postheadericon The Funeral of Late Fr. Anil Lucas Macwan S.J


R.I.P.


Fr . Anil Lucas Macwan (GUJ) 54/34 expired this evening around 9.30p.m ( 22- 07-2012 ) in Nadiad Heart Hospital. He had a severe heart attack and he died in the Hospital.
The funeral will be held at 4.00p.m in Anand Catholic Church on Monday (23-07-2012).
Please remember him in your prayers.

Fr.Lawrence Dharmaraj SJ
Socius

Personal Information


Date of Birth: 05- 01 1958
Entrance in the Society: 30 -07- 1978
Final Vows: 31- 01-1999
Priesthood: 29-04-1989
Died : 22-07-2012

Responsibilities Held

Pastoral Year: Dediapada& Bharuch -1986
Teacher: Gandhinagar- 1990-1991
Teacher, &Principal: Zankhvav- 1991-1997
Principal: St.Joseph, Baroda: 1997-2000
Principal : Dhandhuka 2000- 2002
Principal: St.Xavier’s Khambhat- 2002-2009
Principal: Sagbara- 2009- 2012

Man of Hard work, Sincerity, sensitivity and Love

Fr.Anil Lucas Macwan had been a person committed to God in a very personal way. In fact from very early days, as early as his school days, he had an ardent desire to commit himself to God totally. Motivated by this desire, he joined the apostolic school at Loyola Hall, Ahmedabad. His commitment to God found expression in his love for the person of Jesus. His readiness to work for the downtrodden was something remarkable. When he was at Zankhvav, he devoted himself to the cause of the tribal upliftment in terms of providing them with the best formal education possible.

He had been able to interact with people of all kinds at various places such as Baroda, Khambhat, Dhandhuka and Sagbara. With firmness of mind and love in his heart he had been able to deal with them positively. And he had been able to stand up to the values of hard work, sincerity, sensitivity and love.



What I see...

(From an early Jesuit prayer book)

What I see, good Jesus (you who are all my good), how you value human souls so greatly that to set them free you came down from heaven, took on the human condition, and poured out all your blood and your very life - when I see all this, how can I value souls lightly, how can I not burn, melt away, and pour out myself utterly for the salvation of my brothers?

Oh my God and my King, those hands of yours, your pierced and sacred side, call out to me and teach me what I must do and suffer for the sake of souls. Love and zeal for them pierced you more deeply than the lance's iron, more deeply than the nails themselves. Imprint on my soul the same love and holy zeal. Set me aflame with the zeal for the souls you went in quest of and for whom you laid down your life.

May this be my yearning for, my effort and concern. May I have no other goal, no thought of personal gain. Instead, may I hold myself happy as to what I suffer most for souls, or even have to die for them, so that I may come to be like you.

postheadericon Fr. General Speaks....

Fr. General Speaks....


Courtesy: sjweb.info

SAP
Urgency of the situation: Earlier there was a belief and we were all taught that ‘extra ecclesia nulla salum’ (outside the Church there is no salvation) and therefore, the heathens (as they called us) were all going to hell. We were also taught what hell is, what kind of punishment there will be and how long it will last (forever and ever).

SADBHAVNA FORUM

The committee members recently held an important meeting to evaluate its functioning and take stock of its achievements during the last four years. The feedback from all its members was very positive as well as encouraging. In order to further its endeavours to meet its objectives and also to encourage individuals/organizations working for communal harmony in the society, SADBHAVNA FORUM decided to give two awards, one at the state level and the other at the national level. The amount of the award will Rs. 100,000/- (one lac) which will  be given away by Shri Morari Bapu, during the annual three day Sadbhavna Parva, held in Kailash Gurukul Ashram at Mahuwa.

Another programme that can bear long lasting fruit will be meetings with groups of teachers from around the places wherever Shri Morari Bapu will be performing his katha. The objective behind such meetings will be to give the message of peace and harmony to the students through their teachers.

The committee also decided to complete the second phase of its sadbhavna yatra from Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad to Dandi. The yatra will cover various districts on the way and hold public meetings in the main cities mostly with the college going youth. Known personalities will address these meetings and give the message of peace and harmony to the youth which will be the main target group of these meetings.

As a member of the SADBHAVNA FORUM and the award selection committee, Fr William appeals to all Jesuit brethren in the Province to assist him identifying deserving persons/organizations for the abovementioned awards. He also appeals us to encourage all, especially the youth in our contact, to participate in the various programmes organized by the SADBHAVNA FORUM and thus be part of this noble mission. “Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.” (3 James:18)

Fr William
Gift Of Words

Taken from: Inflaming Mind And Heart, by Hedwig Lewis SJ

You gave me words of kindness
tied with a ribbon of gold,
hearing them was important
to heal my heart and soul.

Your gift of words made a difference
when I was down and blue,
questioning why I bother,
doing what I do.

Life can be a challenge
sometimes it seems unfair,
but when I was tired and struggling
it helped that you were there.

What can I give you in return
your friendship is so dear,
please know if you ever need me
I will always be here.

Kind words and time are needed
by people everywhere,
when wrapped with a smile or a hug
they’re a gift that says I care!

