Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 22 - June 03 - June 09, 2017

01 Cover

posted May 31, 2017, 7:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:34 AM ]

03 Index

posted May 31, 2017, 7:33 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:33 AM ]

04 Official & Engagements

posted May 31, 2017, 7:31 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:32 AM ]

05 Editorial - Shaped, Strengthened and Sent in the Spirit - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted May 31, 2017, 7:28 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:29 AM ]

Originally, Pentecost in Greek meaning (Fiftieth) was the Jewish feast of the harvest counting fifty days from Passover to the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot). The first disciples maintained this chronology, to symbolically designate the fulfilment of the Paschal Mystery in the descent of the Holy Spirit, the creation of the Church - the harvest of Easter. The liturgy of the Feast of Pentecost celebrates the birth of the Church, shaped, strengthened and sent in the Spirit on a mission to proclaim the good news of salvation from untruth and evil in the world.

The Church begins with the descent of the Holy Spirit, in the collective outburst of Pentecostal enthusiasm recalled in the Acts of the Apostles, with the disciples overwhelmed by a gale force wind, and flames of fire resting on each of them, releasing them into strange tongues, began ecstatically praising God. The bystanders were bewildered and exclaimed. 'And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language, telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God?" The creation of the Church, occurred in this eruption of mutually unintelligible languages, in which nevertheless the mighty works of God were praised, the truth of the good news proclaimed and understood by all and sundry.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church was, not so wild and emotional, totally out of control, like the story of Babel as this scene might suggest. Rather, we find St Paul describing a considerable degree of order and stability of truth: every disciple has his or her own gift, ministry, and way of working: 'To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit of truth for the common good.'

The community, pervaded by the Holy Spirit, already displays a certain shape, common aims and shared responsibilities. Moreover, Paul declares, no individual can proclaim 'Jesus is Lord' subjectively except through the power of Holy Spirit- the Advocate of truth. For Christians, the Lord was revealed to be Jesus; but to see Jesus as the Only Lord you have to see Him with the eyes of faith, you have to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. That is how the Holy Spirit creates the Church and individuals as Christians based on truth and not subjective opinion.

What does it mean to say Jesus is Lord? "Receive the Holy Spirit", the Risen Lord tells the disciples, in the scene described by St John: "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." This is no emphasis on dramatic hysteria. Only if you are led by the Spirit of truth, can you understand and accept the other to be able to forgive and bring about the gift of Peace to the world.

We live in an age characterised by a Post-truth or post-factual culture in which what is right and true morally, economically and socially is determined by subjective opinions and appealing to emotional majority debates on social and multi- media. Factual rebuttals are ignored and objective truth is given no significance, resulting in a Babel like confusion and chaos.

In this context, the Pentecostal mission mandate, must be taken seriously by Christians in every generation. Just as Christ was sent into the world by the Father, on a mission charged with the responsibility of exposing and resisting evil in the world, as well to heal, forgive and make the world holy, He sends us with the gift of the Spirit to speak this truth of the good news of salvation.

Pentecost, then, must be a day when we remember the countless ways in which the Holy Spirit shapes the Church as an institution and ourselves as individuals; and must resolve that in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, to take a stand for good and against evil.

06 Connecting with Nature - Bishop Allwyn D’Silva

posted May 31, 2017, 7:27 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:27 AM ]

World Environment Day (WED) was designated by the UN General Assembly in 1972 at a Conference on Human Environment, resulting from discussions on the integration of human interactions and the environment. In 1974, the first WED was held with the theme 'Only One Earth'. Even though WED celebrations have been held annually since 1974, the idea for rotating the centre of these activities by selecting different host countries began in 1987.

'Connecting People to Nature' - the theme for World Environment Day 2017 - implores us to get outdoors and into Nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share. This year's theme invites us to think about how we are part of Nature, and how intimately we depend on it. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship.

World Environment Day is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action, and takes place every June 5. This year's host country, Canada, got to choose the theme, and will be at the centre of celebrations around the planet.

The value of Nature

In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems (such as global warming) are helping us to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support our own prosperity and well-being.

For example, the world's oceans, forests and soils act as vast stores for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane; farmers and fisher-folk harness Nature on land and under water to provide us with food; scientists develop medicines using genetic material drawn from the millions of species that make up the Earth's astounding biological diversity.

Billions of rural people around the world spend every working day 'connected to Nature' and appreciate fully their dependence on natural water supplies, and how Nature provides their livelihoods in the form of fertile soil. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation.


