31 March 2014
The members of GC27, assembled in fervent prayer and openness of mind from 25th March till the week-end to perform a responsible task of choosing the members of the GENERAL COUNCIL. A GENERAL ELECTION] Very clearly, the term "Elections" in democratic and implies a choice of the people and expressed by the people in a process where candiddates "stand for election" and personally or assisted by supporters canvass for votes for a particular rank of position. The candidates and the parties they represent are pitted against eachother as rivals and seek votes,through debates and policy promises to the electorate. Nasty encounters and mudslinging accusations are often part of the process in politics. A clear case in point is the furore over the 'Parliamentary Elections 2014" in India. God forbid it deteriorates into violence and destruction of lives and property. God grant India peace and prosperity, justice and communal harmony in this country blessed with a multitude of cultures and religions. Do General Elections follow the same process in the Church? Here, the process is steeped in a prayerful atmosphere and spirtual context and not a secular contest. The voting community turns to God for assistance to discern the "selection" of the candidate and seen as the choice of God himself. In faith,it has always been God who selects his Prophets from biblical times. We should rather speak of GENERAL SELECTIONS.
8 March 2014
As we stepped into Lent 2014, with ashes on our forehead, the Mass readings of Ash-wednesday, especially the Gospel seemed to have a new message for me. Yes, Lent calls us to Fasting, Praying and Almsgiving. Jesus is certainly not playing down the age-old practice of asceticism. However, he draws our attention to the vanity of fasting, praying and almsgiving prompted by an exhibitionist attitude. In Mathew's Gospel,chapter 6, Jesus repeatedly uses the word "secret" as the necessary condition to receive rewards from the Lord. "Your Father, who sees you in secret will reward you", Christian spirituality is essentially an "interior life". 'Secrecy' and not publicity of our ascetism merits reward feom our heavenly Father. Jesus denounced every form of external activities and appearances of piety calling it 'hypocrisy' and comparing it to 'whitewashed sepulchres'. Lent is not a 40-day spiritual exhibition of christian virtues. Lent then, is more about repentance and reconciliation through conversion of the heart (inner life) which alone will find us resurrecting in Jesus Christ, our Risen Saviour..
3 March 2014
"Valentines Day" on 14th February each year is increasingly being celebrated as a feast of love in the secular world while in the Church calendar, St. Valentine, from whom this feast gets its name, is no more mentioned since 1969. Valentine, purported to be a 3rd century christian monk who risked his life helping young couples to remain faithful in love was venerated for centuries. The existence of such a saint has been lost in myths but the value of love, though distorted still remains. A search through the dictionary revealed the many aspects of Love with some equating it to Romance. However, in one dictionary I found a clear distinction between Love and Romance. It said: Love is a mutual commitment without conditions. Romance instead, is rather an affair surviving on many mutual conditions. As such therefore, Love tends to be a more permenant relationship "in good times or in bad times, in sickness or in health". Romance instead is a pseudo-love, or "puppy love" as the song goes. Too full of demands and conditions destined to crash the relationship at any time,before or after marriage. True Love in the pattern of Jesus' example is the biblical description: Greater love no man has than a man who lays down his life for his friend or spouse. All that goes by the name of love, today,is attractive Romance and explains the weak stability in marriage commitments. If Valentine Day is to gain its pristine purpose of fostering true love, our celebrations should shift from the trap of ephemeral Romance and promote true Love founded on honesty, sacrifice and faithful commitment.