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 4 ’”  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said:

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two silver coins 5 and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” 
Do not pass by

José Antonio Pagola

“Be compassionate as your heavenly Father is compassionate.” This is the legacy Jesus has left humanity. To understand the revolution he wants to introduce into history we must CAREFULLY  read his story of the “Good Samaritan”. In it he describes the attitude we have to promote beyond our beliefs and ideological or religious positions, to bring about a more humane world.

   By the side of a deserted road there lies a human being, robbed, assaulted, stripped of all he has, half dead, left to his fate. Jesus summed up the situation of so many innocent victims unjustly battered and abandoned on so many road sides of history.

   Over the horizon appear two travelers: first a priest, then a levite – both of them belong to the respectable world of the official religion of Jerusalem. Both behave in the same way: “they see the wounded man, and pass by on the other side.” Both of them close their eyes  and their hearts. That man doesn’t exist for them. They pass him over without stopping. This is Jesus’ radical criticism of every religion unable to engender in its members a compassionate heart. What meaning does such a religion lacking in humanity have?

   Along the way comes a third person. He is not  a priest or a levite.  He does not even belong to the religion of the Temple. However, on arrival “when he saw him, he took pity on him and went to him.” Then he does all he can for that unknown man to revive him and restore his dignity. This is the motive force Jesus wants to bring into the world.

   The first thing is not to close our eyes; to learn to “look at” the one who suffers in a careful and responsible manner. This look can free us from the egoism and indifference that allows us to live with a peaceful conscience in the midst of so many innocent victims. At the same time we must “be moved” and allow their suffering to hurt us too.

   What’s crucial is to react and to get close to those who suffer not to ask if we have an obligation or not to help, but to find out at first hand what it means to be someone in need calling for help from us. The way we react will reveal to us the kind of human beings we are.

   All this is not theory. The Samaritan in the story does not feel obliged to follow a particular religious or moral code. Quite simply, he responds to the situation of the wounded man by inventing  all kinds of practical ways of alleviating his suffering and restoring his life and dignity. Jesus ends with these words: “Go and do likewise.”

Help to restore compassion in the world

06 July, 2013

14th Sunday of the year

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time [C]

Lectio: 14th Sunday of ordinary time (C)

Sunday, July 7, 2013  
The sending of the 72 disciples
Rebuilding Community Life
Luke 10:1-12.17-20
1. Opening prayer
Lord Jesus, send your Spirit to help us to read the Scriptures with the same mind that you read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, you helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of your sentence and death. Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection.
Create in us silence so that we may listen to your voice in Creation and in the Scriptures, in events and in people, above all in the poor and suffering. May your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples from Emmaus, may experience the force of your resurrection and witness to others that you are alive in our midst as source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of you, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed to us the Father and sent us your Spirit. Amen.
2. Reading
a) A key to the reading:
Jesus’ preaching draws many people (Mk 3:7-8). A small community begins to form around him. At first, two persons (Mk 1:16-18); then another two (Mk 1:19-20); then twelve (Mk 3:13-19); and now in our text, more than seventy-two persons (Lk 10:1). The community continues to grow. One thing Jesus insists on is community life. He set the example. He never wished to work alone. The first thing he did at the beginning of his preaching in Galilee was to call people to live with him and share in his mission (Mk 1:16-20; 3,14). The ambience of fraternity that grows around Jesus is a foretaste of the Kingdom, a proof of the new experience of God with the Father. Thus, if God is Father and Mother, then we are all one family of brothers and sisters. Thus is the community born, the new family (cf. Mk 3:34-35).
This Sunday’s Gospel tells us of practical things to direct the seventy-two disciples in their proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom and in rebuilding community life.

Pope Faernacis' first encyclical[ Letter] : The Light of Faith

Pope Francis' New encyclical 'the Light of Faith'

Programma Indiano-Inglese <engindia@vatiradio.va>
16:53 (21 hours ago)

to Programma
Dear Friends,

Pope Francis’ first encyclical entitled "Lumen fidei" or “The Light of Faith” was released Friday at a press conference in the Vatican. The document completes the trilogy of papal teachings on the three theological virtues, begun by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who issued his encyclicals "Deus Caritas Est" on Charity in 2005 and "Spe Salvi" on Hope in 2007.

Brief report:

Announcing the forthcoming publication of his first encyclical, Pope Francis described it as a work of “four hands”, begun by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who passed on his draft for the new pope to complete. The document certainly continues many of Benedict’s favourite themes, from the complementarity of faith and reason, to the joy of a personal encounter with Christ. Firmly situated in the Year of Faith, it’s also set in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, which re-established the central role of Faith at the heart of all human relationships.

Divided into four chapters and a short introduction, the encyclical sets out to show how Faith in the Risen Christ can lead us beyond the narrow confines of individual existence into the all-inclusive community of God’s love. Rather than the notion of ‘blind faith’, which impedes scientific progress and must be kept to the private sphere of personal convictions, we’re called to rediscover the light that can guide all people from the darkness of selfish desires towards a more just and fraternal world, grounded in the faithful promises of God the Creator.

