Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 22 • JUN 02 - 08, 2018

01 Cover

posted May 30, 2018, 12:00 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2018, 8:07 AM ]


03 Index

posted May 30, 2018, 11:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 11:59 AM ]


04 Official

posted May 30, 2018, 11:58 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2018, 11:53 PM ]


05 Engagements

posted May 30, 2018, 11:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 11:57 AM ]


07 Editorial - The Perennial Presence - Fr. Anthony Charanghat

posted May 30, 2018, 11:38 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 31, 2018, 8:08 AM ]

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is a moment to reflect on the real perennial presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the greatest of sacraments and a beloved truth of our faith. The liturgy of the Mass this year draws our attention to three important different dimensions of the power, presence and promise of this great Sacrament of Faith.

The Letter to the Hebrews gives us a snapshot of the power of the Jerusalem Temple liturgy on the day of atonement — Yom Kippur, and the ritual in the Temple of a whole array of animal sacrifices. There were sacrifices to atone, to thank, to adore, and to make peace, to make petition. There was a whole array of sacrifices, all striving, straining, and yearning to achieve what Jesus did on Calvary — the perfect complete sacrifice.

The Mass is the true sacrifice, and all the bloody rituals in the Old Testament were the early symbols, foreshadowing what Christ would do. The Mass makes present Christ’s powerful unique Sacrifice of Calvary, the only power that can redeem humankind. We can fuse our petitions, big and small, to the great powerful Calvary sacrifice of Christ.

The Gospel of Mark that offers the narrative of the Last Supper when Jesus says, “This is my Body, this is my Blood.” Christ is present in many ways, but here in the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus is present fully, substantially and in an unobstructed way. Sometimes people say, “We can see Christ in our neighbour.” But that is often difficult. Usually, people’s personalities present a lot of interference. But in the Eucharist, the Lord is present without obstruction — really and truly present.

When we come to church, we do not have to hope that Christ will be here. He is! His presence does not depend on our mood, the degree of faith, or whether we are in the state of grace. Christ is truly here. The Eucharist is the place of Presence. And Christ will abide with us until the end of time. Who knows what changes will occur in the Church over the next several years? But all the years from now, in every Catholic Church, there will always be a tabernacle. It is the abiding presence of Christ in all our joys and sorrows, with us on our life’s journey, like the Ark that travelled with the Israelites wherever they went. The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Christ’s Presence.

The Book of the Exodus takes us to the Holy mountain of the Lord’s promise to be in His people and their promise to be faithful to His law. “We will do everything as the Lord has told us.” The Eucharist is the place of Promise. When we receive Holy Communion worthily, we are promised that we will be one with the Lord someday, face to face. It is a “pledge of the future”, as St Thomas wrote.

The Eucharist is also the assurance of our promise to be faithful, to be loyal to Christ and His Church, to be in communion with the Church. If we receive communion on the tongue, we are promising that our tongue will not lie, deceive, slander, gossip or speak in an un-Christian way. If we receive communion in our hand, we promise we will not turn our hands to violence or destruction, but will use them to build up the Kingdom of God.

When we receive Holy Communion, on the tongue or in the hand, both eloquent and ancient gestures of commitment, we are making a recommitment to Christ — a renewal of our Christian identity. So when we say ‘Amen,’ we are not only making an act of faith (I believe), but also making a promise to follow Christ faithfully. The Mass is the place of promise — God’s promise to us of future glory and our promise of fidelity to Christ and His Church.

08 Authentic Human Ecology - Bishop Gerald John Mathias

posted May 30, 2018, 11:36 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 11:37 AM ]

Pay due Attention to Human Ecology as you celebrate World Environment Day 

The World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year. It is a vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. India is the global host of World Environment Day 2018. In his 2015 Encyclical Laudato Si' on Integral Ecology, Pope Francis gave a clarion call to all people of the world to take care of Mother Earth, our Common Home.

As we celebrate World Environment Day 2018, I would like to draw the attention of our readers to an important aspect of our Environment, known as social ecology and human ecology.

St Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Centesimus Annus way back in 1991, alerted us regarding the destruction of human environment. He wrote: "In addition to the irrational destruction of the natural environment, we must also mention the more serious destruction of the human environment, something which is by no means receiving the attention it deserves… too little effort is made to safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic human ecology." (CA No. 38)

Pope John Paul II reminded us that "the first and fundamental structure for human ecology is the family, in which man receives his first formative ideas about truth and goodness, and learns what it means to love and to be loved, and thus what it actually means to be a person. Here we mean the family founded on marriage, in which the mutual gift of self by husband and wife creates an environment in which children can be born and develop their potentialities, become aware of their dignity and prepare to face their unique and individual destiny." (CA No. 39)

The family is the sanctuary of life. It is indeed sacred. It is the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life. (cf. CA No. 39) Pope John Paul laments the widespread use of contraception and rampant practice of abortion which destroys the true human environment.

