Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 15 • APR 13 - 19, 2019

01 Cover

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:22 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 11, 2019, 5:48 PM ]


03 Index

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:20 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 9:20 AM ]


04 Engagements

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:18 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 9:19 AM ]


05 Editorial - Christus Vivit

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:11 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 9:11 AM ]

The face of Christ, confident and resolute, as He triumphantly enters into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, knowing fully well what lies ahead, is the face of Youth! "A young person is a promise of life that implies a certain degree of tenacity," says Pope Francis, in his recently published Apostolic Exhortation to Young People – Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive). The release of this document a few days before Palm Sunday is no coincidence, as this day has been commemorated as World Youth Day in dioceses around the world since 1985, through the initiative begun by Saint Pope John Paul II. Indeed, Christus Vivit is a tribute to the courage, faithfulness and restlessness of youth searching for the Divine.

Words like 'life', 'alive' and 'living' occur in the text more than 280 times, about as many times as the word 'young', pointing to what Pope Francis considers the key to discerning the role of young people in the life and mission of the Church. Youth is a living testament to the 'life in abundance' that Christ brings us. Life implies constant growth and movement, a rejection of stagnancy and yearning for the convenient. It is because of this restlessness, this 'life', that the Church can claim to be "the real youth of the world", in spite of being an ancient institution. The document is a fruit of 'listening' – which Pope Francis says the Church ought to do more of – and showcases the Pope's desire for the Church to follow a synodal path of decision making.

Pope Francis urges young people to remember a great message containing three fundamental truths– truths that every young person must carry in his/her heart, as they face seemingly insurmountable challenges and exhausting hurdles. First, that God loves you no matter what, because you are the work of His hands. It is not a love that domineers or overwhelms; it is a love that is free and freeing, a love that heals and raises up. Second, Christ saved you, because only what is loved can be saved. Christ's sacrifice was total and unconditional, because we were precious and priceless to Him. Therefore, Pope Francis says, "You are not for sale! Do not let yourself be bought. Do not let yourself be enslaved by ideologies, making you slaves and addicts of passing fads." Thirdly, Christ is alive! Christ is not a distant memory from the past, but He fills our space and time right now in the present. Evil could not keep Jesus dead, nor will it have the last word in our lives. Our Saviour triumphs, and that enables us to always look to the future with confidence and courage.

Pope Francis tells young people that these three truths must seize their imagination. These truths must be their constant source of spiritual replenishment, like "a tree that is planted by a running stream, its leaves shall always stay green." (Jer 17:8). Indeed, this is the fulcrum on which the entire mystery of Holy Week hinges. As we journey through Holy Week, we experience the infinite depth of God's love for us. We are saved by Christ's supreme sacrifice, not because we deserve it, but because we are loved. The climactic truth is seen in the bursting forth of Light, Truth and Eternity in the Resurrection of Christ. Christ is alive!

Pope Francis exhorts young people to always grow in relationship with the Father, to be aware of being part of a family and a people, and to be open to the promptings of the Spirit. Like Jesus, who went about His Father's business in the prime of His youth, they must show profound compassion for the weakest and the poor, the courage to confront corrupted authority in every sphere of life, to put their trust in deep friendships, to be stars of light in the night of other young people. Beset by the scourge of scandal and wrongdoing, the balm of holiness, generated by the lofty spiritual lives of so many young people, can heal the wounds of the Church and the world.

The Pope gives the example of many prophets and persons in the Old and New Testaments, and of the saints, who showed the tenacity, courage and the willingness to say 'Yes' to God's call at a very young age. But it is Mary's example that shines forth in the heart of the Church. She was prepared to commit, to take risks, to ask questions, to embrace suffering; she was ready to stake everything she had on God. In this way, she became a powerful "influencer" of God. By their life, love and leaven, young people are called to become "influencers" of God's Message of Salvation and bring His indestructible happiness to all.

Fr Joshan Rodrigues is on the Editorial Board of The Examiner.

06 "Neither do I condemn you"

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

Homily preached by His Eminence, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, at the Ordination Mass at St Pius X College

The key words in today's Gospel are these very meaningful words of Our Lord, "Neither do I condemn you." My dear Ashwin, Omar, Renold and Leon, you are being ordained during the Liturgy of the fifth Sunday of Lent, when the Church presents to us the beautiful narrative of the forgiveness of the woman caught in adultery from St John's Gospel. While the date for the ordination is chosen by the Seminary, for those with faith, nothing happens just by chance. The Lord is giving you and us a very apt message that is most relevant to the ministry of priests.

