Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 10 • MAR 09 - 15, 2019

01 Cover

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:12 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:12 AM ]


03 Index

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:11 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:11 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:10 AM ]


05 Editorial - Pope Francis' Message for Lent: Communion with Creation

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:07 AM ]

The redemption of Creation takes centre stage in Pope Francis' Lenten message this year, which connects man's sinfulness to environmental issues.

"Sin leads man to consider himself the god of Creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator, but for his own interests, to the detriment of other creatures," Pope Francis wrote in his Lenten message for 2019. "Once God's law, the law of love, is forsaken… it leads to the exploitation of Creation, both persons and the environment, due to that insatiable covetousness which sees every desire as a right and, sooner or later, destroys all those in its grip," he said.

The Pope's message is a reflection on a line from St Paul's Letter to the Romans, "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God." "All Creation is called, with us, to go forth from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God," Pope Francis said. "Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion."

Ultimately, Pope Francis points to the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving as the remedy to the rupture between God, man and Creation, caused by sin.

In fasting, we learn "to change our attitude towards others and all of Creation, turning away from the temptation to 'devour' everything to satisfy our voracity, and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts," he explained. Prayer leads us to "abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego," he added. Through almsgiving, "we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us," Pope Francis said.

The Pope warned against living "a life that exceeds those limits imposed by our human condition and Nature itself. The sin that lurks in the human heart takes the shape of greed and unbridled pursuit of comfort, lack of concern for the good of others and even of oneself. Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogans 'I want it all, and I want it now!' and 'Too much is never enough' gains the upper hand."

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Vatican's Department for Integral Human Development, explained the logic behind this year's Lenten message as rooted in the Church's social doctrine of humanity as an "interconnected and interdependent part of the world" that God created, adding that the Genesis narrative places the human being as "high priest of Creation."

"The redemption of humanity and its liberation from evil and sin express the redemption of all Creation from the curse, and from all the evils that it suffers because of the sin of humanity," said Cardinal Turkson. "In this Lenten time, awaiting the celebration of the memory of Christ's redeeming work for us, so that Christ's victory over sin and death may also become ours, we ourselves who possess the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly waiting for adoption as children, the redemption of our body."

Msgr Segundo Tejado Munoz, undersecretary of the dicastery of Integral Human Development added: "Every action of man, both for evil and for good, has cosmic consequences. Every abuse, every theft, every murder—each of these makes a planet disappear. Every action of ours has a reaction in Creation; the need among all of us is conversion."

Pope Francis' Lenten message contains a reminder that "the 'Lenten' period of forty days spent by the Son of God in the desert of Creation had the goal of making it once more that garden of communion with God that it was before original sin. May our Lent this year be a journey along that same path, bringing the hope of Christ also to Creation."

Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency

06 The Great Combat - Fr. Lawrence A D'Souza

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:05 AM ]

Reflections on the First Sunday of Lent

In the First Sunday of Lent, the Church invites us to enter into the "Great Combat", as Luke depicts it when Jesus is tempted by the devil in the desert.

The story of the temptation follows the Gospel account of the Baptism of Jesus, in which the mystery of death and Resurrection, sin and redemption is prefigured. Being submerged in the river is a symbolic representation of the process of death. An old life is buried, so that a new one can arise. Because Jesus Himself is without sin and has no old life to bury, His acceptance of Baptism is an anticipation of the Cross, whereby He begins to share in our lot and to take upon Himself our sins and our death.

THE FIRST TEMPTATION

After forty days of fasting, Jesus was hungry. The basic bodily need for nourishment becomes the point of departure for the Temptation. But something else is hidden there too. The First and the Third Temptations begin with the phrase, "If you are the Son of God…" We will hear this phrase again from those who taunted Our Lord at the foot of the Cross: "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Mt 27:40). That is mockery, but at the same time, a challenge – Christ should go about proving His claim, if He is to be believed. And we too make the same demand of God and Christ and His Church throughout the course of history: "If you exist, O God, then show yourself… If you Christ are truly the Son of God, part the clouds that conceal you and give us the clarity..."

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08 Re-Visioning the Season of Lent - Ian Pinto SDB

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:03 AM ]

The Season of Lent usually coincides with school and university examinations. Just like examinations, Lent also demands preparation. Every child knows that if they really want to enjoy their vacations, they have got to put in the effort to answer their exams well. Similarly, Christians are reminded, year after year, that if God's Easter promise is to make sense and be fulfilled, then they have to buckle up and put themselves through the grind of preparation, sacrifice and hard work. This is essentially what Lent is all about: taking stock of one's life, seeing where one stands vis-à-vis God and His Will, effecting life-enhancing change and working towards establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Here are three 'revisions' that Lent requires each one to make:

Revision of Identity

The first challenge Lent puts before us is to get back to our roots and critically examine our lives. This is one of the most fundamental characteristics of the season. Lent is incomplete without a critical self-examination. This is the part where one is required to take stock, and see where one stands vis-à-vis God and His plan. The first important thing to realise is that we are all children of a loving God. Our God is not a tyrant. He is a loving parent who cares for us, and wants to see us bloom and flourish.