In India, we must note, due to widespread recourse to female foeticide, the imbalance in the sex ratio is appalling. While the national sex ratio is approximately 920 girls to 1000 boys, in some parts of the country like Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan etc. it is far below 800 girls to 1000 boys. This is a serious ecological imbalance in the human environment caused by selective abortion of the girl child.

Besides, due to fewer children in some countries, the demographic growth rate is 0% or even less. With fewer children and youth, and a large number of old people in many countries, there is a further imbalance in human ecology.

Pope Francis reminds us that "we are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental." (LS No. 139) The Pontiff goes on to say that "social ecology is necessarily institutional, and gradually extends to the whole of society, from the primary social group, the family, to the wider local, national and international communities." (LS No. 142)

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09 Our Father sent us His ‘SELFIE’ in the HEART of Jesus - Sr. Manisha Gonsalves RSCJ

posted May 30, 2018, 11:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 11:04 AM ]

The Incarnation of Jesus makes all the difference: an invisible God becomes visible in Jesus. "We beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." (Jn 1:14) How else could we ever recognise the "Face" of the Father? How would we ever realise the essence of God's Nature as unconditional, perfect Love? The Heart of Jesus as an open "Book" mirrors/manifests for us the depths of the Father's infinite Love for our world, for entire humanity, for EACH of us. "He who has seen me has seen the Father," said Jesus to His disciples reassuringly, as they asked Him to "show" them the Father. Through His words and teaching, He reiterated clearly, "The Father and I are one." We too are invited to celebrate this Reality through the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It calls us to "study"/contemplate that open Heart, to discover Its deep desires, to dwell in It as in our Home, and to renew our commitment as partners in Jesus' Mission to spread the Fire of the Father's Love to the ends of the earth.

Devotion to the Heart of Jesus in the Church has a long, glorious history. Much was done to propagate and popularise this devotion by St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) who, after personal visions of Christ, wrote, "He disclosed to me the marvels of His Love and the inexplicable secrets of His Sacred Heart." The 'promises' of Jesus to those who consecrate themselves and their families to Him, to those who make reparation for the outrages against Love, and fulfil other recommended practices have attracted the attention of Catholics for many centuries to date. Pope Pius XII in his encyclical 'Haurietis Aquas' (1956) highlighted the Sacred Heart as a symbol of the divine Love which Jesus shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit. However, the veneration of the Heart of our Redeemer dates back to Calvary, when the soldier's lance pierced the side of the crucified Christ - "They shall look on Him whom they have pierced." (Jn 19:37)

What can this mean for us in the third millennium? The piercing of the heart of Jesus is not an event of 2000 years ago. When we contemplate the wounded heart of christ, we touch the pierced heart of humanity. We become more aware of our own brokenness that begs for the healing waters that flowed from his open side. We recall Jesus' open invitation: "come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest..." (mt 11:28) that invitation flows from our heavenly father who cares for his children at all times, especially in their moments of pain and sorrow. It is the father who has entrusted the son with every grace to satisfy the deep longings of the human heart. "all things have been delivered to me by my father, and no one knows the son, except the father, and no one knows the father, except the Son AND anyone to whom the son chooses to reveal him." (mt 11:27).

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11 Re-creation without Pollution - Alexander Ekka SJ

posted May 30, 2018, 10:49 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 10:54 AM ]

The Bible is full of environment narrations both in the Old Testament and New Testament. "Then God said: Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, over the cattle and all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground." (Gen 1:26) Use of Creation is for the good of the people. Misuse of Creation will harm the people. The dynamics of development is the end result of utilizing Creation.

The Environment has become one of the major concerns in India. The ecology of India is slowly being adversely affected by the industrial and development policies. The innate Indian culture is also partly responsible for disfiguring the eco-system. India is a country of feasts and festivals, where Indians celebrate feasts throughout the year. Besides our National Feasts like Independence Day and Republic Day there is a long list of feasts in India. Besides the religious festivities, celebrations like birthdays, weddings, death anniversaries etc. are also part of social celebrations. People perform rituals at home, temple, masjid, gurudwara, church and offer incense, candles, coconuts, oil, flowers, plants, grass, firewood, coloured powder, milk, fruits etc. to appease God. Such materials do harm the green environment. We destroy green Nature and pollute the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. We can pray to God without any material offerings. As social and religious celebrations bring people of different faiths closer to each other in brotherhood, peace and harmony, they should also unite people to preserve the environment.