Adapted from an unknown author


Contributed by: Fr. William sj.
The Our Father: the revolutionary Prayer of the Kingdom

Joseph Mattam, SJ

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

          The Our Father, the prayer most commonly used by Christians, is probably the only one taught by Jesus; it is a picture of the Kingdom, the new type of life that Jesus envisaged. To understand this prayer better, we need to look at the introductory and concluding verses in Matthew's version. Jesus begins by saying:  “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases..your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matt 6.6-7). And He concludes:”…if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (6.14-15). If this prayer, then, is not a matter of "empty words" to inform God what we need but is a matter of forgiving one another, then I suggest that it  expresses a fourfold relationship: to God, one another, things and to structures. It is both a confession of who we are and a promise to become what we profess to be. Like all prayers of petition, this is the expression of the truth of ourselves and of our commitment to bring about God's rule on earth. This prayer is a programme of life and it expresses the very meaning of Christian life.

Our Father in Heaven

          The first phrase is a summary of the whole prayer. It expresses our relation to God, to one another, to the earth and to the structures. In Jesus' time people considered God as living ‘in heaven'; perhaps by saying that God is ‘heavenly', Jesus distinguishes God  from our earthly parents. Also the term ‘Father' need not be taken in a male sense; it expresses the type of relation we ought to have to our Source whom we may call Father/Mother.  As the rays of the sun depend totally on the sun, we depend on God for our very being and these words affirm that our attitude to God ought to be one of loving obedience and trust, not a relation based on greed, fear or obligation. In fact, we ought to relate to God as children - in loving obedience; we want to pray because we want to be in conscious and intimate communion with our Father/Mother. Besides this affirmation of our relation to God, we affirm that we are all brothers/sisters, owners of the Earth that belongs to the Parent. In our world, with all types of discriminatory relationships based on caste, colour, gender, religion, race and nationality, this is a truly revolutionary statement. As children of the same Parent, we owe each other love and respect. Each has a distinct function in society, but this does not place one above or below the other. There is no superior class or race. Every type of relation that is opposed to this basic truth stands condemned.

          The earth is of God and therefore, is meant for all God’s children; it is not just for a few children or a few nations. For, according to the Bible, human beings and the earth are intimately inter-connected and so, cannot be separated. Any ideology that justifies the accumulation of wealth by some by depriving others of land, house and food is contrary to the faith expressed by these words. Anyone who tries to justify the present system as "God's will" is denying God as Father/Mother of all, an atheist. This profession of who we are is a promise to bring about a new social order where all will share the earth of God as brothers/sisters, without any discrimination.

Holy be Your Name:

          What was confessed and promised in the first phrase is explicated here. It is our privilege as children to keep God's name sacred, revered and respected by all in the way we relate to God, to one another and to the earth. God is not honoured merely by singing God’s praises, or by saying “holy”, or offering worship in the churches and temples, but by God’s children living truly as brothers/sisters, in love and justice. Just as good sons and daughters keep their parents’ name sacred and revered, we honour God when we relate to God and to one another lovingly. If, on the contrary, we build walls of separation among ourselves and if a few of the children enjoy all or most of the wealth of the Parent, while the others are left to starve and die in misery, then we dishonour God’s name. Any form of discrimination on the basis of caste, race, gender, nation and religion is also an insult to the Father's name. The so-called believers in God have been the chief cause of the growth of atheism.

Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on earth, as in heaven

          What we desire here and commit ourselves to is to actualize God's dream for the earth. When God created this earth, God had great dreams for this "daughter", for all her potentialities, for all that she could become. God certainly would have dreamt this earth to be a place where all God’s children could live happily. The Kingdom of God is not a special place, but the transformation of the present earth and of humans and their relationships. It is the radical re-orientation of our life, a radically new vision of reality. It is a negation of the present as final. The Jewish people spoke of the actualization of the promises of God in terms of the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, which would bring justice to the victims of society.

           This Kingdom does not come through the use of power, but through the revelation of the unconditional love of God. Jesus manifested in his life that the acceptance of this truth, namely belief in God's love, is what liberates him from greed, lust, hatred, fear, poor self-image, legalism and ritualism and enables him to love all. Loving in an unjust world would necessarily mean taking sides with the victims of society; hence we may say that the Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed would imply freedom, love and justice. We commit ourselves to create such a society, which whiles it is a gift, is also our task. We have to take sides, we have to decide in favour of the Kingdom of God and give up allegiance to other kingdoms based on prestige, possessions, success and exploitation (see Lk 16.1-10; Lk 14.16-24; Mk 12.28-34). The Kingdom is a gift and at the same time a task, because it is our task to manifest God's love in our effective loving which, in an unjust world, requires `repentance', a change of life, a changed social relationship. Recognizing that God is not paternalistic, but has entrusted the world to us, we will have to work to eliminate the injustices that prevail in our world and create a more humane and a just world where all can live in harmony and truly call God `Father/Mother'. God brings about God’s rule through our loving, our opposition to forces that are contrary to God’s will and dream. So, we pray that God’s will may become a reality on earth. It is not something for the after-life, but for this world of ours.

Give us this day our daily bread:

          Jesus expresses the reality of the Kingdom in terms of bread for all, forgiveness, mutual protection and creation of structures that are helpful for all. Jesus tells us that God is interested in our basic necessities of life: food, (clothes, shelter), forgiveness and protection. He tells us that the first requirement of the Kingdom is that all have "bread". "You give them something to eat", Jesus told His disciples when people were found without food; He did not tell them to pray to God instead. We note also that the first thing mentioned in the last judgment is: I was hungry…(Matt 25.31ff).When Jesus tells us that the Father feeds the birds of the air, we know that God does so through their efforts; so, much more truly we ought to realize that God does not do things instead of us; the earth has been entrusted to God’s children who will have to care for it, develop it and make it good for all. Hence, our prayer for bread is a reminder for us to share our bread, to provide bread for all through our caring, sharing and creating structures that help such a distribution; so that, what was said of the first Christians be true of all: "There was not a needy person among them" (Acts 4.34). Just as God gives us life through our parents, God provides for all God’s children through what we do for ourselves and others.

