Issues Vol. 169‎ > ‎

Vol. 169 No. 48 • DEC 01 - 07, 2018

01 Cover

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 29, 2018, 4:48 PM ]

03 Index

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:26 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:26 AM ]

04 Official

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:25 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:25 AM ]

05 Engagements

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:24 AM ]

07 Editorial - Season of Contradictions and Challenge - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:16 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 29, 2018, 4:49 PM ]

As our civil year is drawing to a close, the Christian community is celebrating its liturgical 'New Year' – Advent. This makes it a kind of 'beginning-end' time, a season of contradictions and challenge. A greening that springs from the old Church year; a greening of hope that there is an end, not of the world, but for the world, when human history will come full term, and God will be everything to every one. (1 Cor 15:28)

Although the images that accompany the Advent preparation in the Gospels may startle and even frighten us, such responses are caught up in the mystery of Christ, who comes with confidence to liberate us. In the midst of any suffering, tension, opportunist politics or natural disasters, the Word of God urges us to be people of Hope.

The beginning of the new liturgical year tries to make us once again, more attentive to, hopeful about, and prepared for the Advent of God–the infant child whose name is Son and Saviour, into our midst, and into our hands and heart. He stirs and comes to save, inaugurating His Kingdom of peace and love, truth and justice in our midst.

On the first Sunday of Advent of the Church year, many of us will gaze on the single burning flame lit on the Advent wreath. It seems so small and insignificant against the background of world events, and even our own lives. We are often so physically exhausted at the end of the year, that we may be inclined to be sceptical about what this tiny flickering flame can offer us.

But as we enter this season, the Church encourages us to have hope in the promises of God that can so easily flicker in and out of our consciousness. Just as at the first Genesis Creation God brought a new cosmic ordering, a new liberation from chaos of nothingness, so will Christ, in His Second coming as the glorious Son of Man, liberate the cosmos and all humanity from fear and menace.

Many are not at home with emphasis on the future at the beginning of Advent. We are comfortable about the past coming of 'baby Jesus' – but that is not where the Church wants us to be. Advent plunges us into a liturgical riptide that drags us away from the safe past into the unchartered end of human history to the second, and as yet unrealised, coming of Christ.

Advent, therefore, is preparing for facing the contradictions of the One who has come, and yet is coming, mindful that it is our life's work to conceive Christ in the Spirit, with God's grace, and to bear Jesus to our world. It is a stirring in the womb of our complacency: a time for turning and returning, for straightening crooked paths in our relationship with God.

This season challenges us to let our hopes reach beyond our fruitless preoccupation with the past to the huge and human hope of a new creation. It is the opportune time to remove the stumbling blocks that trip us on our path to good relations with our sisters and brothers along our journey of discipleship.

Advent is welcoming and befriending the vulnerable, the arid desert places in myself and others. Just as a woman watches for the signs of the birth of her child, Jesus urges us to be alert to the birth pangs of the reign of God in all its fullness. God is nurturing and preparing for the birth of a new earth and heaven.

Nor are Christians to be the captives of frantic seasonal consumerism. We are called to be people awake and alert to the promises of God already revealed. Grateful for what has been liberating, and confident in the gifts yet to come!

08 Will you confess this Advent? - Bishop Bosco Penha

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:14 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:14 AM ]

I am sure that most Catholics would answer the above question in the affirmative, as it is becoming more and more a practice for the rank and file to confess twice a year: at Advent and Lent. Whether we commit sins, and therefore need confession only at Advent and Lent, is another question which I don’t intend to tackle in this article. The question in this article is: if you are going to make your confession this Advent, of what quality will that confession be? There seems to be a conspiracy of superficiality between confessors and penitents, both giving the very minimum of time and attention to this grace-filled Sacrament, with the danger that the results achieved in the growth of the penitent could be minimal.

Results are Proportionate to Effort

We know that to draw the maximum results from an event, we need a thorough preparation and a careful follow-up. If, for example, I am preparing for an examination, I would need to study systematically and consistently throughout the year, rather than make a hurried preparation at the last minute. Knowledge hastily acquired will be quickly forgotten. After the examination, one needs a careful follow-up so that what is learnt can be painstakingly translated into practice. This hardly happens when preparing for confession. The preparation lasts, generally, for a few minutes, and the purpose of amendment is forgotten soon after. In fact, many of us would most likely not remember, a few days later, what we confessed and what we decided to do about our lapses, if there was any decision made at all. We have to remember that each Sacrament brings us an OFFER of grace, not an automatic shower of grace. We have to do our part by generously cooperating with God’s action.

The Purpose of Amendment

The real challenge in preparing for confession is to identify our besetting sin, and work out a suitable purpose of amendment. We generally tend to rush over this. Yes, we know our main fault, and we want to get over it, but how? A vague, generalised desire to amend will not work. We need to be concrete and specific in our plans to improve.


10 Listening to the “Written” Word - Christopher Mendonca

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:12 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:12 AM ]

How is it possible to 'listen' to something that is 'written'?

Not so difficult, if one thinks of the conductor,

soloists and members of the orchestra

who must "hear" and "listen" to the original within them

even as they "read" the music written by the composer.