The first chapter takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the Old and New Testaments, from Abraham, who first hears God’s call, through the Israelites travelling towards the light of the Promised Land, to Jesus’ death on the Cross, the ultimate act of God’s love for humanity. The more we are touched by the transforming power of that love, writes the Pope, the better we are able to understand our relationship to all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Chapter two insists on the essential link between Faith and Truth, without which our beliefs seem nothing more than a fairy story, an illusion of happiness, unable to sustain us when the going gets tough. Contemporary society, the encyclical says, tends to see technological progress and individual pleasure as the only objective truth, viewing any broader questions about the origins of our existence with deep suspicion. Without love in our hearts, truth becomes cold, impersonal, oppressive, unable to transform the lives of others. But by listening, seeing and believing in Christ’s presence in our lives today, we can broaden our horizons and find better ways of serving the common good. The light of our faith in Christ can also contribute to a more fruitful dialogue with non-Christians and non-believers, showing how all those who search for God or seek for truth will be welcomed and illuminated by that light.

The third chapter of the encyclical centres on the Church as the place where the light of faith is safeguarded and transmitted from one generation to the next. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, through profession of the Creed, praying the Our Father and obeying the Ten Commandments, the Church teaches the language of faith and draws us into the Trinitarian relationship of love, so that ‘whoever believes is never alone’. The final chapter focuses on Faith and the common good and shows how the light of faith can promote peace and reconciliation, and teach respect for God’s creation. The encyclical also considers those areas illuminated by Faith, starting with the family based on marriage, understood as a stable union between man and woman. Faith, writes the Pope, cannot eliminate suffering in our world, but it can accompany us and bring a new sense of hope in God’s love. The encyclical ends with a prayer to Mary, Mother of Jesus and icon of faith, who can lead us into the light of God’s love.

01 July, 2013

Golden Jubilee of Fr Jerry and Terrence Lobo - 50 years in the Society of Jesus.

 Golden jubilee of Fr Jerry F and Terrence Lobo was celebrated by Gurjarvani community on 30th at 8 pm at Gurjarvani Garden.

Parish council celebrates Golden Jubilee of Fr Jerry Fernandez sj in the parish hall

On 30th June 2013 the Golden Jubilee of Fr Jerry Fernandez SJ was celebrated with the Parish Council members in the Parish hall of St Xavier's Parish Hall   Navrangpura, Ahmedabad.
A beautiful write up about Fr Jerry was also given to each parish council member. The write up is uploaded in the previous post on this Blog.
Fr Vally Dias left for Bombay since his mother is not keeping well. We ashall pray for her.

“GOD OF SURPRISES” - Fr Jerry Fernanadez sj

Reflections of a Jesuit after 50 years in the Society of Jesus.
If asked, “When did you dream or decide to become a Jesuit?” my honest answer would be “I didn’t, but some higher power had this dream for me and I am not sure I had much of a say in the matter. Somewhat like an eagle that flows and glides with the currents of the air, allowing it to guide its flight into the unknown.” And after 50 years, one is convinced of it. A simple “yes” to situations that God or His people ask you to respond to, to the best of your ability. Jesus once said, “You did not choose me but I have chosen you”, but he could also have added, “sometimes because of who you are and mostly despite of what you are.” And that humbling mystery carries on day after day in a Jesuit’s life. This is no pious platitude. This is based on a personal experience, as evidences in my life about this “God of surprises” who works in our lives.
I remember when I was 15, I had a deep aversion and dislike for priests. I was even once beaten in school for not wanting to be a priest as I found most of them humourless, fat and grumpy. Then I saw a strange Spanish priest, Fr. Perez SJ, as I practiced running on the beaches of 7 bungalows near Versova in Mumbai. I avoided him like the plague. He came cycling from Marine lines just for a swim (38 kms.) and then went back. But he always smiling and laughing as he said hello. When I realized he was not interested whether I went for mass or not, said the rosary or not, I decided to speak with him and found he was a Spanish Jesuit doing his studies in Sanskrit and Pali but working in Gujarat. When he found out I played football he asked me if I would be interested in a small football camp in Ahmedabad in summer 1961, I said yes and that was my first taste of Gujarat and the Jesuits. Later, I asked him whether education was the only thing they did, he mentioned the mission stations. I went to a place called Amod and a certain holy Jesuit priest, Fr. Cabanach took me by motorcycle to a village for mass and then “something happened”. A child of 3-4 years was eating some grams and when I looked at her she got up and gave me some of her few grams. When I saw that child’s eyes, I just knew I wanted to live and die as a Jesuit in such a village. I never told anybody about this haunting and disturbing experience for over a year but quietly researched who these Jesuits were and what they did.
Later I told my parents who encouraged me but they were honestly skeptical since it was my brother who was temperamentally priestly material. The Provincial (Bishop Charles Gomes SJ) told me “no college, just go to the novitiate in Bangalore” as I think he felt that I would drift away. We were 17 who entered the Novitiate in 1963 and only 6 made it to the priesthood. The strange thing is that those 11 who went left for some valid reason or the other were spiritually very sound and intellectually far superior. Maybe that’s why they did not fit in. They are still serving the Church as exemplary laymen or society at large and one of them is a top class scientist in NASA still leading a simple life as an austere monk and a celibate. For some strange reason, God still chooses illiterate fisherfolk compared to the learned, which may not sound very complimentary but it does endorse the adage, that “with God all things are possible”.          
Perhaps my present assignment as Assistant PP in this Parish is a fairly good reflection of my Jesuit journey. It’s gratifying to know that I can try my best to bring meaning into people’s lives despite my physical handicaps and other shortcomings. Henri Nouwen aptly put it, A priest is “a wounded healer” called to heal and at the same time wounded and vulnerable himself. A privilege perhaps, to serve God, but definitely a meaningful and serious responsibility.
                                                                        - Fr. Jerry Fernandez SJ.