          Jesus also reminds us by the use of the word daily that what is required is not a system of hoarding and accumulation. In today’s world, the capitalistic system of competition and hoarding is considered to be just and necessary. But even in the OT, when people were given the manna, they were told not to hoard for the morrow. Jesus spoke strongly against hoarding (Lk 12.16-21), about the dangers of wealth (Lk 16.19-31; Mk 10.25) and insisted on sharing (Mt 5.42). The early Christians too thought that it was possible, though their experiment lasted only for a short while. This hint of Jesus, at least, invites us to look for alternative patterns. "Give us our daily bread", then, is a promise to share the earth and its produce with all, a promise not to hoard at the cost of another; it is against the luxuries of any type when even one person remains hungry and unfed, without clothes and shelter.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

          The Jews believed that only God could forgive sins: "Who can  forgive sins but God alone?" (Lk 5.21) hence in this petition alone is the human responsibility explicated. Jesus makes it explicit that even what is so exclusively God's privilege is now carried out through us. Almost like an after-thought, to emphasize the centrality of this theme, Jesus concludes the prayer by repeating the message of this petition. We need to forgive others in order to experience God's forgiveness. It is not a condition on God's part, but a condition for us to experience God’s forgiving, unconditional love. God continues to love us even when we turn away from God. Hence, this petition is not a matter of conditions for obtaining God’s forgiveness, but is a call for us to become like God in our relation to one another. This petition explicates that our inter-personal relationship ought to be characterized by unconditional love, for forgiveness is another name for unconditional love. Jesus places forgiveness on an equal footing with our need for food. 

          In our world, people are so much governed by various forms of conditioning and hence, act from prejudice, partial or wrong information received, from their need to protect themselves, from fear, from the illusion of improving others etc; but their actions can be harmful; these can be misunderstood by others. Due to such misunderstandings, judgment and blame follow. Hence there arises the continual need for forgiveness, as Jesus Himself says: "seventy times seven" (Matt 18.22). Misunderstanding and judgments create Towers of Babel, walls of separation. Understanding and forgiveness create new channels of communication. Mutual forgiveness and love are to be the characteristics of Jesus' disciples (Jn 13.35.

          While the sacrament of reconciliation is very necessary for the Church to continue as a community of brothers and sisters, the understanding of that sacrament in the past has perhaps done harm to this more fundamental teaching of Jesus on mutual forgiveness. When a person forgives another, both benefit by that action; perhaps the one who forgives is the first beneficiary of that action, for by his/her non-forgiveness, he/she does harm to own self.

Lead us not into temptation

          The temptation is against the values of the Kingdom, namely, of sharing and forgiving. This petition then is a promise to live by the values of the Kingdom, by not hoarding but sharing, by not hating and creating walls of separation but by forgiving. To share, to let go of one's own interest and forgive, as well as to live according to the values of Jesus is difficult in a world where `worldly values' reign supreme; where possessing, hoarding, grabbing, dominating and having power over others are considered to be the most important thing - the means of being regarded as someone. By having more and more one gives the illusion of being happier and thus tempts others too to follow that path of grabbing and accumulating.

Deliver us from evil:

          The last part of the petition speaks of mutual protection. In Jesus' time, the apocalyptic world-view held that all evil came from Satan and hence, Jesus claimed, "But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you" (Lk 11.20). Given this world-view, He was undoing the power structures that kept people enslaved in one form or another. The prayer then is aimed at the removal of the power structures that enslave and dehumanize. It is too simplistic today to say that demons are keeping people enslaved.  The political, economic, social and religious structures on the one hand, and  the internal structures of greed, hatred, lust, fear and poor self- image, on the other hand dehumanize and enslave people today. One may also understand the petition in a general sense as referring to the need of mutual protection. God protects us through what we do for ourselves; we have to make it possible for all to live without fear. Hence, the prayer becomes a promise to create structures that help the well-being of all and also to help to free people from the internal unhealthy structures of greed etc: a call to personal conversion and to work for a better and more humane social structure, which is already implied in the earlier petition : "Your Kingdom come".

Conclusion

          This prayer of the Kingdom, then, proposes to us the manifold relationships that make up our life: inter-personal relations characterized by unconditional love; relation to things characterized by not hoarding, but sharing; and finally, creating structures that help all to live fearlessly and be beneficial to all. Through these threefold relations, we express our relation to God as Father/Mother, we honour God’s name, we bring about His/Her Kingdom on earth and we carry out His/Her will on earth. The loving relation to God is manifested precisely in the way we relate to one another, to things and to structures. In other words, when we truly love one another, we share our bread, we protect one another and we create conditions that are helpful to all. The goal of our life on earth is that we love as God loves. When we see this prayer as demanding such a serious commitment, we understand why in introducing this prayer at the Eucharist, the priests usually say,  "We make bold to say Our Father". We do need courage to say this prayer if we mean what we say, namely, a promise to God and to one another to make real God’s dream for us and for the earth.
         

postheadericon Fr. Gorosquieta sj


This video is taken from Mr. Vijay Macwan's Blog BBN (Bhumel Broadcast News).