In this particular Gospel incident, we notice that the Jews and the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus in a conflict between the narrow legalism of condemnation and the unlimited mercy of God. If Jesus said she should not be stoned, He would be going against the Law of Moses which they quoted to Him. How could a devout Jew, moreover one claiming to be a prophet, do so? If, on the other hand, Jesus protected her from stoning to death, He would be seen condoning immorality. How do you reconcile the two?

The loving and compassionate face of God in Jesus could not condemn her, nor could He break Moses' Law. Instead, Jesus who had come to save, just responded, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." And He began writing on the sand. What He wrote we do not know. Scripture does not record that. But one by one, they dropped the stones they were carrying, instruments for the woman's execution, and quietly departed. When no one was left, Jesus looked around and asked the woman, "Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."

For me, personally, this is one of the most beautiful incidents in the Gospel. It shows Jesus as most merciful, the door for our salvation. As you begin your priestly ministry today, I invite you to take this as one of your foundational principles. "Neither do I condemn you." You are sent, as priests, not to condemn people, not to search out their faults and condemn, but to be dispensers of God's goodness and mercy. All priests are called to personify the mercy of God who by forgiving, redeems, and by reconciling, renews.

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08 Religion and Politics, Church and State - Austin Ivereigh & Kathleen Griffin

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 9:09 AM ]

Part - II (Continued from The Examiner issue (March 30 - April 5, 2019)

With more than 1.2 billion adherents — about one-fifth of the world's population — the Church is the world's oldest and largest organisation, present through more than 400,000 priests, 800,000 religious sisters and 219,655 parishes. It is the world's second largest international development body (after the UN), and the second largest humanitarian agency (after the Red Cross). Caritas Internationalis, the 60-year-old Rome-based confederation of 165 national bodies of Catholic charities in more than 200 countries, estimates its combined budget at over $5 billion. In Africa, the Church runs a quarter of all the hospitals, and provides around 12 million school seats each year. Globally, it runs more than 5,000 hospitals, 17,500 dispensaries, and 15,000 homes for the elderly, along with tens of thousands of schools. As well as laying claim to be the world's leading moral teacher and guide — an 'expert in humanity', as the Vatican's Justice and Peace Council puts it — the Catholic Church is the largest and most influential actor in global civil society.

Like other global players, it has 'international policy objectives'. The Catholic Church is the only religious body to have an unofficial presence — that of Observer Status — at the United Nations (UN). It is the only religion with a diplomatic corps. But then, the Church is a uniquely significant institution.

Worldwide, the Church is a crucial backer of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a tireless promoter of debt cancellation and other forms of financial aid to the developing world. The Vatican is the world's first carbon-neutral state. The Holy See plays a crucial role in disarmament negotiations and arms trade treaties; in campaigning against the death penalty worldwide; in negotiating the release of hostages; and in conflict resolution. These are the kinds of initiatives which Vatican diplomats are engaged in every day — but which are seldom reported.

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10 An Ecological Way of the Cross - Bishop Thomas Dabre

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 9:06 AM ]

Reflections on the 14 Stations

O Lord, we thank you for your sacrifice on the Cross. Thereby, you redeemed, saved and renewed the world. Help us to work for the betterment of the environment and the Earth.

JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

Generally, animals and birds and plants are innocent, and do not attack us. Yet, Nature in many ways is punished and condemned by human beings. Pilate punished an innocent Christ; we too condemn an innocent Nature unjustly.

By the scourge of pollution, we punish a pure, serene and harmless Nature. We have polluted the air, land and water. Our greed and over-consumption has condemned Jesus and Creation to death.

JESUS ACCEPTS THE CROSS

Jesus is absolutely innocent, yet He readily accepted this undeserved suffering. Mother Earth too is crying out in pain and sorrow. Jesus did not turn away from the Cross. We realise that promoting ecology can be demanding at times. We can find it burdensome and inconvenient. But we must carry the Cross of Creation. We must suffer with Creation. In this way, we will work towards redeeming a suffering ecology.

