Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 13 • MAR 31 - APR 06, 2018

01 Cover

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:36 AM ]


03 Index

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:36 AM ]


04 Officials

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:34 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:34 AM ]


05 Engagements

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:31 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:31 AM ]


07 Editorial - Love Lives, Alleluia! - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:26 AM ]

This is the message of Easter: God's love never ends. God raises Jesus from death as an eternal sign and promise that nothing we do can keep God from loving us to life, and bring truth and justice to power. In Jesus, God can do what we cannot: bring hope out of despair, joy out of a long night of pain and grief, and life out of death. The love of the Lord lives forever and will enable the segments of humanity that have buried their hope for the right to life, entombed dreams for truth and justice to prevail, and stifled the yearning for peace in a climate of terror to unroll the stone of their tombs.

In the teeming millions of the marginalised of our world, we see the faces of helpless parents and guardians of children, young people and discriminated groups and castes who bear the grievous burden of injustice and brutality of violence. Many walking the streets of our cities feel the pangs of dire poverty, the sorrow born of exploitation and human trafficking. Many farmers in rural areas and the poor labourers in urban sectors are crushed by massive corruption that strips them of their rights and dispossesses them of their homes.

We encounter strangers whose eyes bespeak loneliness and abandonment, because they have been exiled. They are met with contempt being immigrants, deprived of country, house and family. By such acts of selfishness and insensitivity, refugees have to suffer persecution. Governments that stand in the way of change and welcome violate their human dignity.

As Christians in the Risen Christ, we must feel driven to keep walking, and not resign ourselves to the fact that things have to end this way. True, we carry within us a promise and the certainty of God's loving faithfulness to kindle the hope that God has entrusted to us.

This is the message that, generation after generation, the Holy Night of Easter passes on to us: "Do not be afraid, brothers and sisters; He is risen as He said!" Life, which death destroyed on the Cross, now re-awakens and pulsates anew with the life-giving power of His Love. The beating heart of the Risen Lord is given to us, and we are asked to give it in turn as a transforming force, as the leaven of a new humanity

God once more comes to meet us, to create and consolidate a new age, the age of mercy. This is the promise present from the beginning. This is God's surprise for His faithful people. Rejoice! Hidden within your life is a seed of resurrection, an offer of life ready to be awakened. Easter is news that says God rules; we all may find hope and courage in His unending Love and Life.

We respond to this Love, by receiving it — by daring to believe it is real and allowing it to wash over us, and then by sharing it. The only thing God wants from us, in response to love, is to share love. We don't need to be told how urgently love is needed in our time, in our world. Nor how high the cost of that love can be, or how imperfect our attempts to spread it.

If we imitate the non-violent, non-retaliatory response of Jesus, we ourselves become a sign of the same divine love. We, in our lives, in our willingness to be reconciled, show the world what kind of God we believe in: a God who is free from the vicious circle of violence and retaliation.

The Easter gift is to know God's love as perfectly revealed in Jesus for each one of us, and that together we may live in ways that show the world the kind of God we believe in, and a love that refuses to die.

08 Holy Saturday and the Silence of God - Sarah Bachelard

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:20 AM ]

If the Easter story is the definitive revelation of God, then the silence of Holy Saturday must be a word that speaks of the necessary liberation and reconciliation of all things in Christ.

In 1882, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche foresaw the collapse of the philosophical and cultural background on which Christian belief seemed to depend, and so proclaimed the "death of God".

"God is dead."

"God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"

For Nietzsche, a world without God was still a fearful and chaotic place. As time passed, it got easier, it seems, to contemplate.

In the twentieth century, in the wake of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, a whole movement in Western theology followed Nietzsche in proclaiming the "death of God". The idea of a transcendent God, so it was argued, had become literally incredible in the modern, secular world and powerless to transform. And for many in our present time, no further argument is needed; "God" is now not so much "dead" as irrelevant; not even "his shadow" looms any longer. "God" is a matter of indifference, the relic of a bygone world view.

Yet long before Nietzsche, post-modern theology and pervasive secularism, the Christian tradition itself proclaimed that God suffered death, and was buried. On Holy Saturday, we watch at His tomb. And this death—the death, not just of an idea of God, but of God-in-person—has such radical consequences that we still struggle to understand what it could mean or how to speak of it.

