The Journey 120
Monday, April 30
Read: Genesis 27
The “ Wall Street Journal” reported a very interesting news this week. One NFL team doing “HomeWork”. Sounds strange!! Read on…..Every year each team in the NFL signs new players to play for their team and to see to it that by the signing of these players the teams do well in NFL. Millions of dollars are invested by the teams in this signing of the new athletes. This year one NFL team “The Jacksonville Jaguars” decided that the if they are investing on a player they will do some “HomeWork” before investing on a particular player. The “Wall Street Journal” reported that when the Jaguars were in the process of signing quarterback Chad Henne and wide receiver Laurent Robinson during the off-season, the Jaguars management asked the athletes to bring their wives along during the interview process. This is something similar in India when a parent wants to admit their child for the first time in a school. Most of the school has made it mandatory that both the parent and the child should go through an interview process before the child is given admission in the Montessori section. This move was done by the Jaguar management because they feel that there is a positive relationship between good players and stable marriages. Many commentators and activist feel that this move may anger feminist movement and people who are against the family system. But whether they like it or not Jacksonville Jaguar management feels that there is relationship between a player’s family environment, and the way player performs in the playing arena. I believe what Jaguar management has proposed is something biblical. Marriage and family are God ordained institutions and hence the success and the failure that we may have in our life depends on how we manage and build both these institutions. Thus stability and also instability in a persons professional and personal life depends on how stable his/her marital and family life is.
This week we start meditating on new theme “ Transformation in my Family Life”. The portion that we will use for our meditation is from Genesis 27. The family that we will focus our attention is from the family life of Isaac and Rebecca. Here is one family who did not take pains to prepare and ground their marital life and hence their family life is also going through huge issues. When we observe the family dynamics of Isaac and Rebecca, one of the strange things that we find in that family is that, instead of strengthening their commitment toward each other, each of them strengthens their relationship with the children that they love and also manipulate that child against their spouse. What a strange sight. The primary commitment of the spouses is towards each other and only when this relationship is strengthened do the relationship of the parents with the children also get strengthened. When the primary relationship in the family is going through issues, then it would be manifested in both the husband, wife and children “Playing Games” in the context of the family environment. This is a term coined by the well known writer Eric Berne. If we want transformation to happen in our family life, I believe the spouses have a primary commitment to each other and it is in the strength of this commitment, that strengthens the other relationships in the family like the relationship with the kids. This also in the process brings about harmony in family life and also stability in the avenues that the spouses are involved. The spouse need to understand that they will make a qualitative difference in the life of their spouse. Whether this qualitative difference is for the better or for worse is decided by the individual spouse. Both Isaac and Rebecca make qualitative difference on each other, but that difference was distressing for each other. Hence this morning let us take a decision that as husband and wife, we will make a qualitative difference for the better in the life of our spouse.
What is the “Difference” that you make in your spouse?
The Journey 118
Saturday, April 28
Read: Acts 2: 30-47
Mega Church The Digital Church: Every church is going the digital and the electronic way. Today sometimes the number of worshipers that come to a church does not run in hundred but in thousands. These church has a band with the latest musical instruments, the latest application in recording and sound system. Two mega church caught my attention recently because both of them were in the news. The first one is Christ Fellowship Church, McKinney, Texas. This church has a Facebook page so as to make its presence in social media. One the unique aspect of this church is that you can download the worship program by scanning their customized-with-a-cross QR code. The worship services are streamed online from their Internet campus — with live chat running so you can share spiritual insights in real time. This church also has an app for donating online and another one for swapping goods and services to help others in the community About 2,100 people attend worship at their Texas church campus and how many worship online, or connect online cannot be even measured. The other church is the Houston’s Lakewood Church. Joel Osteen who runs Lakewood Church told CNN belief last Tuesday, that what he does through the Lakewood ministries is “to make Christianity relevant to everyday life and appeal to people who wouldn’t normally go to church or tune into a TV ministry” . He continues and says that “I want to make God good and relevant to people who weren’t raised like me.”According to Osteen, “When I grew up, a lot of churches taught you doctrine, and that’s all good, but I felt like my calling is how do you live the Christian life?,” he said on CNN. He also defended his sermons, which is heard by almost 40,000 church members and 10 million viewers each week. I think this is awesome an unimaginable for clergy like me to even fathom it. I am happy that these church make Christian faith relevant and people who worship there feel “good” and “awesome”. But is the Church in a digital age all about making the people feel good? How can the church in the digital age transform the life of people so that they become a witness in the society?