Fr. Goros : Interview for Gujarat Province Movie 2012
Courtesy: gurjarvani1.blogspot.in

Moving towards an adult Faith

Joseph Mattam S.J.

*****************************************************

Christianity has appropriated the mentality, language and ways of thinking of the pre-Christian and of the early centuries of Christianity. The Hebrew Bible and its mentality certainly influenced Jesus’ own way of speaking. People have evolved culturally, socially and linguistically but our religious language and mentality have remained the same as if no change is required in that area. We need a radical re-thinking in many areas in order to speak a more honest language suited to the people of the present day.  Our language about God and about God’s doings needs urgent attention, etc. In this short paper I want to comment on our way of speaking about God and God’s action in the world. This is an area that the Church authorities and theologians seem reluctant to broach, for fear that what was held as truth for so many centuries may be found to be not all that true. This shakes up one’s security and hence the fear to touch on this theme.

Establishing a Right Relationship with One Another

According to Decree 3 of General Congregation 35 (2008) this is the second area in which Jesuits, as servants of Christ, are invited to work.
While in our global world
many people have been lifted from poverty,
the gap between rich and poor within nations
and across national boundaries has increased.

Transnational interests, unconstrained by
national laws and often abetted by corruption,
frequently exploit the natural resources
of the poor.
Powerful economic groups foment violence,
war and arms trafficking.


How can we see the world from the perspective
of the poor and the marginalized,
learning from them, acting with and for them?

How can we build bridges
between rich and poor,
establish advocacy links of mutual support
between those who hold political power
and those who find it difficult
to voice their interests?

“Shake off the dust of the Empire” (Pope John XXIII):
Reflections on Leadership in the Church

Joseph Mattam, S J

“Surely it is high time, and surely it would be to everyone’s advantage to ‘shake off the dust of the Empire that has gathered since Constantine’s day on the throne of St. Peter’” (Congar 1964: 127). These words spoken by the great John XXIII of happy memory will continue to challenge the Church leaders as long as they do not give up the ways of the Empire. 

Jesus had left no ambiguity about the nature and function of the leaders of his community. On no other area was Jesus clearer than on this. He spoke of it many times, even at the Last Supper, according to John and Luke. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve… (Mt 20. 24-28. See also Luke 22.24-27; Jn 13.1-20; Matt 23.11).  Though we have done it for centuries, we may not easily evade the impact of chapter 13 of John, where Jesus, while affirming his role as Master, washes the feet of his disciples. The “foot-washing” is to be the norm for the disciples of Jesus, especially for the leaders.

Jesus’ understanding of leadership was a consequence of the new outlook that he brought into the world: a new way of looking at and relating to people. His table fellowship was a way of telling us not to look at people on the basis of their possession, position, action, group, gender or appearance. He saw everyone from God’s point of view and therefore saw everyone as brothers and sisters, not as high and low, pure and impure. He envisaged a community of equals as brothers and sisters.

Here the leaders have failed Jesus totally. For, from around the 4th century the leaders took on the ways of the world and those who were to be servants of the community began to be called and lived as Lords, Eminences, Excellencies, Holiness, etc. It is only too shameful to think of the position, the titles, the dress, the way of life of the leaders of the Disciples of Christ, the foot-washing God. With the conversion of Constantine, and other emperors, the practices of the feudal kingdoms and of the empire passed into the Church. One cannot exaggerate the evils that have entered the Church through the policies of the Emperor and of the empire. The Church leaders blindly followed the pattern of the empire. The realities of the Church were modelled after the realities of the empire: the genuflection and the kissing of the feet. Thanks to the myth of the Donation of Constantine of honouring the pope with the emperor's honours and all the adornments of an Emperor, the diadem, the phrygium, the shoulder scarf, the purple cloak and the red tunic and the sceptre were taken over by the Church leaders. The pallium, and the stola, the insignia of high officials, made their appearance in the 5th century. The crozier came in Visigothic Spain in the 7th century and in Gaul in the 8th. The Episcopal ring, the tiara, the red cloak and the red shoes, were introduced as early as the 8th century in Spain and Gaul. Titles like Dominus (Lord), “Dom so and so”, and “my Lord Bishop” all came from the Empire system. Eminence and Excellency came from the Byzantine court. Under Constantine and after his time, the bishops were given privileges and honours; they were ranked in the Order of the illustri and took their place in the hierarchy of the State.

          The vocabulary in the Church was influenced by the court: the gospel became a “law”; God is the supreme emperor of the world, and the angels his ministers, Peter and Paul are the princes or senatores mundi - high dignitaries - of the world (Congar: 117).           Though claiming to have authority from the Gospels, it was in fact the feudal authority that justified the use of the titles and insignia and the whole system, and the day to day administration of the Church on feudal lines. In order to extricate the Church from subjection to secular powers, Pope Gregory VII wanted to strengthen the power of the papacy; he sought the help of canon law. The struggle between popes and secular princes leads to the understanding of the Church in an extremely juridical way, in terms of authority and powers. With Roland Bandinelli, who became Alexander III (1159-1181), “canon law was firmly established on the pontifical throne.” (Congar 1964: 104).  In the context of the pope’s struggle against Henry IV, Gregory VII spoke of the Church as “ecclesia non est ancilla, sed domina - the Church is not a servant but a mistress” (Congar 1964: 105), while well intentioned in the context, we know the harm it goes on doing in the world.
                  
