Issues Vol. 63‎ > ‎

Vol. 63 No. 16 • APR 20 - 26, 2019

01 Cover

posted Apr 16, 2019, 9:06 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 17, 2019, 10:24 PM ]

03 Index

posted Apr 16, 2019, 9:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 9:05 AM ]

04 Official

posted Apr 16, 2019, 9:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 18, 2019, 10:57 PM ]

05 Engagements

posted Apr 16, 2019, 9:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 9:04 AM ]

07 Resplendent Reality of the Resurrection - Fr. Anthony Charanghat

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:59 AM ]

The Easter liturgy this year provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the significance of the resplendent reality of the Resurrection of Christ and make it pivotal to the practise of our faith-life. An interesting aspect of early Christian history is that the resurrection, not the cross, was the central theme of Christian preaching. What does it mean that Jesus has been raised? What does it mean for Jesus himself, and what does the Risen Christ say not just to us as individuals but to human history and to the world around us?

Many contemporary Christians assume the cross has always been the focal point of Christian faith. Certainly, the cross is vital to our faith, for it was the means through which Jesus atoned for our sins. But listen to St Paul's words: "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith . . . if Christ has not been raised then you are still in your sins. But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:14, 20)

Paul is clearly saying that the historical new reality of the Risen Presence of Jesus Christ is the crowning truth of our faith. This truth is believed and lived as central to our faith-life as Christians. In his Resurrection, Jesus did not just return to his previous earthly state, before his death. The resurrected life of Jesus is not the mortal life as we know it. If that was the case, then he will die again. In his resurrection, Christ entered into God's very Life and whose presence permeates the whole of creation.

Possessing God’s Life, Jesus is no longer confined to and determined by time and space. He can enter closed doors. He can penetrate fearful and shut hearts. He can walk with us, even if we do not recognize him. The Risen Jesus in no way belongs to the realm of death. Jesus has conquered the finality of death. Jesus’ resurrection is not only a real event in concrete history but an event that changes history. This is the ‘Truth’ of the Resurrection, the foundation of Truth itself, that acts as a rampart against the culture of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative truths’ taking root in society today.

When we as Christians celebrate Easter, we celebrate the fact that Christ is risen from the dead and that he lives in our hearts and illumines our minds through the light, power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord and the Giver of Life. In celebrating Easter, we are celebrating life itself, and life to the full. From the darkness of his death, the light of eternal life shone out in all its brightness when Jesus, the Light of the world, was raised to new life.

We will know that resplendent reality of His Resurrection, when we allow Christ who lives in us, to make our own lives sources of light, love and life for others; when our words heal and encourage truth to prevail; when our hearts come alive with love to restore broken relations; when we stand firm in defence of the respect, dignity and value of life itself in all its aspects.

Easter becomes a reality in our own lives when people are healed, consoled and strengthened by the life-giving love we show to each other, and especially to those in need. Easter is real when we become living signs and symbols of the presence of the risen Christ in our world, and of the values which he taught during his life on earth. Christian behaviour springs from communion with the risen Jesus, just as Christian celebration is a life led in conformity with the person of Jesus Christ.

08 Vote for Leaders who listen to people - Cardinal Oswald Gracias

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:57 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:58 AM ]

On the occasion of General Elections 2019, the Pastoral Letter issued by the CBCI is reproduced.

Our country is in election mode. The dates for the General Elections have been announced. From April 11 - May 15, 2019, the country will be going through the gigantic process of elections to choose our Members of Parliament. Hundreds of millions will go to vote in the largest democracy in the world; we are more than Europe and Australia put together! We are truly proud of our country — the generally peaceful election process getting better each time, as each Government tries to make improvements: a smooth transition of office from one Government to the other. India can truly be a model for other countries to imitate and adapt to their circumstances.

As Pastors of our people, we Bishops consider it is our duty to address you through this Pastoral Letter, so that joining hands with all people of good will, our community can effectively contribute to shaping the future of our nation.

At the outset, we wish to make it clear that the Catholic Church does not identify herself with (or side) any political party. This is the stated policy of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, at this important moment, we feel called to give some general guidance to our people for the good of our country. Our country has made great progress because of science and technology. Infrastructure and public facilities have improved. At the same time, there are several areas of concern. The big gap between the rich and the poor seems to be widening. Many unorganised, informal, casual labourers are barely able to survive with what they earn. Farmers and those in the agricultural sector are under serious stress. Ethics is losing primacy as the guiding principle of society. India is a spiritual nation, and yet God is slowly being pushed to the periphery. It is in this context, and at this moment in history, that we are going into elections.

