YOUTH – POWER SHIFT
Power, Money and Pleasure are three modern day passions. They are pursued by sinners and saints
alike. The path and consequences are dramatically different.
Power often holds a negative charge to it. Despite the bad odour that clings to the very notion
of power because of its misuse – power is an inescapable aspect of human relationships. It is also the secret of successful
living. Jesus wants each us to be powerful as he was! “Jesus knew that
the Father had given him complete power” Jn13.3 and what do you think he did with that power when he was at the table
and knew that Judas was to betray him? “…he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples’
feet and dry them with the towel around his waist” Jn.13.4:5
Alvin Toffler the renowned
futurist has researched that there have been three major “power-shifts” in the last few centuries. The shifts
have been from the power of violence to the Power of Wealth and currently to the Power of Knowledge. In fact there is no doubt
that knowledge is power.
The unbeatable combination
of Knowledge of Jesus and the Bible combined with sound professional knowledge in a chosen area of our liking is the most
powerful and astounding strategy for a prosperous and successful life. And remember, Jesus wants each one of us to be successful
in our studies and the profession we choose.
In today’s fiercely
competitive world there is no room for mediocre performance. In fact, Jesus wants us to be passionate about whatever we do.
Did he not set the example? He abhors mediocracy and celebrates meritocracy. Is that not the mantra of modern day management?
Remember the parable of the three servants. The master gave to each one according to his ability. Two traded, invested and
built on what was given. The third servant did not want to risk losing what he got from his master and buried the gold coin
he received, so that he could return it. Seemingly good intentions!! But, what did his master say “you bad and lazy
servant … have him thrown outside in the darkness there he will cry and grind teeth” Mat 25.30
To be successful, we must
grow and develop. Every process of development in nature is a process mingled with pleasure, pain and a struggle. A caterpillar’s
painful struggle into butterfly-hood must be seen to be believed. But, it must go through that necessary and painful process
to be able to fly and display its magnificent array of colours. If you interfere with nature’s plan and ease the struggle,
you destroy the butterfly’s chances of existence. The struggle is part of building strength in its wings to fly. It
is the same for each one of us. We must struggle a little now, to be able to fly freely and proudly for the rest of our lives.
We live in a knowledge economy.
India is leading the pack of knowledge workers worldwide. India is a land full of dreams and confidence- the confidence comes
from our largest pool of “youth power” in the world. This youth power can either be used or misused. This power
is expected to provide us huge dividends on the young people’s earnings and savings. But if a large number of our youth
do not find gainful employment there will be social and political turmoil.
There is not doubt the future
of our church and our nation rest on youth. If our youth partner with God in the shift to the Power of Knowledge, we will
be the strongest and most vibrant community around.
With the Power of Knowledge
comes the power of money. Money is good depending on the use we put it to. While
Donald Trump flaunts his money at a multimillion dollar wedding party, Mr. Narayan
Murthy, the founder and Chief Mentor of Infosys, spends it on social upliftment of the poor. You need money to do good. The
best way to ensure you have money is to invest in your knowledge and talent development.
Finally, when you do good and use your money to serve others, you get almost a heavenly sense of satisfaction. A sense
of pleasure that no indulgence in any form can give. In this season of Lent, may we learn to make decisions that will draw
us closer to the plan God has for us. May we equip ourselves with the ability, to think with our minds, pull with our muscles
and see with our hearts the destiny God has created for each of us. God cannot do what he wants for us without our help. Are
we ready to go?
MARRIED LOVE AND EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION
When the two in marriage abide in love they abide in God, and God abides in them” (1 Jn.
4:18). Divine and human intimacy mirror one another. Nuptial love-play draws us into the delicate dance of the Blessed Trinity.
Jesus’ New Commandment,
given at the Last Supper, was that we should “love one another as he loves us” (Jn. 13:34). We are called to give ourselves in love, unreservedly and unconditionally, in faith, as our brother Jesus
did. This generosity forms a circle of intimacy that is far greater than marriage,
family and home. At its best it mirrors Trinitarian love.
Our marital mission
is measured in humble service. Marriage is a school where authentic holiness
is lived out in death to selfishness and rising, with the Spirit of Jesus, to live for others.
Such sanctity unfolds in the routine of daily-life situations, very rarely in dramatic heroism.
Sacramental partners move, two-by-two, into a bruised, bloody and broken world, and heal it through
their warm touch. It is the joy and privilege of passionate love, to serve each
unique person who enters its hallowed sphere of influence.