          Such a total deviation from the Gospels led a normally gentle St. Bernard to write to his former subordinate Eugenius III (pope from 1145 to 1153): “When the pope, clad in silk, covered with gold and jewels, rides out on his white horse, escorted by soldiers and servants, he looks more like Constantine’s successor than St Peter’s”, and about the bishops he said, that they “looked like young brides on their wedding-day” (Congar 1964: 125).

          The modern states have given up what they have borrowed from the Church, but the Church has not rejected what it has borrowed from the state. It is unfortunate. Nowhere is a servant called “Lord, Eminence, Excellency, Holiness”, etc., except as a joke or an insult. There is nothing to commend the present practice: special dress that they wear (I am not referring to a simple cassock), the funny hat, the red cap, the rings, the staff, etc., and above all, the titles.  Hence all these require a drastic revision and discarding. There is no harm at all in dropping all this special dress,  the titles like Reverend, Lord and Eminence - these have to go - they have no right to exist except as a remnant of the Roman Empire, which has nothing to do with the Church of the poor Galilean. The reluctance on the part of the hierarchy to give up this ‘pagan’ custom and to become ‘brothers’ to one another is very baffling, to say the least. Some of the Bishops who may read this may remember that during the 2000 year jubilee celebration in Bangalore, where all the Indian Bishops and a few ‘dignitaries’ from Rome were present, I spoke in the general assembly for five minutes about this. The total silence that followed my intervention was intriguing! I hope, one of the things that would happen in the new millennium is that all the Church authorities, beginning with the bishop of Rome, would revert to Jesus’ understanding of authority and its ways of exercising and expressing it. Jesus could be challenged even by a non Jewish woman, but our present leaders may not be questioned. Leadership in the Church is for service as friends, and all the gospels show in clear terms that Jesus’ life was one of service and if anyone wishes to follow him, s/he will have to be a servant of all. Obviously the term ‘service’ is used in the Church, and some of them even have the audacity to call themselves ‘servants’ but that is service of un-equals, of the high and low, of the ‘haves and have-nots’. Jesus meant service as friends, as equals, though with distinct and different functions (Jn 13).

          Are the bishops to be blamed for this anomaly?  Often many of them are ignorant. Once I was in a meeting in Bombay with the Bishops of the Western Region. The question of the titles for the leaders of the Church came up; one of the bishops of happy memory said: “Your Grace, My Lords and Rev. Fathers, you do not know what you are talking about; it is not that we want to be called Lords, etc., but it is what the Lord Jesus wanted” - we all looked at each other and smiled; we did not think we could carry on with men like him, so all kept quiet about the matter.

          A few years ago in a seminar about priestly formation I had with the Bishops and seminary formation personnel of MP, the question of the titles again came up. After explaining what Jesus wanted, I asked them what prevented the bishops in India taking a decision for the new Millennium that they would not be called Eminences, Graces, Lords, but simply “brother so and so”? They all agreed that there was nothing to prevent them from doing it, but who will bell the cat? Who wants to give up privileges? I further added: we speak to the seminarians and students of theology about priesthood as service, not as honour, prestige and power. Even against young priests there are plenty of complaints that that they are very authoritarian and behave like ‘Lords’. Their eyes do not seem to be focused on the Lord Jesus, but on the ‘Lords’ they serve and obey now and are waiting to become like them, the moment they are ordained. Hence, if a radical change in the understanding of the priesthood is to be effected in the Church, at least in this matter a change from the top is necessary.

          All Christians belong to “a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pet. 2.9);  the leaders in this community have to represent Jesus who chose to be a servant, have to reveal Jesus as he revealed the Father in his attitudes, choices, compassion and whole life. It is agreed by all that the best way to lead is by example: “Set the Example and the tone”. Leading by example is a moral obligation. The leaders have a strong influence on the thoughts and behaviors of their followers – probably much stronger than one imagines. The leaders’ behavior is the real performance standard that team members will follow. Hence if we have to give a new ideal (which in fact is the oldest ideal from the NT) to our candidates for the priesthood, it is imperative that the present leaders, the Bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, and priests set the proper example and the desired tone and attitude. The leaders will have to show what they expect the new generations of leaders to become.

          This great failure raises questions about the Church’s right to speak for Jesus and in his name. Only when the Church becomes what Jesus had envisaged it to be, namely, a servant Church, the leaders becoming truly servants and ceasing to be Lords, etc., then the Church regains its authority to speak for God and in God’s name. It is true that Vatican II spoke of the Church as a people of God, but we all know how it has been effectively negated in the Church since Vatican II. That concept has been buried and the presumed hierarchical nature gained predominance.

          Jesus was often asked by whose authority he was doing what he was doing and he referred to his Father (Mk 11.27-33). There was a time in the Church when people were not familiar with the Bible, (even the New Testament), as it was in languages which ordinary people did not understand. But now that is not the case; people read the Bible and more especially the New Testament. They now know what Jesus wanted from the leaders in his Church; now they may no more ignore the teaching of Jesus. Could we ask our present leaders to explain to us on whose authority are they carrying on with these titles, and the special dress code, with the topi and the stick? Is it wrong for the community to ask its leaders to justify their practices on the basis of the New Testament? I have quoted above the texts that I see as coming from Jesus, telling us what we may expect from our leaders.  Since we do not get what we may rightly expect on the basis of the NT, may we not ask them if they have any other source of authority than the New Testament, and if they have, will they tell us that, so that we can follow them in good faith?