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12 ‘Lord, Remember Me’ - Eddy D'Sa

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 9:04 AM ]

“Kyrie, Na Me Thymasai” (Greek)

Three elements conspire in the making of every great message: a pulpit (from the Latin "pulpitum" meaning platform or staging), an audience and a truth. These three were present in the two most notable messages in the life of Jesus - the first and the last which He delivered to mankind. The pulpit of His first message was the mountainside; His audience - unlettered Galileans; His truth - the Beatitudes. The pulpit of His last message was the Cross; the audience - saints and sinners; the sermon was the Seven Last Words. Every word He says is set down for the purpose of an eternal publication and an undying consolation. There was never a preacher like the dying Christ. There was never a congregation like that which gathered about the pulpit of the Cross. There was never a sermon like the Seven Last Words.

There is a legend to the effect that when Joseph and Mary were fleeing into Egypt with their baby to escape the wrath of Herod, they stopped at a desert inn. Mary asked the lady of the inn for water in which to bathe the Babe. The lady then asked if she might not bathe her own child, who was suffering with leprosy, in the same waters in which the Divine Child had been immersed. Immediately upon touching those waters baptised with the Divine Presence, the child became whole. Her child advanced in age, and grew to be a thief. He is Dismas, now hanging on the Cross at the right hand of Christ! Now a spark from the central Cross falls upon his soul, creating in it a glorious illumination of faith. He sees a Cross, but adores a Throne; he sees a condemned man, but invokes a King: "Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom."

So the Second Word from the Cross: "Today, you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). If the First Word: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34) embraced all mankind within the scope of the dreadful act of crucifying Jesus and the potential of forgiveness through His prayer, then the Second Word narrows its focus to one single needy sinner. God not only sees the whole world, but He sees it made up of individuals. On that fateful day in the history of the world, it happened that there were two thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus. This fact isn't just recorded to give a bit of colour to the dark scene. It's not just to round up the story, but as a piece of evidence that what was happening was part of God's plan of salvation. It was conceived before the world existed and revealed through God's messengers, centuries before. The particular prophecy that was being fulfilled is recorded in Isaiah 53, where, among many other predictions, the prophet declared that the coming Suffering Servant of the Lord was He who "was numbered with the transgressors" (53:12).

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14 Procession of Palms - Leon Bent

posted Apr 10, 2019, 9:02 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 9:02 AM ]

The Procession on Palm Sunday symbolically spans the sacred eternity of time.

Holy Week opens on Palm Sunday morning with a ceremony that can be most impressive and dramatic, if conditions are such that it can be carried out realistically. It all began in Jerusalem; very long ago, there was a custom of acting out the triumphant entry of our Lord into the city. The congregation assembled in a chapel near Bethany, the place from which our Lord started. They accompanied the Bishop (who represented Christ), singing Psalms of praise, shouting Hosannas and waving branches of palms and olives. This practice spread throughout the Christian world, and was formalised after many years.

It is sad to say that since the Middle Ages, the Palm Sunday Service left out its main point – the procession. The emphasis was more on the blessings of palms, and a very elaborate rite took prominence. By contrast, the procession became a mere token affair. Palm Sunday is an opportunity to publicly manifest our loyalty to Christ our triumphant King, as he goes through Agony, the Way of the Cross and the Cross itself, for our redemption. On this auspicious day, the Procession should be as long as possible.

This procession takes us, in spirit, right back into the past. Yet, it is more than a mere memory; for, in our procession, we are actually accompanying Christ in the present moment. How is this possible? Christ is present in three ways: First, symbolically, in the Cross which heads the procession; second, through His representative - the priest; third, through the community gathered in His name.

This procession also looks to the future. Christ, in His redemptive work, passed from earth to heaven, which is the New Jerusalem. The Church stands for both, the earthly Jerusalem, as well as for the New Jerusalem of heaven. When Christ comes again, He will lead our risen bodies into everlasting bliss. This is a time to relish this extraordinary feature at the Parousia. Our procession on Palm Sunday is a prelude, a rehearsal, of our final Passover on the Last Day.

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15 The Significance of the Insignificant - Christopher Mendonca

posted Apr 10, 2019, 8:58 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 8:59 AM ]

Beginning with Abraham, rather unexpectedly,
it would seem that insignificance and incompetence
are essential elements of the Covenant.
Moses pleads incompetence; David is not the most attractive;
Isaiah and Jeremiah are not 'qualified' to be prophets.
By the time the Saviour is born, unnoticed on that Silent Night
except by an insignificant group of shepherds,
it is obvious that what has preceded His coming
is but a journey into insignificance by human standards.
The sacred writers of the Gospel narratives
resonate with this harmonic, and perhaps deliberately
include details that we think are insignificant,
but which, perhaps, hold the key to our understanding,
beyond the obvious, the deeper meaning of the event.

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