08 Who is the Holy Spirit?  - Dom Desa

posted May 31, 2017, 7:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:26 AM ]

Pentecost – it's all about 'empowerment'

When some of the early believers were asked by the disciples: "Have you received the Holy Spirit?" Their answer was the question above: "Who is the Holy Spirit"? Perhaps for many of us, also, the Holy Spirit is, and remains, a mysterious figure. We are told that He is the third person in the Blessed Trinity; but that's about it. We know Jesus and the Father. But the Holy Spirit?!? O, yes, He is the 'dove' that came down on Jesus, when He was baptised by John in the river Jordan. And so it suits us to treat the Blessed Trinity as an enigma.

Today, of course, with the Charismatic, and other renewal movements making waves across all denominations and churches, the "praying in tongues," the baptism in (of) the Holy Spirit, there is a lot more ‘knowledge' about Him. Not all of this is factual. Some may be embellished by Christians who claim to be baptised in the Spirit, have the gift of tongues, healing, prophecy etc. We do not dispute that the Holy Spirit does lavish us with a rich variety of His fruit; that is what all of these are. But the Spirit has greater gifts which He wants to bestow on us. And all of these can be summed up in one word - 'empowerment'.

Pentecost – it's all about 'empowerment'

We are in the season of Pentecost. To most of us, this is a commemoration of that first Pentecost, when the disciples were assembled in the Upper Room, and the Holy Spirit descended on them as tongues of fire. This is because Jesus had commanded them to gather there, and said that He would send the Holy Spirit who would empower them to go out and preach the Good News.

And that's exactly what happened. After the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they were empowered to go out and speak with power and conviction. This is what caused waves of people to repent; people who became believers; people who felt convicted. The disciples didn't do all this. The Holy Spirit in them was at work. And that is what the Holy Spirit does in each of us who receive Him in faith and with sincerity. That is when Pentecost becomes a meaningful and an ongoing experience for each of us. Not just a one-time infilling.

When the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit, they went to the ends of the earth to preach the Good News. Because that is what Christ had commanded them to do. Maybe that is not what He expects of each of us. But He certainly wants to empower us with the same powerful Spirit that impels us to live a Christ-focused life.

The gift of the Holy Spirit

"The Holy Spirit is the intimate communion that makes Jesus and His Father one." John 14:10 says: "I am in the Father and the Father is in me "… "The Father and I are one" (Jn 10:30). It is this unity that Jesus wants to give us. This is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Why, then, do we not receive this gift which the Father and the Son offer us freely – so we can be one with them?


10 Pentecost can be summed up in one word - Eddy D'Sa

posted May 31, 2017, 7:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:24 AM ]

I think it's generally true that people are always looking to improve, to change their lives for the better. That's why there are so many commercials for diet and exercise products – lots of people out there trying to change their appearance for the better, change their lives for the better. Isn't that why people go to conferences and seminars? Isn't that why people go to counsellors and psychologists? Join exercise classes, weight-watchers' groups and read self-help books? People want to be changed for the better. What is it about yourself that you would like to change? Is it the way you look? Something to do with your health? Something to do with your level of expertise on a certain subject? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

God is interested in change. He's interested in changing us. Today is Pentecost Sunday, and as we take a look at what happened on Pentecost many years ago, we see that God changed many people's lives. Two major changes took place on Pentecost. Change number one was what happened to the disciples. They still didn't fully understand Jesus' mission, why He had come to earth. They were confused, and as a result, they were timid. They weren't confident about sharing the Gospel with others. How could they be, if they didn't fully understand it? But then came Pentecost. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in foreign languages they had never learned before. Do you see the changes that took place on Pentecost? Now, they were confident, speaking publicly. Look at Peter; two months earlier, he was so afraid that he denied Jesus three times. Now, he was speaking to the crowd with confidence and understanding that he had never had before.

There was another change that took place on Pentecost, and you could argue that this change was more spectacular than what happened to the disciples. After Peter preached his sermon on Pentecost, 3000 people came to the faith and were baptised. Back then, Pentecost was an agricultural festival; God had told the Jews to gather in Jerusalem '50 days' (pente-cost) after Passover to celebrate the harvest. Jews from all over the Roman Empire came. 3000 of them who were not Christians, who were multilingual, who did not believe in Jesus Christ, were changed that day. Their whole way of looking at God, at themselves, at the world, at eternal life – everything had changed.


12 Pastoral Challenges - Noel D'Silva

posted May 31, 2017, 7:22 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:22 AM ]

The priority areas spelt out by the Cardinal need to be worked on.

The pastoral appointments for 2017 are over. A number of parishes in the Archdiocese will see a make-over to some extent, as far as new faces in the Parish House are concerned.

