17 Book Review

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:18 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:19 PM ]

From Empathy to Justice

John D'Mello (pp: 192. Price: Rs 150/-)
Published by: Claretian Publications
P.B.5577, 14th Main, 18th Cross, Malleswaram, Bangalore
Available at Pauline/Paulist Bookstores 143, Waterfield Road, Bandra.

This, the second offering from Fr John, takes the reader through the Gospels of Year B, and follows on from where GOSPEL CONFRONTS LIFE (Year A) left off.

When you open a book, and in the very first paragraph, you find a reference – a connection – to a familiar anecdote or experience or memory, the rapport is instant. You have found a friend! The Gospels and the related homilies are this familiar experience, this happy memory from our encounters at the Eucharist. And here, in Fr John's book, we re-encounter the Gospels for Year B, illuminated by conversations with a difference! You will want to return to these conversations again and again—such is the bond that the writer develops with the reader, through personal anecdotes, stories and uplifting insights. The language and style are easy on the eye and mind, but Fr John – while presenting to us Jesus, our teacher and exemplar – still manages to drive home, unequivocally, the message that true empathy means that the lessons contained in the Gospels must necessarily awaken our social conscience, and guide us to action, service and servant leadership. And every chapter is loaded!

The Gospel themes are clearly articulated and explained. To give you a taste: "We generally feel that in matters of healing, we are much more advanced than 2000 years back. That may be true, but to conclude that in all matters, we are similarly advanced is doubtful... Today, if I ask you, "what is your faith?" you will tell me your religion. You will say, "I am a Catholic" or "I am a Jew" or "I am a Buddhist." … In those days, however, people had a much broader understanding of faith. Faith for them was an attitude to life, which reflected an understanding of the world and people… we see this in the two healing stories of today. Before Jesus heals them, He asks them about their attitude, about their general understanding of life. Only when He is satisfied… does He complete the healing process." (13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Mk 5:21-43)