This week we are meditating on the theme : Transformation in my parish” based on Acts 2: 22– 47. Here is a portion that has reference to the life in the early church. In verse 42 you find, that the early believers listened to the teaching of the apostles and gathered together in fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and prayer. What is important in the church is its teaching, its fellowship, the participation in the Lords’ table and its witness. Church is all about “fellowship” and “relationships”. The church is made “The Church” when people have genuine relationship and fellowship. When these relationship and fellowship does not exist the people who gather for worship becomes a crowd. What is needed today in the church is people who are willing to relate and may be also enter into another person’ life in term of genuine Christian relationship. If this does not happen, then worship and faith living can stoop down to a very individual and private level, where even in church I have a private space and I would want to be left alone. I believe church is not a place or a space for that purpose. Today lot of people would want to associate with a mega church may be because of its worship patterns, the music, the type of sermons and so on but what is important is when I attend church am I worshipping with fellow believers with whom I have genuine relationship and also true Christian fellowship? If this does not happen then the church in the digital age may seem to make the church relevant to the people but not the message of the gospel. Transformation in a parish is all about genuine relationship and fellowship among the members of the parish. That is what early church taught us.
The Journey 117,
Friday, April 27
Read: Acts 10:30-45
Philipose Mar Chrysostom Marthoma Valiya Metropolitan– Every church is known by its leaders and the role that they have played not only in the context of their pastoral role, but also in the way they have sharpened the voice of the voiceless and the common people, and also in shaping the direction of a society, a state and a nation. I as a clergy of the Marthoma Church feels happy that I could do my ministry under Valiya Thirumeni under various capacities, and that I have lived at a time of history when Chrysostom thirumeni was leading the church. I am also proud about the fact that my church has some of most illustrious leaders leading our church today. As Chrysostom Thirumeni celebrates his 95th birthday, it is a joyous occasion for the Marthoma Church, a time when the church is thanking God for giving us a leader of the stature of Philipose Mar Chrysostom Valiya Metropolitan. I believe we should not say that thirumeni is 95 years old on the contrary we should say that he is 95 years young, looking at the way he still zig zags across various nations, meeting different people from all walks of life. One of the most touching moment this month, during his visit to Kuwait was when Thirumeni met his close family friend and also a close associate of his brother, the former health minister of Kuwait-Dr. Hela Al Sayer. A Bishop who has friends and associates across nations, culture and religion. Thirumeni started his ministry as missionary in Ankola Ashram and then became the missionary bishop of the church. Sometimes I feel that we may need today a Bishop with that “title and that responsibility”. One cannot believe that his ministry has spanned almost 68 years, wherein he has been a bishop for more than 59 years. This is a record of all sorts. But more than his office it is his contribution to the mission and ministry of the church for which thirumeni is well known for. He has been a pioneer in starting some of the novel methods of ministry and mission. He has crossed the boundaries of religion, caste and creed and if there is one leader who is accepted by people of all religion, caste and creed today in Kerala and in India, I believe it will be one and only Chrysostom thirumeni. I think thirumeni through his life has brought about paradigm shift in the ministry of the church. To think and work towards a church without boundaries.
