Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 50 - December 16 - December 29, 2017

01 Cover

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:35 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:35 PM ]

03 Cardinal's Message

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:33 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 15, 2017, 6:51 AM ]

04 Engagements

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:33 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:33 PM ]

05 Index

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:29 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:29 PM ]

06 Editorial - Cry of the Christ Child - Fr. Anthony Charanghat

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:28 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 15, 2017, 6:52 AM ]

08 A Biblical Christmas story - Dr. Renu Silvano OCV

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:26 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:26 PM ]

About three months had passed, and Mary

had not yet returned home. Joseph, the

well-known carpenter of Nazareth, Mary’s

betrothed, became restless, for he missed her so.

Even a brief glimpse of her was enough to bring

delight and strength to Joseph’s heart for days, and

her smile lingered in his memory for long, keeping

him strong and happy. Yet now, for so many days

and weeks, he had not even had a glimpse of her,

nor heard any word from her. Joseph could not bear

her absence any longer, so he decided to go himself

to the priest Zechariah’s home in the hills to see his

betrothed Mary.

But as Joseph prepared for his journey, suddenly,

he caught sight of Mary returning home. He jumped

for joy, his heart raced within him, and his feet moved

hastily towards her home to be the first to greet

Mary. He met her just before she entered her house.

Holding her gently by the shoulders, he gazed at her

beautiful face, which now seemed even more radiant

and breathtaking. His eyes brimmed over with tears

of joy for “the delight of his heart” was once again

with him.


10 Ongoing Spiritual Battle - Fr. Fio Mascarenhas SJ

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:24 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:24 PM ]

Christmas celebrates the most joyous and ongoing Truth, that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son Jesus.” This God, as revealed by Jesus, is our ever-loving Father God, more than a Creator-God or an All-knowing God, or whatever else our limited human reason attributes to God. Yet, so often, when someone is faced with severe trials and sufferings, he/she is tempted to blame God: “Why is God doing this to me?” or “Why does a loving God not come immediately to my aid?” In the process, we conveniently forget the teaching of the Bible that there is a mysterious evil Force also at work in our world, whose purpose is “only to steal and kill and destroy” (Jn 10:10). Jesus called this evil the Devil, and described him as “a murderer from the beginning… a liar, and the father of lies.” (Jn 8:44) Jesus specifically taught that we must never blame God for our sufferings and trials! In an insightful parable (Mt 13:24-30), when questioned by the servants about the appearance of weeds among the good wheat given them to sow, the Master replied categorically, “Some enemy has done this, not I.”

God is not a moody, tyrannical or uncaring deity who causes cancers and marital breakdowns, tsunamis and earthquakes to plague his beloved children! But the cause lies in the mystery that a spiritual battle

is raging between the forces of Good and the forces of Evil which involves every human being! This “enemy” makes every effort to discredit a good God! In his 1986 Encyclical Letter on the Holy Spirit, St John Paul II referred

to a cosmic spiritual warfare , when explaining how, at the sin of Adam and Eve, there entered into human history “the perverse genius of suspicion.” This apt phrase expresses correctly that the Enemy is a genius (as a fallen angel, his intelligence is superior to ours), but a perverse genius (he uses his intelligence for evil purposes, rather than for good), and that his (successful) strategy has been always to sow suspicion in the minds of God’s creatures against God the Creator Himself! The real Enemy then goes scot-free. “For in spite of all the witness of creation, and of the salvific economy inherent in it, the spirit of darkness is capable of showing God as an enemy of man, as a source of danger and threat to man. In this way, Satan manages to sow in man’s soul the seed of opposition to the One who from the beginning would be considered as man’s enemy – and not as Father. Throughout the history of humanity, there will be a constant pressure on man to reject God, even to the point of hating Him. Man will be inclined to see in God primarily a limitation of himself, and not the source of his own freedom and fullness of good.”


11 Immanence or Transcendence? - Fr. Jeevan Mendonsa SJ

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:22 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:23 PM ]