In all four Gospels, after Jesus has breathed His last, Joseph of Arimathea goes to Pilate to ask for the body. He has taken responsibility for the burial. And, unique among the Gospels, Mark insists on the fact that Jesus is dead. The word "dead" seems deliberately to be repeated. Pilate wonders if Jesus is already dead; he asks the centurion whether Jesus has been dead for some time; and when he learns from the centurion that he is dead, he grants the body to Joseph. Dead, dead, dead. This man, the Son of God, is dead.

Our Creed insists on it as well; Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is dead. And His death means that God is a God who suffers at human hands, a God at the mercy of creatures, a God who dies. What kind of a God could this possibly be? Does it not stretch the very concept of God to the limit?

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09 Rejoice! The Lord has Risen! - Josephine Fernandes

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:19 AM ]

We rejoice at the Halleluiahs sung at the Easter Vigil each year, there's great joy as the Gloria is sung, and as we hear the Good News about our Risen Lord and Saviour. At the same time, we also notice the empty tomb which gives us a message of great hope. The most important message of all is the message of Hope. After the darkness of death, a great light shines forth; after the silence of the dead, a voice of hope is heard. Death could not hold captive the Saviour of the world, but death was forced to break asunder and be defeated at the foot of our Saviour's Cross.

The dull, dark, gloomy Good Friday and the rejoicing at the Easter tiding teaches us many lessons of life. Though the Cross of Christ is a sign of God's unending love for us today, the Cross on Good Friday was a sign of defeat of the Saviour, the Messiah who came to save the world, but could not save himself. They mocked him and said, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe." (Mk 15:31-32) They wanted to 'see and believe'; He rose from the dead, but they did not believe! Such a paradox! His own disciples refused to believe. Even though Jesus had spoken to them on several occasions that the Messiah will have to suffer at the hands of the chief priests and scribes and will be handed over to the Gentiles to be crucified, and on the third day will rise again (Lk 18:31-34), yet they refused to believe; their human minds could not comprehend the mystery of the Resurrection.

In the Gospels, Jesus has spoken about Life after death through various parables and discourses, about being with the Father for all Eternity, but our weak human minds cannot comprehend the mystery of Eternal Life. If we had truly understood the mystery of Eternal Life, we would not have lived life the way we live now as lukewarm Christians setting our heart and mind on the things of the world; when one day the Lord God will spit us out of His mouth, for we are neither hot nor cold. (Rev 3:15-16) St Paul tells us 'those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit.' (Rom 8:5-6)

After all the penance and contrition done during the forty days of Lent, may we be able to rise above all the desires of the flesh, by trying to put away all petty matters, small arguments and fights, matters of unforgiveness, holding on to grievances, pride, etc.

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10 The Resurrection: A Return to Silence - Christopher Mendonca

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:17 AM ]

The Experience of John (a first-person account):


The grief that one has to bear when losing a loved one

is more difficult to cope with

when one has been assigned the task

of looking after the deceased's affairs as well.

As Jesus breathed His last, He commended Mary His mother

and me, the one whom he loved, to each other.

It was not that He loved me more than the others;

just that we had a relationship that had a unique resonance.

It allowed me to lean on His breast at the Last Supper

and commend to His loving heart, the pain that I experienced.

The days that followed were akin to a silent retreat.

The mystery surrounding His death had drawn me into silence

ever since He manifested His glory on Mount Tabor

to me, Peter and my brother James.

He had told us not to tell anyone about it

till He rose from the dead.1

That Easter morning, as we beheld the empty tomb,

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11 Exsultet! Rejoice! - Leon Bent

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:15 AM ]

Matthew tells us that an angel from heaven came down in plain view of the soldiers who were guarding the sealed tomb. The soldiers watched in shock, as the angel rolled away the stone from the tomb and sat on it.

If we were there, we would have expected to see Jesus walk out into the morning light. There was just one problem. The tomb was already empty. Just as He could not be hindered from entering a locked room, He could not be contained by the sealed tomb.