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09 JOURNEYING through the Desert - Christopher Mendonca

posted Mar 6, 2019, 9:01 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 9:01 AM ]

When the Israelites left Egypt, delivered from slavery
on that first Passover Night,
the excitement and joy of their newfound freedom
descended on them like a cloud.
Even as they waded through the Sea of Reeds
unscathed, and made their way through the desert,
celebrating the wonders the LORD had done for them,
they took no notice of it, until the cloud of complacency was lifted
and the desert began to reveal its authenticity.
The rumblings of hunger soon gave way to grumblings
as they suddenly began to think that they were better off in Egypt.
It seemed now that their 'freedom' was an illusion,
The LORD had flattered only to deceive, so they thought.

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10 The Love/Hate Bond between the Popes and Rock - John L. Allen Jr.

posted Mar 6, 2019, 8:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 8:59 AM ]

When Pope Francis took a shot at the bands Queen and Florence & The Machine in his annual Lenten message this year, it was merely the latest chapter in a love/hate story between Popes and rock-and-roll.

Since the birth of rock in the late 1940s, Popes have run alternately hot and cold about it; sometimes deriding rock as a "vehicle of anti-religion," while at other times hailing its potential to be a sort of pre-gospel, offering what St Justin, a martyr in the second century, would have called Logos Spermatiko, or 'Seeds of the Word'. From the beginning, there's been an assumption of animus between Popes and rock, given that rock-and-roll incarnates the rejection of tradition and authority—two things of which the Popes generally serve as the world's pre-eminent representative.

So strong was the presumption of mutual dislike that when The Beatles released their ballad "Fool on the Hill" in 1967, a track from the film 'Magical Mystery Tour', many critics took it as a mocking reference to Pope Paul VI, now St Paul VI.

The relevant lyrics were:

Day after day, alone on a hill

The man with the foolish grin is sitting perfectly still

Nobody wants to know him

They can see that he's just a fool

But he never gives an answer
.

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12 Youth Pages

posted Mar 6, 2019, 8:57 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 8:57 AM ]

YAA BASH -
Back to the '90s

One of the most cherished parts of one's life is often one's school and college days. Fond memories of forming friendships, exploring the world, experiencing and enjoying the new found 'independence' makes this period special. For those in the age group of 25-40 years, this exciting time was the 1990s. And hence it wasn't a surprise that the 'back to '90s theme' for the YAA Bash (Young Adults Association) was a complete hit. With the Shahenshah of the big screen—Big B, and the perfectionist of the small screen—'Monica' of F.R.I.E.N.D.S' fame doing us a big favour of compering the event, the crowd was in splits, thoroughly entertained and completely engaged. Our homegrown Amitabh Bachchan and Courtney Cox—Elvis and Kate—did a brilliant job with the compering, staying in character throughout the event! Their one-liners, spontaneous acting and comments had all of us enthralled.

We began the evening with a prayer and thanksgiving song that allowed us to praise and thank God for the wonderful experiences and the opportunities that YAA has blessed us all with. The YAA Bash is also an opportunity to get to know and network with other youth in the same age group within the parish. The YAA enabled this with a fun icebreaker, and an even better quiz round.

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NYGs bring Smiles to Juhu-Tara

At Holy Cross Church, Juhu-Tara, the Neighbourhood Youth Groups (NYGs) began with a bang. In June 2018, we started re-forming the NYGs in our seven SCCs, which, through active participation, has helped our parish become vibrant by organising various programmes to help our 500 families—both rich and poor, young and old—bond together.

The youth worked collectively to bring a fresh sparkle in the parish. Several activities were held during the year. Some of them were:

• Competitions like 'Best out of Waste' and drawing were held to bring out the hidden talents in our children; the response was very encouraging.

• In collaboration with the SVP in our parish, a breakfast fiesta was organised to help raise funds for the adopted families.

• Parents/Grandparents' Day was celebrated on the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne. Hand-made cards and chocolates were presented to parents and grandparents by some NYGs; this gesture was greatly appreciated.

• During the Nativity novenas, a mini fun fair was organised by one of the communities, which not only boosted the morale of the youth, but also helped us raise funds for our future programmes.

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14 Book Review

posted Mar 6, 2019, 8:55 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 6, 2019, 8:55 AM ]

Justice & Solidarity

(Stories and Reflections on the Gospels – Cycle C) – Rev. Fr John D'Mello
Published by Daughters of St Paul, Waterfield Road, Bandra, Mumbai 400050. pp 192. Price: Rs 150/-

This offering from Fr John, with its stories and reflections on the Gospels of Year C, completes the trilogy on the liturgical cycles, and in true biblical tradition, the best wine has been kept for last. The first two books (Gospel Confronts Life and From Empathy to Justice) are deeply inspiring and motivating, but Justice & Solidarity goes beyond, in that it is a marvellous eye-opener in many ways, making the reader see the familiar Gospel narratives in a very different and thought-provoking light. The over-riding theme, reflected in the title, is 'solidarity' - the coming together of groups in a network in order to transform society, thus making sure that no one walks alone. These reflections, then, are a stirring call to action, as we shall see.

From Sunday to Sunday, and one liturgical season to the next, the Church chooses for us the readings that still resonate in our present situation, though they come to us from the past. But, because they are familiar, we sometimes fail to connect with the deeper message, or perhaps we need to see the old message with new eyes and insight. The author provides us, upfront, with his reasons for the interpretation he presents to the readers. "…I have dwelt on the "front of the text" as opposed to the "behind of the text". Scripture scholars speak of the "behind of the text" as referring to the mind or intention of the biblical author when they wrote 2000 years ago. Scholars speak of the "front of the text" when they refer to "contemporary" applications that can be made by the interpreter, applications that are relevant for today." The emphasis, therefore, is contemporary and relatable.

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