The Eucharist is a community
gift. It is the manifestation of an ongoing dialogue between a covenant-making,
covenant-keeping God and humankind. It has the explosive power to build a unified,
vibrant Body of Christ. Through the ‘memorial’ to Christ’s
paschal mystery, we experience the dynamism that drives us outward to be Eucharist, bread broken, in our marriages, our families
our neighbourhoods, our communities, and the world, at large. Sexual love is
apostolic. St. Paul saw the close link between marriage and the Eucharistic community; “Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church, and sacrificed
himself for her to make her holy”. (Eph. 5:15).
The principal fruit
of the Eucharist, “the communion in the Spirit”, is an intimate union of all mankind in Christ. The Eucharist brings about a close bonding of all who participate in the one Bread of heaven. This should inspire matrimonial couples to enrich their conjugal love with the Eucharist and spread its
raging fire to others.
True communion gathers
the Church together by the Lord’s love. Jesus exhorts us to “remain
in my love” (Jn. 15:9), and then says, “go out and bear fruit” (Jn. 15:16).
Christian spirituality is, essentially, to be part of an affective network of people who share
one faith, one baptism, and one Lord (cfr. Acts. 2:42, 44, 47). Eucharistic interconnectedness
places the common good over self-interest.
This results in participatory
living! God’s way of relating, not ours!
Married love, when celebrated at the Eucharistic Table flows
out in communion.
AN INDIAN EUCHARISTIC CHRISTMAS
Pope John Paul II has called the Church to celebrate a year of the Eucharist from October 2004 to October 2005.
At the heart of the Eucharist lies the Paschal Mystery, Christ’s death and resurrection, the INCARNATION (CHRISTMAS),
and the Church, as Christ’s Body. These mysteries will become a reality in our lives, if our communities live what they
believe and celebrate. There must be a link between the liturgy of life and the liturgy of celebration. A God who touches
us. A God we feel. Christmas is the time to feel this cuddly, innocent, warm, playful God in the form of a Babe. Just like
a little child, next door. Only then, will the Eucharist be the worship of the whole community. His Holiness, Pope John Paul
II, often speaks of the intimate connection between the Eucharist and evangelization. The enactment of the Birth of Jesus,
in Indian garb and milieu, in our Sectors and Zones this year, especially in non-Christian settings, is a case in point.
Our parish is trying to communicate the message of Christmas in the language and idiom of India. Images, street-plays,PowerPoint
presentations, dance, music and drama have been used earlier. On Good Friday this year, the Suffering Christ and his “group”
of followers, walked the Way of the Cross, through the length and breadth of the parish, and beyond. We, in Orlem, are attempting
to give Christ an Indian face, an Indian heart. And, more importantly, break these for others. This is Eucharistic living.
In the Gospel of John, the Last Supper is set in an interesting context: “Love one another as I have loved
you” (Jn. 15:12); “That they may all be one …(Jn. 17:21); the washing of the feet…humble service (Jn.
13:2-15); sharing and communion of life (Jn. 6:48-58) and love unto death.(cf. Jn. 15:13).
Our Christmas message is loud and clear: the Christian community cannot
celebrate the Eucharist meaningfully, if it does not share its goods and get involved in, seek solidarity and be one
with God’s family, sharing his Bread of Life (Mk. 3:31-35; Mt. 25 25:36-46). To be Eucharistic is to be united in the
people’s struggle (Mk. 1:14-20; Lk. 5:1-11; 27-31; Jn. 21:1- 14). Our numerous and varied parish organisations reveal
the face of Jesus, who fed thousands of hungry followers (cf Lk. 9:12-17),and comforted the broken hearted.
How can the concerns of the whole parish,its immense joys and sorrows, find an
echo in the liturgy? Do they receive the energizing bread of love and service from a concerned community? How can the whole
community of believers in Orlem proclaim its faith publicly,if it does not celebrate the Eucharist in love, joy, reconciliation
and peace? Christmas is a time to put Jesus back into human hearts. Our own first. And, then, into persons of other religious
The Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, or the reaking of the Bread, is a celebration, a sacrifice, a memorial
and a sacred banquet. It is a sacrament of piety, a bond of Charity and a sign of unity. To partake in the Eucharist is to
form one body with Christ, in a celebration of oneness of ALL peoples and ALL cultures. It heals broken relationships and
a fragmented world.
Into this world Christ was born on Christmas day. All we need do is make this a reality, today! In little ways!Christmas
2004 stirs us to be messengers and artisans of peace and joy. The same Jesus who was born on that ‘Silent Night, Holy
Night’is birthed at every Eucharist. Spread the Good News through the print,electronic and multi media, O ye parishionersof
Our Lady of Lourdes Church! Why! We have already made a praiseworthy beginning