Once I received an email, asking for the parish account details. Someone wanted to make a donation to the parish. I obliged. Sure enough I received a handsome amount of twenty-five thousand dollars. It was given towards the much needed repair of the Church. There was no appeal for money made and the payment was totally the donor’s initiative. Therefore, it was a surprise. But there was more to the story. The name on the email did not ring any bells. Therefore, I wrote back asking for an introduction from the donor.
To the question “How are you?”, you might answer “I am good”. Is that the right response? In my early years in Sydney, one of my parishioners, a retired teacher, used to correct me, saying that the answer to the question, “How are you?” is “I am well, not good”. What he did not realise is that the philosophy of life has changed and it is impacting the way we speak. We don’t hear many saying “I am well”anymore. The standard answer “I am good” may be a small step, but not insignificant. From it to “anything I do is good” is another step. “Don’t tell me what I should do” is the principle on which some people operate. Such an approach to life is considered praiseworthy in our time.
“I tell those idiots who argue for ‘big bang theory’ and ‘evolution theory’, to read the Bible about creation”. These were the words of a proud Catholic. When I told him that the story of God creating everything in seven days is not meant to be a scientific explanation on the origins of the world; it is rather the theology of the relationship between humans and God.
As I was processing to the altar with six other deacons for my priestly ordination, the choir sang with all gusto, a song familiar to the aspirants of priesthood in Syro Malabar Church. I remember how elated I was to hear them singing praises to the exalted position of priesthood. I don’t deny that a tinge of that had motivated me to seek priesthood as my vocation in the first place, though there were plenty of reminders of sacrifices around me along the way.
I was new to Australia, just a couple of years in the country. I was doing a wedding and the photographer took his job very seriously. He started to direct the ceremony, so much so, to shoot a better photo, he told the couple to repeat the exchange of vows. I had to tell him, “When I need an M.C. I shall tell you. Now you need to mind only photography”. He was not much pleased and said, “They are paying me much more than you”. For him money dictated everything else in life.
The first assembly of the fifth Plenary Council of Australia is to commence on Sunday, 3 October. The first Plenary Council gathered in November 1885. The people of God makes up the Body of Christ called the Church. The Christian Community as the Body of Christ meditated on the mysteries of the Easter experience from the beginning. The New Testament is an account of the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the early Christian Communities and how the early Christians saw the world through the prism of Easter.
he Taliban is notorious for cutting hands off as a form of punishment. Cruel and repulsive as it is, similar expressions in the Bible will rightly be frowned upon. Could Jesus have really said to cut off hands and feet, and to tear out eyes, as we read in Mark 9:42-48, to avoid sinning?
“Taliban denies two leaders are dead after going missing from public view” was the headline in New York Post, a few days ago, on 15 September. It was all about the fight for superiority and leadership. It is important to be strong and victorious to be accepted as leader. Nobody likes to be vulnerable. In a world so crazy for power and prestige imagine someone asking you to go easy or be vulnerable. Can you handle that?
illy said she is passionate about her Catholic faith. I just wanted to quiz her and asked what Jesus said about following him. She started to list love, justice fairness, kindness, and so on as identifying marks of discipleship to Jesus. But there was still something missing which is fundamental to Christian discipleship. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to become my follower, let him deny himself”. To be a follower of Jesus requires sacrifices.
Fathers remember the first time their child uttered “daddy” or the equivalent. The proud father, full of joy, made the babe repeat it many times until the child says it clearly. The exercise is pressed on until the infant get a sense of how much it means to the dad. The ability to communicate is very important. The child takes delight in the attention drawn by calling ‘dad’. The sweet call of the child transforms the dad. The responsibility of opening the world of affection and information becomes apparent to the dad.