The stone was not rolled away so that Jesus could escape. It was rolled away so that you would know that the tomb was empty. With His Resurrection, Christ no longer lived with the limitations of His human body. Death and the restrictions of our flesh were conquered that Easter morning. As Paul said, "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:15)

The angel of God opened an empty tomb for all to see. Jesus now moved about with the grace and power of a body not subject to the barriers and boundaries of earth. Jesus fulfilled the gospel promise made to Eve so long ago. The curse was broken. (Gen 3:14b)

One day, you and I will have a body like the one that left the sealed tomb. This is part of what Easter means. Death, sickness and physical limitations will be no more. Just as our spirit has been freed from the ravages of sin, so too will our bodies.

This is what Easter means. It is not a mystical event or an elevation of consciousness. Easter transforms us totally; renewed, rejuvenated, twice-born in spirit and in body. Good Friday has vanished into thin air! Bodily suffering is now momentary! The joy of our glorified bodies awaits us for all time to come!

The empty tomb let out glorious hurrahs of the exuberant, resurrected Jesus and the ecstatic delight of Mary Magdalene! The stone that was rolled away offers us great joy and brings hope of eternity with Christ!

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI notes: "I live, and you will live also," says Jesus in Saint John's Gospel (14:19) to His disciples, that is, to us. We will live through our existential communion with Him, through being taken up into Him who is life itself. Eternal life, blessed immortality, we have not by ourselves or in ourselves, but through a relation—through existential communion with Him who is Truth and Love, and is therefore eternal: God Himself. Simple indestructibility of the soul by itself could not give meaning to eternal life; it could not make it a true life. Life comes to us from being loved by Him who is Life; it comes to us from living with, and loving with, Him. Galatians 2:20 says, "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." This is the way of the Cross, the way that "crosses over" a life simply closed in on the "I", thereby opening up the road towards true and lasting joy.

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13 Is seeing believing? - Fr Warner D’Souza

posted Mar 29, 2018, 9:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 29, 2018, 9:10 AM ]

A reflection on the gospel of Easter Sunday - John 20:1-8

Even though our text ends at verse 8, it would do well to read this Gospel passage up to verse 18, for in these verses is found the story of faith in the Resurrection, as experienced by Mary Magdalene. Interestingly, all the four Gospels mention Mary Magdalene, though they may vary in their narration.

The Gospel of John begins the story of Easter Sunday, 'while it was still dark', in contrast to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) who situate it at dawn. For John's Gospel, the element of light and darkness plays a very important role, and Jesus 'the light of the world' will be perceived as such, much later in time by His disciples, whose hopes have been dashed in darkness as a consequence of His crucifixion. Mary walks to the tomb in that darkness, for the light of the Resurrection has not yet dawned on her.

It is interesting that the Gospel tells us that Mary simply "saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb." She has not peered into it, nor does the promise of rising on the third day dawn upon her. Belief is yet to come for Mary, and that, as we will read, will appear at twilight.

She runs to Simon Peter and the 'beloved disciple', stating what she thinks has happened. Without mentioning a name, she places her assumptions that Jesus' body has been stolen by the most apparent suspects—the Romans or the Jewish authorities. But interestingly, she uses the plural when she says "We do not know where they have laid him." It almost appears that she wants to play her narration safe.

What follows has often been made to sound like a story of 'one-upmanship' - was Peter's faith greater or the 'beloved' disciple's? It does not matter who reached the tomb first, neither does it matter who entered first, nor does it matter that the Gospels record the beloved disciple as one who 'believed' while Peter 'did not understand', for we are not told explicitly that the 'beloved disciple' believed in the Resurrection (for all you know, he may have 'believed' that Mary was correct—someone had stolen the body of Jesus!) What we do know from a further reading of the Gospels is that belief in the Resurrection took a while to sink in for the Twelve. Not so for Mary Magdalene! Patience is a virtue, and patience pays off for her.

We are told that the two disciples return to their homes, while Mary Magdalene remains standing (like Mary the mother of Jesus, at the foot of the Cross). She stands, and we are told four times that she was weeping. The emotional connect kicks in for all those, who on Easter Sunday mourn the death of a loved one; for the loss of a loved one can't be forgotten so easily, and so she weeps and continues to search, now looking in the tomb.

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