          When our bishops and other leaders accept that we all make mistakes and are ready to own them up, abandoning all false claims, and return to Jesus’ ways they become more credible, the Church will become more humane, more like what Jesus wanted his community to be. The Church has to accept that it erred grievously when it followed the way of the empire instead of that of Jesus. Those who claim to be the direct successors of the Apostles have committed many blunders - not surprising at all.  Jesus himself made mistakes and was ignorant of certain things, which was not considered an imperfection in the Son of God. Everybody knows that mistakes have been made in the past and will be made in the future - there is nothing strange in accepting them, and repenting of them, and starting anew. It is much more authentic and credible when the leaders of the Church accept themselves as fallible, which in fact they are, yet trying to follow the path of Jesus, in spite of all their failures. Then the Church will be able to help fallible and weak humans, who would otherwise be intimidated by an infallible Church, and emperor like leaders. Jesus opted to be like us, instead of threatening us with his formidable divinity. The fact that false claims have been made and defended over the centuries is no reason for carrying on with them. Alternatives are possible. It is never too late to revert to the Gospels and Jesus’ teachings, especially on leadership in the Church and all become brothers/sisters.


Reference
Congar, Yves (1964): Power and Poverty in the Church, Helicon, Baltimore.

postheadericon RIP


R.I.P.

Fr .Gorosquieta Jose Luis (GUJ) 78/60 expired on Tuesday  ( 03- 07-2012 ) around 6.00p.m in Radhanpur. He had a severe heart attack  and he died in the Hospital in Radhanpur.
The funeral was held at 4.00 p.m in  Catholic Ashram, Dhandhuka  on Wednesday (04-07-2012).


Personal Information


Date of Birth: 18- 06 1934
Entrance in the Society: 07 -09- 1952
Final Vows:  15- 08-1979
Priesthood: 25-03-1965
Died : 03-07-2-12

Responsibilities Held

Asst.PP : Mariampura _ Petlad   1967
Parish Priest (Acting from Mariampura) 1968
Parish Priest- Mariampura –Petlad: 1969
Parish Priest: Dhandhuka 1976 – 2004
Superior : Dhandhuka – Sanand 2004- 2010
Asst PP: Dhandhuka 2004- 2012

Apostle of  Dhandhuka  Mission

He Came to India and went for theological studies in Pune and after that he began to study seriously the Gujarati by attending classes in a local school and practicing it as best as he could whilst visiting the houses of the poor of the neighbourhood to whom he would distribute simple medicines for their various ailments. People also remember with a good deal of amusement his contribution to the ‘simpatico club’ of those days that besides organizing enjoyable recreation, also undertook the serious business of planting trees around De Nobili Colllege where earlier was nothing but rocks.

The people of Mariampura have much to be grateful for. The beautiful church he built for them was only an external expression of the spiritual church of Christ that he helped them to become with much toil and prayer and with particular care for the education of poor students.

Even after the heart operation he was still an inspiration to the younger Jesuits with his missionary activities. He used to go from house to house and village to village in Dhandhuka areas to help the poor to rebuild their  houses and to revive their spirits after the calamitous earthquake of Jan 2001. He undertook a lot of agro-developmental works especially during the drought hit years and organized works for food to those in need and helped the poor farmers with seeds and fertilizers.

Courtesy: email from the Socius

Challenges to our mission today:
Sent to the frontiers

 
In this new world
of instant communication and digital technology ,
of worldwide markets ,
and of universal aspiration for peace and well being ,

we are faced with growing tensions and paradoxes
We live in a culture that shows partiality to autonomy and the present
and yet we have a world so much in need of building a future in solidarity ;
we have better means of communication
but often experience isolation and exclusion ;
some have greatly benefited , while others have been marginalized and excluded ;
our world is increasingly transnational , and yet it needs to affirm and protect local and particular identities;
scientific knowledge has reached the deepest mysteries of life ,
and yet the very dignity of life itself
and
the world we live in are threatened.

In this global world marked by such profound changes
we want to deepen our understanding of
          
the call to serve faith,
       promote
justice
       and
dialogue with culture and other religions

in the light of the apostolic mandate to establish right relationships
             with God, with one another, and with creation

[35 th General Congregation Society of Jesus, 2008, Decree 3]

Courtesy:http://www.sjweb.info/mission/mission_home.cfm

postheadericon Jesus betrayed – again and again

Jesus betrayed – again and again
Joseph Mattam, S.J.
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We read in the New Testament that Judas, one of the disciples of Jesus, betrayed him. Authors discuss whether this is a historical fact or a theological construct; however, what is sure is that the followers of Jesus, especially those who claim to be the successors of the Apostles, have been continuing to follow the way of Judas down the centuries. They have been betraying Jesus all through the centuries. Out of the thousands of instances, let us recall just a few.

Let me clarify at the outset that this is not an attack on anybody, but an attempt to look honestly at what is happening in the Church that I love. I trust my write-up, even if unpalatable, may be a small contribution towards the renewal of our Church according to the mind and heart of Jesus. 