This is the key to authentic "interpretation"

of a piece of Classical Western Music.

From the beginning, the LORD intended

that each of us should listen to the WORD

engraved and etched in silence,

created as we are in his image and likeness.

It is written in our hearts,

and we must forever pay attention to its sound

that echoes God, who is best understood in Silence.

When God first wrote his WORD on the hearts of his Chosen People,

he catered to all types of potential readers,

especially those who are constantly looking out for mistakes.

The LORD spoke to Moses even as the people he had led out of Egypt

were distracted into paying attention to the false gods they had left behind.


11 An Advent of GRATITUDE - Eddy D'Sa

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:10 AM ]

Along with the retrospection, the introspection, the waiting, the watching and preparing, this season before Christmas calls us to make this period of Advent a very special season of gratitude. Gratitude for the year gone by? Definitely. But a different, more intense, Spirit-filled gratitude for the mystery and love beyond human comprehension that we are going to commemorate: God became flesh to give hope to a hopeless world. A gratitude that even the voices of a million angels would not be able to express.

No matter how much some people have, they will always want more. And in some ways, that is true of all of us.

The first point that we need to awaken to is: An attitude of gratitude creates contentment. We suffer from a disease some have called 'Affluenza,' the virus of affluency and prosperity. There are hundreds of examples to which we could point to prove that wealth, prosperity and material things do not satisfy; they only create a desire in us for more. Just take a look at the stars of television and movie fame. How many of them are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs? They have it all, yet there is an emptiness deep down inside of them that they are still trying to fill. So many of them have confessed to be suffering from manic depression. There is a hunger they cannot satisfy, and a thirst they cannot quench. God is saying to us: "Don't wait to be happy. Don't postpone happiness until your situation changes, or you have acquired a certain thing. If you cannot be happy now, you will not be happy then, for happiness is not a matter of what you have, or what situation you are in. It is a matter of who you are, and how you respond to life. It is found within, and unless it is on the inside, all the things in the world on the outside will not make a difference. If you have been saying, "I'll be happy when...", then you will never be happy, because when that condition is met, there will be a dozen more conditions to take its place. If you cannot learn to be happy now, you will never learn to be happy in spite of how much you have or achieve. If you are not content with less, you will never be content with more. There are many who live in a world of 'If only.' If only I had this... If only this were different... If only I could do that... If only this had not happened in my life... The Bible says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Notice that it does not say, "Prosperity with contentment is great gain." Contentment comes from seeking God, not things.


13 Stay awake! - Fr Michael Baptist Fernandes

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:09 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:09 AM ]

The Liturgy of the Advent season every year repeats this great invitation to stay awake! The invitation reminds us that throughout the year, we have to remind ourselves that we are saved children, and we have a great responsibility to be awake, so that the evil one does not rob us of this grace. Many different examples and parables are used by Jesus to drive the point home for us that the time we have is not unlimited; that it will run out when we least expect it to, and that to be found unprepared for that end is tragic. The Lord Jesus urges us with decisiveness to a fundamental attitude of vigilance, because the world outside is hostile, and tempting us to run away from the source of grace. In what context do we show this attitude?

Jesus reminds and invites us that we have a task at hand as His chosen ones to take care of the Creation and every human being. Being aware of the people who are poor is very essential and crucial, as the Holy Father is inviting us to make these unfortunate ones part of our existence. All of us have received life on earth from the same Lord; it is short for the poor and rich, so being concerned about the others, we will be recipients of the eternal Life to come. We are called to stay awake so that we all together can preserve the beauty and wealth of the world, to be shared by all without distinction based on caste or creed, rich or poor. Being aware that we are all made in His image and likeness, He is inviting us to be aware of the miseries and sufferings of the others, to be the sign and instrument for all creatures of God’s mercy and love.


14 Green Advent 1: Clamour of the Oceans - Suren Abreu

posted Nov 28, 2018, 6:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 6:07 AM ]

Pop Quiz:

How many cyclones have hit India this year alone? Do you know their names? How many cyclones (typhoons or hurricanes) have hit the world in the same year? Are cyclones increasing or decreasing in number? What about their intensity? (Answers at the end of this article)

Fact Section

There is no conclusive evidence to indicate that global warming is the cause of increased cyclone intensity. However, it is relatively easy to connect the dots.

Warmer ocean surfaces are the primary factor in initiating cyclone activity. The warm moist air rises, creating low pressure areas below; the surrounding cooler air rushes in; the cooler air gets warm and moist and rises; the risen air forms clouds which grow as more moist air rises; the incoming air swirls because of the earth's rotational direction (which is why northern hemisphere cyclones spin counter-clockwise and southern hemisphere ones clockwise); and voilà, a cyclone is born.

Studies show that weaker cyclone systems are dying out, while stronger cyclone systems are getting more intense. This is explained simply by the general increase in surface ocean and tropospheric temperatures – in weaker systems, the incoming air is not sufficiently different in temperature to allow it to develop fully; in stronger systems, the wind speed adds to the strength of the system. Cyclone scientists predict that the coming years will see fewer, but stronger, more destructive cyclones!


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