Hydrosphere is called water body. Oceans are a major component of the earth's hydrosphere, covering 71% of the earth surface. Water is not just a combination of H2O. It is a source of life. Without water, nothing can survive. Water has multiple uses in our life. Unfortunately, it is polluted by many factors like factory water, sewage water, industrial wastage, etc. The polluted water becomes an agent of death, instead of becoming a source of life. I was flabbergasted to see the holy Ganges covered with rotten garbage, twigs, trees, dead human bodies, wood, flowers, plastic bottles, plants, carcasses of dead animals, linen, sacks and everything under heaven and earth. I asked myself why the Ganges was called holy. Lakes and water reservoirs too are polluted in our villages and cities. Animals and human beings take bath and drink from the same tank, risking their health.

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12 Called to love and care for God’s creatures - Dr. (Mrs.) Avril Walters-Veigas

posted May 30, 2018, 10:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 10:48 AM ]

Today, when the world indeed is in overdrive with dialogues and diatribes on global warming, banning plastic, reducing pollution, planting saplings, going organic, let us pause a while, spare a thought and consider all of God's creatures that includes animals, birds, fishes - all part of God's wonderful Creation. Psalms 50:10-11 - "All the animals in the forest are Mine and the cattle on thousands of hills, I know every bird of the mountains and everything that moves in the field is Mine."

At the very onset, Genesis 2:15 - "The Lord put the man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Lest we forget, we humans are but stewards of what God has given us, not just to control and have dominion over, but the keyword here is to "care" for. Proverbs 12:10 - "A righteous man has regard for the life of his animals."

As a veterinarian, I can testify to an instance of a 14-year-old Pomeranian brought in for treatment. From all medical analysis, this small dog was long gone - what we would refer to as a medically futile or lost cause. As we did the routine, administering saline through the veins in an attempt to flush out the infection that was fast spreading, waiting for the inevitable, I watched with awe the pet owner and family members hovering together; one apprehensive, the other inconsolable, another hopeful, yet all rallying around their pet, checking on him, whispering to him, volunteering and cooperating exactly to the extent required, and amazingly, the ageing Pomeranian showed a lot of tenacity. His revival and survival was largely due to the tender loving care showered on him by those who cared for and loved him.

Animals too deserve respect. They have a right to food, water, shelter and treatment in case of injury or disease, freedom of space, freedom to express, freedom from fear or distress. Proverbs 27:23 – "Know well the condition of your flocks and pay attention to your herds."

Yet, in today's materialistic society of ambitious pursuits and ambiguous goals, we are witness to much indifference and intolerance, cruelty and contempt towards both man and animals.

However, unlike humans, animals are accepting and non-judgmental. Those who have pets can vouch for the rewarding experience of the gratifying affection and unquestionable loyalty of these dumb animals that transcends all; they speak no language, yet the body language and intensity of those eyes speak more than a thousand words, and tell of selfless, loving hearts. Little wonder then, these creatures – both big and small – are also recommended in therapeutic assistance to humans in homes, hospitals, prisons.

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13 The Ecological Word of God - Shawna Nemesia Rebello

posted May 30, 2018, 10:45 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 30, 2018, 10:46 AM ]

World Environment Day is a good occasion to look at what the Bible tells us about caring for Creation and living sustainably. Let's sequentially go through a few verses from the Word of God itself.

Creation is the beginning and foundation of all God's work (cf. Genesis 1:1) and its goodness is emphasised in Genesis 1:31: "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." Then God issues one of His very first directives to humankind to work and keep the Garden of Eden (cf. Genesis 2:15). After the fall due to original sin, it is our wickedness that causes God immense regret, indeed to the point of destroying the earth by a flood. Genesis 6:6-7 reads: And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them."

But God is love and also the very first conservationist, which is why Noah's family, along with two of every living thing of all flesh were preserved by God (cf. Genesis 6:19) to perpetuate life on the earth. God isn't just satisfied with preserving life, but goes a step further by establishing His first covenant – an everlasting one – between the divine and the mortal. This is iterated in Genesis 9:15 - "I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh."

The rest of the Pentateuch is sprinkled with laws which serve to prevent the abuse of nature. In Exodus 23:10-11, God says, "For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year, you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard." Here, God's concern for soil fertility, the downtrodden and domestic animals is clear. There is a categorical assertion in Leviticus 25:23-24 of the earth as belonging to God, and that we humans have a limited authority over it – "The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine... And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land." In Numbers 35:33, though the caution is against bloodshed, the fact that God cares for the land is unequivocal: "You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land…"

Trees, that use the primary greenhouse gas - carbon dioxide, which we are now emitting in excess - to produce breath-sustaining oxygen, are not out of the ambit of God's concern. In Deuteronomy 20:19, God orders, "When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you?" God's care for His Creation is again clear in Deuteronomy 22:6, where it is forbidden to take a bird together with its young – "If you come across a bird's nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young." The mother bird must remain free to give rise to more offspring.

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