As the newly-appointed settle down, one recalls to mind the pastoral challenges enunciated by Cardinal Oswald Gracias at the Ordination Ceremony held on the campus of St Pius X Seminary in April this year. Briefly, the Cardinal touched upon four areas of prime importance: (a) The Small Christian Communities. Now is the time, the Cardinal felt, to review the past, to see what mid-term changes may have to be made, and to renew the system, where necessary. (b) The Family Apostolate which must receive top attention in the coming years. (c) Our Youth have to be accompanied with understanding and care, as they strive to achieve their dreams and (d) the Parish Community Centre that must be examined and evaluated for possible course corrections.

Not much will be achieved if action in these four areas is expected only from the newly-ordained or from the newly appointed. In all probability, the Archdiocese will have to establish planning bodies to lay down goals, develop action-oriented programmes and formulate evaluation guidelines. It may be possible to look for the required parameters within structures like the Commissions for the Family and the Youth, the FILMC Office – Formation and Involvement of the Laity in the Mission of the Church and the FCCO –Federation for Centres for Community Organisation. It may also be necessary to "think out of the box" and garner a kind of Think Tank composed of competent persons, lay and non-lay, of the Faith and not of the Faith. With proper guidelines and set procedures, we could have on hand a blueprint for the way modern-day pastoral challenges can be met.


13 A CitizenCredit Corporate Symposium Part 2 - AMCF CCC

posted May 31, 2017, 7:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:21 AM ]

Inviting the audience to be proactive while 'Investing in Today's Times', Mr Anthony Heredia shared his wealth of experience to educate and enthuse both existing and prospective investors. His advice covered the principles and guidelines of investing wisely, the risks involved and meeting financial goals, illustrated by some very practical examples.

Mr Heredia urged everyone to take his advice to heart and act on it. For example, all investors need to keep certain principles in mind: one is to co-relate investments with a far-sighted financial goal, and this will determine the nature of the investment. For example, a senior citizen may want to keep sufficient money for a medical emergency, and the investment should match this goal. A young girl's financial goals could be higher education and whatever follows, and her investments would therefore be different.

Making the right investment is only 10% of financial success; 90% of success is sticking to the right asset allocation, which, in simple terms, means a marriage between your financial goal and the investing instruments that exist. To achieve this, there is a simple rule of thumb: assume your notional age to be 100 years, then subtract your actual age from the notional. The resulting figure decides the proportion of investment in equity. This means that as your age goes up, your investment in equity should come down, as your need for regular income takes precedence.

India and the world is now interlinked more than ever before, which makes it tougher to predict market movements, and makes individual judgments tough, unless investing is a full time profession. Even simple instruments like fixed deposits are no longer the investment they used to be. We are used to fixed returns, but times are changing, and even the more traditional instruments like PPF will eventually offer more market-linked returns, which could mean lower rates of interest in time.

Mr Heredia emphasised that returns are invariably linked to the underlying market, and it is therefore imperative to understand and get comfortable with these changing dynamics, as opposed to being anchored to fixed returns. With hard facts and figures on the screen, he demolished the myths, and presented reality with respect to hardnosed investing. And yes, there is a magic formula which requires patience: invest in equity for the long term, as the risk reduces as long as the time frame is right. He also advocated investment via the SIP route in Mutual Funds that are diversified, after checking their type and portfolios, and to stay with the larger players. The final bit of advice? Don't delay. Start early, invest regularly, and give your investments time to grow.


15 Provoking Nature - Melville X D'Souza

posted May 31, 2017, 7:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2017, 7:18 AM ]

On December 12, 2016, a very severe cyclonic storm named Vardah hit the shores of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The impact:

• several people dead, including women and children

• thousands of people evacuated from low-lying areas

• large number of houses, shops ripped apart

• more than 250 trees uprooted across several places in Chennai,

• several vehicles damaged or thrown out by the waves

• traffic snarls in many parts of the city

• airport shut down

Needless to say, normal life was thrown out of gear. Do we need to imagine the trauma the affected people had to go through? Of course, we do understand.

Just a year earlier, Chennai experienced the heaviest rainfall in over a century, causing widespread damage to life and property. As one would expect, normal life was thrown out of gear; affected people shifted to relief camps, establishments shut, etc. That is Nature's way of hitting back. Or would you like to call it Nature's fury – or Nature at her best? Or perhaps, the best is yet to come!

What happens when everything settles down? People pick up the pieces, and life goes on! And then another tragedy will strike. Is that what we expect from life? Is that the way we would want it to be? We, in the city of Mumbai, have also experienced the impact of heavy rainfall; the worst being the deluge of July 26, 2005 - clogged drains due to dumping of plastic and other waste and garbage, overflowing of the Mithi river (filled with industrial and other waste material), leading to widespread floods. But no lessons learnt, and that's the way we prefer to live.


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