Jesus had said, calling him Lord was not sufficient (Matt 7.21ff), but we must do the will of the Father; which shows that for Jesus orthopraxis was more important than orthodoxy. Jesus said quite simply that we are all sisters and brothers, one family of equals (Matt 23.8ff); we are to call one another merely brother/sister, and to love one another as Jesus himself has loved us. He said that we have a common Parent whom he called ‘Abba’, unconditionally loving Father. He assured us of his presence with us; he said His Spirit would guide us.  Jesus himself had left hardly any doctrines. He did not teach many truths that need protection; what he said was something to be lived. For the ‘successors of the Apostles’, through the centuries, orthodoxy became so important that they set themselves up as the guardians of the volumes and volumes of doctrines they themselves have produced.  For the sake of orthodoxy, they have been ready to punish by severe torture, excommunication, and - in the past - even death anyone who might deviate from these doctrines. The Inquisition, witch-hunting, murder of sorcerers were all geared to defending the correct doctrine, something to which Jesus, as He is revealed in His “Good News”, had not given any importance.   Is this not a betrayal of Jesus? 

Jesus was very respectful of people’s freedom. He often used the words: “if you want”. The successors have so drastically curtailed the freedom of speech, of thought, of research through severe punishments like withdrawal of license to teach, prohibition to write, excommunication, and - in the past - even murder. Wonder if there is any society where one is so un-free. You may not express any opinion other than what Rome decides is the right position – freedom of a monkey tied to a rope! Is this not a betrayal of Jesus?

Jesus could be challenged. Once he allowed a Syrophoenician woman, a gentile, an impure person according to the Jewish law, possibly an illiterate, poor person to challenge his views and forced him to change his stand (Mk 7.24-30); today no one is allowed even to raise any questions about the successors of the apostles; if you raise questions about what is going on in the Church, or if you raise doubts about a particular non-infallible teaching, you could be excommunicated (late sententiae -automatically)–are these developments not a betrayal of Jesus?

Jesus had told the disciples very clearly more than once that they were not to be like the leaders in the world; they had to be different, the highest had to be the least and Jesus himself had given the example of the foot-washing – the task of a slave. He had insisted that they were all brothers and sisters and they should wash one another’s feet, that they should be slaves to one another freely and that they were not even to call anyone Father or Master. However, what have the ‘successors’ done? Just the opposite of what Jesus wanted by having set themselves up as a hierarchy, and being called Reverend, Lord, Eminence, Excellency, Holiness, which are all part of the empire system, which Jesus had explicitly rejected (Matt 6.24, Mt 20.25-26; 23.7; Lk 11.43; 20.46). What is surprising is that, at the same time, they even call themselves ‘servants’ and go on “prescribing” the same titles in the Annuarium Pontificium and continue to behave like Reverends, Lords, etc. Where is a servant called ‘reverend, lord’, etc?  They have become a class above and apart from the community of believers, “prescribing” and wearing showy, rich, high-profile dress, and claiming to have special powers. It is no longer a difference and hierarchy of charisms, but a hierarchy of dignity and power. Is this not a betrayal of Jesus? 

Jesus gave us the picture of a God who is very near to everyone, especially sinners and the rejected of society. Jesus had thanked his Father for revealing God-self to the little ones (Matt 11.25ff). The ‘successors of the Apostles’ have set up a system in which God looks more like an emperor, inaccessible to the poor and the sinner, who needs mediators both in heaven and on earth. Jesus showed us a God who is near, and did not need any mediation, except the Mediator God sent, namely God’s Son (1 Tim 2.5) and the mediation of love to know him and commune with him. Did not the ‘successors’ betray Jesus?

Jesus’ main teaching was about the love of God for sinners, how God loves and welcomes sinners with a banquet and who is in no way conditioned by our deeds, but by our needs alone (Matt 20.1-15; Lk 15.1-32).  Through his table fellowship, and his rubbing shoulders with the unclean and sinners Jesus had shown God as love: God loves sinners. This God does not demand the sacrifice of his innocent Son. The Romans murdered Jesus because the people had declared him the king of the Jews; the cleansing of the temple and the prediction of its destruction too had political implications; the Jews had reason to get rid of him, as his teachings and life would destroy their religion as they practiced it.  The ‘successors’ interpreted this cruel murder as a sacrifice offered to God who certainly did not demand such a sacrifice. God could never “bless” a murder and demand or even approve of the criminal murder of His most innocent and faithful servant, God’s own Beloved Son.  I am aware that due to texts like Deut 21.23 they had difficulty in understanding the crucifixion of Jesus. Besides, the very early Christians did not have the whole New Testament with them; hence, they continued to interpret the events in the light of the picture of God they had from the OT.  Nonetheless, the “successors”’ later interpretation of it is, to my mind, a betrayal of Jesus.

For Jesus, the remembrance of his life and death was in a simple human gesture of breaking bread in homes in his memory while they continued with their Jewish religious practices. This “breaking of bread” (Acts 2.42) was the distinctive mark of the community; this was a unique gesture of a community of equals expressing their sense of unity, equality, belongingness, friendship, while thereby “giving thanks” (Eucharist) to God, exactly as Jesus had done.  Shared bread and cup were symbols of the Kingdom that he wanted to bring about on earth. The Kingdom is depicted in terms of a banquet (Is 25.6ff; 55.1 ff; Matt 22.1-14; Lk 14.16ff), not a sacrifice. Paul, following Jesus’ teaching, insisted on unity and brotherhood as the requirement for sharing in this ritual (1 Cor 11.17-34); the “successors” set this up as sacrifice offered to God by a priest. Jesus had said that God did not want sacrifice but compassion, mercy and love. Cult was not Jesus’ concern at all.  The Eucharist is the Lord’s Gift to his followers, but many Christians are deprived of it due to the rules and regulations imposed later, like the absolute necessity of a priest. And we all can see how much the Unique Gift of the Master has been “commercialized”, while the sisters and brothers either did not very often even care to attend the “Sacrifice offered by the Priest” at their own request, or could not truly share in it due to imposed multiple regulations.  Is this not a betrayal of Jesus? 