If we were to take even a cursory look at the history of the relationship between God and

human beings, it would be nothing less than enthralling. The whole range of human emotions—from fear and anguish to profound devotion and ecstasy—would characterise this relationship which could be divided into two broad categories: one that is mindful of the immense gulf between us and God, His infiniteness and our sinfulness, His holiness and our sinfulness, His omnipotence and our powerlessness, and the like; the other which emphasises the nearness of God to us, His steadfast, personal love for each one of us, His tender mercy and His abounding forgiveness. These two categories highlight the two main aspects of God’s nature. Theologians have used two specific terms to refer to these aspects, and many would be familiar with these terms—namely, ‘transcendence’ and ‘immanence’. These two aspects that broadly describe our relationship with God are definitely not mutually exclusive and only for the sake of clarity. For our personal experience tells us that elements of both the above categories co-exist in our lives, and rightly so. But the question is, which dimension is stronger? Which aspect of God takes precedence in my relationship with Him: Immanence or Transcendence? I asked this question to some people to obtain some sense of their personal belief. However, it was difficult to arrive at a definite conclusion. For some, the immanence of God was more important than His transcendence, while for others, the opposite was true. How to proceed then? Why not reverse the perspective? After all, this question is about God, isn't it? Why not find out from God Himself to which aspect does He want us human beings to give precedence while relating to Him? I am obviously not suggesting that I have a hotline with the Holy Spirit. Rather, I am referring to a precious resource that helps us to know God’s ways and designs, namely, the Sacred Scripture. Nevertheless, this task is easier said than done. A sizeable number of Scripture verses substantiating one or the other of the two aspects of God is easily found in the Bible.


13 The Real Joy of Christmas - Dr. Jeanette Pinto

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:21 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:21 PM ]

Browsing through a stack of old Christmas

cards, I was struck by the constant

repetition of one little word—’Joy’—that

caught my attention. Suddenly, I also realised that

most of my favourite carols had the word ‘Joy’ in the

lyrics. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” “O come

all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,” and surely the

angel comes with “good news of great joy that will

be for all people.”

What is the real joy of Christmas? Is there such

a thing as real joy? It would perhaps take you time

to understand, reflect and answer the question.

Real joy is never something that originates from

within; it has to come to us from without. Bite into a

Christmas cookie, and you might enjoy it. With much

excitement, tear open your Christmas gift wrapping,

and you may enjoy the feeling of seeing the gift. But

Joy itself in its true and pure form is much more

than enjoyment.

As I sat pondering, I suddenly recalled a sentence

that I learnt at Sunday School; it jumped up in

my mind - ‘Joy is the echo of God’s life within us.’

Eureka!! I repeatedly uttered the sentence; it made

a lot of sense. Truly, when you experience God’s

goodness and love, you seem to hear a reverberating

echo which permeates one’s whole being, and makes

you excited and joyful. It is God’s life within you that

whips up that joy, resulting in a thirst that doesn’t

want to be quenched; a hunger that will go on and

on. It is an inexplicable wonderful, exhilarating

feeling, for one never gets enough of God.

My mind wandered to the Judean shepherds;

they were perhaps the lowest of the low, socially

common men, a despised class with an unfavourable

reputation. Shepherds in those times were

considered thieves, because they were nomadic,

as they moved their sheep through the countryside.

Strangely, Jesus’ birth was first announced to the outcasts of society. 

They were the first ones to hear the good joyful news of Christmas. There is a

great lesson in this for all of us. Jesus came for the

‘lost, the despised, the unwanted, the oppressed’

who would welcome and receive Him with the

greatest joy.


14 A Celebration of Redemption - Br. Allam Sagar Manoj Kumar

posted Dec 13, 2017, 11:19 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 13, 2017, 11:19 PM ]

Few births have changed history, few births

have destroyed history, and few births have

coloured history, but it is the birth of Jesus

which gave life to history. It is His birth which

transformed the world into a holy place, a place

where human beings would live in His own image and

likeness. Such a wonderful birth has its greatness

in the purpose of the birth i.e. Redemption. We

celebrate the birth of the Redeemer and the Saviour

of the world. The Son, accordingly, came, sent by the Father

who, before the foundation of the world, chose us

and predestined us in Him for adoptive Sonship.

For it is in Him that it pleased the Father to restore

all things. To carry out the will of the Father, Christ

inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth and

revealed to us His mystery; by His obedience, He

brought about our redemption. The Church that

is the kingdom of Christ grows visibly through the

power of God in the world. The origin and growth

of the Church is symbolised by the blood and water

which flowed from the open side of the crucified

Jesus, and are foretold in the words of the Lord

referring to His death on the Cross, “And I, if I be

lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

(Jn 12:32) As often as the sacrifice of the Cross

by which “Christ our paschal lamb is sacrificed”

(1 Cor. 5:7) is celebrated on the altar, the work

of our redemption is carried out. Likewise, in the

sacrament of the Eucharistic bread, the unity of

believers, who form one body in Christ (1 Cor 10:7),

is both expressed and brought about. All men are

called to this union with Christ, who is the light of

the world, from whom we go forth, through whom we

live, and towards whom our whole life is directed.


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