First of all, we remind ourselves of our duty to exercise our vote. Every citizen above 18 years has the right to vote, but this is also a sacred obligation we owe to our country. All our Parish Priests are urged to impress on our people this obligation. Every single vote does count. Hence, we owe it to ourselves, to our children and to our country to fulfil this sacred duty judiciously, and thus get involved in bettering the direction of our nation.

We are called not just to vote, but to vote judiciously, because the direction our country takes, its progress and much of our everyday lives depends largely on the leadership we elect to Parliament. The life of every citizen is affected by the Government, both at the Centre and in the State.

We see that Indian society is undergoing great transformation. Every government has contributed to the great progress that has been made over the years. India is gradually taking its rightful place in the comity of nations. There is indeed great hope for the future, and now is the time for us to get more involved in directing the destiny of our nation.

I urge every community to pray, and in prayer, to discern what is best for our country. The Catholic Church hopes that the General Elections will give us leaders who understand the anxieties of our people, their needs and respond effectively.


09 RESURRECTION: Bulwark of Truth, Justice & Hope - Fr Errol Fernandes SJ

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:56 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:56 AM ]

The Easter mystery reminds us that goodness will perpetually prevail over evil.

Doubt and disillusionment, discouragement and despair, dread and fear are emotions that are common to all of us at some point or other in our lives. When we are confronted with the death of a loved one or loss of a job, or a life-threatening illness, we are thrown into a tailspin, and our hearts are filled with anxiety, dread and fear. We think that things will never be right again. Especially in the middle of the night, things seem at their very worst. We forget that there ever was a thing called hope, and all that we have learned about God's saving grace and unconditional love is nowhere to be found. If ever we knew how to call upon God, it is now only a distant memory from a better and happier time; and even when we need God the most, we turn our backs on God and walk away.

Every step becomes a challenge, life becomes drudgery, and there seems to be no point in carrying on. This is what happened to all believers on Good Friday, when Jesus was nailed to the Cross. The Lord who could calm the sea and walk on water was crucified like a common criminal. The Lord who fed 5,000 with a mere five loaves and two fish, who made the dumb speak and the deaf hear, who healed paralytics, and even resuscitated the dead, was now in a tomb. Where was hope? Where was the promise of the resurrection? Where was the expectation of new life? Did it make sense to believe? Did it make sense to trust? Did it make sense to hope?

The story is told of a child who began to read the Gospels. Like billions before her, she quickly became charmed by Jesus. Suddenly, she ran out of her room, crying hysterically. She ran into the arms of her alarmed mother and cried: "They killed him. They killed Jesus. He did no wrong. Why did they kill him? Why?" Her mother comforted her, and then whispered to her, "Now go back and finish the story." The girl obeyed her mother, and read about the Resurrection.


11 The VICTORY of Love - Sr. Sharmila Fernandes SJT

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:55 AM ]

Easter is the celebration of love! It is the victory of love. It is the most important season for us Christians. During Easter, Jesus invites us to deepen our capacity to receive His grace - the spiritual energy for our New Birth and New Life!

Easter is not only about the Resurrection, but it is also about the appearances. Jesus appears to a number of persons; they find it difficult to recognise Him. Jesus had risen, but the people were still caught up with Good Friday, and Jesus turns their sorrow into joy as He encounters them with His new life — a life centred on the love of the Father and the love of humankind.

Jesus' Resurrection and the appearances gave way to a revolution of tenderness. As Pope Francis puts it in the TED talk he gave in 2017, "Tenderness is not weakness; rather, it is fortitude." This stands true as Jesus paved for us the path of love and tenderness. The revolution and the victory is possible only through the path of love. From the Cross, He forgives; from the grave, He saves; and by His appearances, He reveals His victory over death and over every sin. It is not through violence or retaliation; rather, it is through tenderness and love.

The love expressed for humanity is revealed through the Life, Passion, Death, Resurrection and post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus.

During His life, He encountered sinners: The Samaritan Woman was not confronted keeping in mind her sin, but with tenderness. In spite of knowing her background, Jesus chose to talk to her and show her the right path (Jn 4:4-26).