Jesus had spoken of his presence to the community. He had said that when his disciples, reconciled to one another, gather in his name, he would be present to them (Matt 18. 19 ff); he had said that when his disciples responded lovingly and caringly to the needy, hungry, homeless and naked, he would be present (Matt 25. 31 ff). On the cross, once again, he showed where one would find God, namely, in the suffering persons and in responding lovingly to such persons. The disciples, especially the ‘successors’ have built millions of Churches and even rich and artistic tabernacles to preserve Jesus. The Jews of old had tried to fix God in a temple; but the disciples have done better than that.  Would Jesus have wanted this system or, rather, that we build homes for the homeless ‘temples’ of God? Is this not a betrayal of Jesus? The above observation does not mean I am forgetting that the “Reserve” was initially meant for the sick and those who in particularly difficult circumstances were unable to share in the common “Breaking of the Bread”. Nor do I wish to underestimate the value of the divine intimacy and often also of fraternal love fostered by the Eucharistic Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle, as experienced by countless faithful throughout the centuries. 
In his parable about the Last Judgement, Jesus had said clearly that it was by meeting the needs of the needy that we meet, worship and serve him, but the successors have set up a religious system with thousands of cultic practices. Jesus had said that his Father did not want sacrifices but justice, fidelity and compassion, but the successors insist on offering sacrifice to God, and set themselves up as priests to offer sacrifice to God. Jesus had not called himself or his disciples priests, for by Jesus’ time the term priest had come to mean exclusively one who offers sacrifice to God, a cultic, sacred, set-apart person. If Jesus had spoken of himself or his disciples as priests, he would have completely misguided the community. The term ‘priest’ is not what he had left for the leaders of the community, but ‘servants’- and ‘servants’ are not Reverends, Lords, Eminences, Excellencies, Holiness. Have we not betrayed Jesus?

            Jesus emphasized God’s unconditional love for the sinner. He also insisted that we forgive one another 70 times 7, that we correct one another and help one another to behave well (Matt 18. 15ff).  The ‘successors’ teach and act as if it is  only through a priest that we can receive God’s forgiveness and they claim to have special powers to offer or withhold forgiveness in God’s name (Are not Gospel texts like Mt 16.19, 18.28 and Jn 20.23 being misunderstood and misused? Did Jesus ever appear as withholding forgiveness or postponing it?). I am not questioning the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That is a unique gift of Peace and Joy Jesus left for His Church.  We humans need to feel or experience in a human way (God-in-the-flesh, Incarnation) the invisible yet ever-loving Abba’s forgiveness. We as a Community need to joyfully (not “judicially”) welcome back in our midst a sinful sister/brother. We need to celebrate the “return of the prodigal”, for this Sacrament is to be truly a celebration of the Father’s ever open and embracing arms of love revealed now in this Community through its ministers, who are always “servants” at the service of LOVE. With all the minute prescriptions through the centuries, has the Sacrament been taught and lived in this way? Has not Jesus been betrayed here too? 

            The disciples have double standards. For example, they pick up the idea of the incarnation, which is so fundamental to our faith, from John, but for the founding of the church they prefer Matthew, though John has two clear stories of the founding of the Church (Jn 20.21ff and 21.15ff). If the leaders had followed John in this, we would have had a very different Church from the present one. 

For Jesus salvation was a matter of accepting Jesus (Jn 17.3), of proper and just relationship (Lk 19.1-10), of caring for the needy (Mt 25.31ff); and to become perfect he demanded that we sell everything and give to the poor (Mk 10.21). His followers, especially the successors, would focus on life after death, (as we can see even in very many prayers of the Roman Missal), and they demand that people accept so many doctrines as a necessity for salvation. Jesus had told the teachers of the law, “But woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them” (Matt 23.13-14). Is it justified to make salvation depend on the acceptance of doctrines that the ‘successors’ have themselves formulated,  including even things that Jesus had never even thought of, like the doctrine of original sin, and so many others. Is this not a betrayal of Jesus?

Jesus’ life was characterised by concern for the poor, the unwanted, the least and the last. But the successors’ life would be most often characterised by their unconcern for the needy and the poor, by their siding with the rich and the powerful, as most of them had become rich and powerful. Jesus had advocated ‘the other cheek’. The ‘successors’ would defend “just wars”, torture and (in the past) even murder - all in the name of this Jesus. Have they not betrayed Jesus? I do not ignore the more recent developments in official pronouncements regarding  this area of just wars, etc.

            The Jews had 613 commandments; Jesus summarized the whole lot of them into one commandment   (Matt 22.34ff); the successors would make 1753 laws and in the process forget the one commandment that Jesus gave us. Have they not betrayed Jesus?

These are only few of the areas where, in my frankly expressed opinion, the successors of the Apostles, forgetting authentic Gospel demands, have betrayed Jesus. There are many more areas, where they betray Jesus, but we shall not go into more instances.  I do not deny that the points I have raised above are open to discussion – so let us discuss these. We all need to go back to Jesus and his simple teaching of brotherly/sisterly love and mutual service as equals, and abandon the empire system we have inherited.

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