During His Passion, He forgave the dying thief and promised him paradise, indicating an act of tender love towards the sinner (Lk 23:43). His compassion was also displayed as he tenderly glanced over his persecutors and forgave them (Lk 23:34). His love made Him give His mother to the world, indicating the love He has for humanity (Jn 19:27).


12 Computing the Easter Egg - Fr. Konrad Noronha SJ

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:40 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:40 AM ]

In software parlance, an 'Easter Egg' is a hidden message or image buried in a computer application.

Irrespective of denomination or tradition, Easter is celebrated by Christians all over the world. Many Easter-time traditions have roots that can be traced to non-Christian, and even pagan, or non-religious celebrations. The non-religious traditions and celebrations add as much symbolic meaning to Easter, as Christian scripture and theology does. One such non-Christian tradition is that of the Easter egg. The egg, a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in pre-Christian celebrations of spring, gradually began to be defined by the early Christians as a symbol of the Resurrection of Jesus. It became a symbol of the tomb from which Christ arose. The newest definition of 'Easter egg' comes from computer programming and software. This definition has absolutely no religious reference or symbolism. Yet, this field's understanding of the Easter egg has some application to the story of Jesus' Resurrection.

An 'Easter egg' in computer programming and software is a hidden message or image, or a screen buried in an application. In most cases, 'Easter eggs' in computer language are used to display the credits for the development team of an application. It is also used to display a humorous message. To see or reach an Easter egg in a computer application, the person who operates the computer needs to input special procedures or sequences of keystrokes to display it.

The application cannot be seen, but it is working none the less; it is hidden, yet functions daily. This is the daily Easter experience for persons of faith. Deep experiences of faith that cannot be seen, but which are expressed externally, daily. This manifestation is because of the effect that Jesus has on the lives of those persons. It is the application of the death-resurrection message that results in its practice in real life. In any digital device, if the application stops functioning, it means there is a problem with the device, and that it needs to be repaired. The same is true for those of faith, if the need for Jesus is lost; it means that the person needs repair, or renewal in Christ.


13 EXSULTET: Triumphant Song of Praise - Leon Bent

posted Apr 16, 2019, 8:38 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 16, 2019, 8:38 AM ]

The Exsultet is a triumphant hymn of praise, a Paschal or Easter Proclamation, a lengthy chant, a panegyric, a prelude to the Easter solemnities. It is a majestic song of the Resurrection of Christ, a dramatic invitation to heaven and earth to join with the Church in joy and jubilation. It is the rite of sanctification of light and night, of place and time, of priest and faithful for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord. In itself, it is a symbolic representation of the Resurrection of Christ, a sacramental, a preparing for, and anticipating of, the re-enactment of the Resurrection in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

This Easter sacramental is a jewel of the liturgy, brilliant in content and composition, in its symbolism and efficacy. The hymn is filled with profound theology, radiant with youthful enthusiasm, flowing in the most solemn rhythms of the Psalms, resounding in the most jubilant cadences of Gregorian chant. This sacramental, based on the ritual of the Old Testament and containing as it does, venerable relics of Apostolic Tradition, reflects and transmits to us an echo of the glorified joy of early Christianity.

The Exsultet is the proclamation of the beginning of Easter and the invitation to celebrate the Paschal mysteries; therefore, it is in the form of a Gospel. It is the blessing and oblation of light, a sacrificial rite; therefore, in the form of an anaphora (a repetition of words or phrases).

The actual graces produced by the Exsultet are acts of faith in the Resurrection of Christ, and in its re-enactment in the Easter celebration, proclaimed and described in extraordinarily fervent, glowing colours; acts, moreover, of expectant hope, of reverence and admiration for the Easter mysteries; acts of gratitude for the charity and mercy of God, for so great a Sacrifice, for so great a glory merited for us by the Redeemer (cf. John 17).

The light of the Easter candle "blots out crime, washes away sins, restores innocence," by forgiving venial sins and temporal punishment for sins. It "banishes enmities, produces concord and offers joy to the sorrowful." The prayer for "humbling the haughty" (literally: bring low the power of empires), refers, not merely to the haughtiness of civil authorities, but also and primarily, to the empire of death, the reign of the prince of this world and his hosts.


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