This week we are meditating on the theme “ Transformation in my parish”. The portion that we will base our meditation is from Acts 10: 23-46. The portion speaks about the encounter between Peter and Cornelius. The portion of Acts 10: 32-46 has to related also with the dream of Peter in Acts 10: 9-22. This is one of the most landmark portions in the Bible where God convicts Peter with regards to his attitude to believers who were basically gentiles. In v: 24 Cornelius meets Peter and that is when Peter says that as Jew he is not supposed to associate with a gentile but then God has shown that what He has made clean, we are not supposed to call it unclean,. V: 27. Later Peter also says that he realized that God accepts men who fear him and do what is right. V: 34, 35. This was the incident that made the early church to take the decision to allow the gentiles not to go through the rite of circumcision but only through the action of Christian baptism as a mark of their conversion to the gospel message, unlike the way the converted Jews used to do. Here is God speaking of breaking man made boundaries so that the message of the good news transcends culture, and other barriers so that church the body of Christ is made relevant and existential to the people of the world. Terrible is the situation today when every church creates more and more hurdles for another person to join the church on issues ranging from doctrines to administration. It is in this context that the life and ministry of Chrysostom thirumeni is an eye opener for all of us. Let us work so that we also do our ministry and mission in such a way that the body of Christ-the church starts existing without any boundaries or at least with a minimum structure of boundaries
The Journey 116
Thursday, April 26
Read: Acts 2: 38-47
Community Bible Experiences: A bible reading experience called as “ Community Bible Experience” is revolutionizing people in this part of the continent. Community Bible experience is all about three things : It all about the Complete Bible, Understanding the context of the Bible, and Experiencing the truths of the Bible in the community. Church’s that have a small and large membership are using this method, this unique way to help people to connect back with the truths of the Word of God. Recently the news agencies reported that Spring Lake Wesleyan Church in Spring Lake, Michigan, used this community bible experience in their church. Approximately 900 members of the church studied and read together the entire New Testament in two months. Both the leaders of the church Rev. Dan Ward, Rev. Paul Yoshonis, lead pastor at Spring Lake, are very happy they had envisioned this programme so that people could study Scripture in a small group setting. According to Rev. Ward “it was amazing to see people diving in and it was incredible to see God’s Word come alive in the lives of everyone engaged in the group.” Rev. Ward also believes those involved in the Community Bible Experience are allowing the Bible to have an impact on their lives like never before. I think this is the type of experience that I feel we need to have in our Marthoma Church too. People coming together in groups and digging deep into the Word of God and having an impact of the study on their life and life experience. This is what transformation in parish is all about. This week we were meditating on the theme “ Transformation in my Parish” based on the portion from Acts 2: 38-47. The whole portion of Acts 2 describes the beginning of the early church and how the early church grew in the faith living and also as a witness to the society. Though I had said in one of my earlier devotions, that it may not be very easy to replicate everything in the same manner that the early church did, today in the church, there are certain things that could be replicated. One thing that could be replicated is the fellowship among the believers and coming together to learn the Word of God through the teaching of the apostles. This was a time when the Word of God was communicated orally, and therefore every new believer had to be very committed so that the time that they spent would be fruitful and helps them to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. One of the things that we all need to seriously think as a church is whether we the members of the church are serious about the studying of the word of God both personally and as a group. I believe there are lot of individuals and family who are still committed to the reading and the studying the Word of God both individually and in the context of family. But can we do this study as a prayer group, or a group of five or ten families?. When the study of the Word of God declines, that is where I believe the spiritual decline of the mission and witness of the church and also its leaders and members decline and then church instead of witnessing to the community starts stinking. Hence let us take a corporate decision to connect with the Word of God not only individually but also in a corporate manner. Let us go deeper in the Word of God and also grow deeper in the faith and knowledge of our Lord. That is when transformation happens in our parish.
Whether a parish is witnessing or stinking depends on its connection with the Word.
The Journey 115
Wednesday, April 25
Read: Acts 2: 38-47
Mitt Romney Wins: Finally the primary elections were held yesterday and the results are declared. Mitt Romney has won from Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island primaries, on his way to an expected five-state primary sweep. Thus he leaves behind all his challengers and most probably without any doubt he may be the Republican candidate to face President Obama in the forthcoming presidential election to be held in November. Romney has started working on his theme and his dream “ A Better America” just like President Obama’s dream of “ We need a Change”. History will tell whether dream of change or the dream of better America is going to bear its desired results. As Romney promises a better America there are lot of challenges ahead. He has to deal with a problems in economy, illegal migration issues, issues in the job front and then problems compounded by his various stand on public and religious issues like gay rights, abortion and so on. The list goes on but Romney is focusing on his journey to the presidential elections with his promise of Better America. It is natural that every person who wants power, position and authority will promise something or the other to the people that he “ wants to serve”. But history has time and again proved that most of the leaders when they assume power totally forget about the promises that they had give to the people and sometimes not only do they totally abandon those promises but they also walk and do just the opposite before they assumed power. But what about God and His promises that He has given us?
This week we are meditating on the theme “ Transformation in my parish”. The Bible portion that we shall use for our meditation is from Acts 2: 38– 47. Here we find the boldness of Peter in preaching the good news of the kingdom of God and also the content of his preaching of the good news. In verse 38, Peter says “ Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He continues to say about a wonderful promise of God in verse 39 when he says “ The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call”. Here is Peter declaring that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given by God to all irrespective of ones age. In the Marthoma Church as our Lord receives infants to His Body– The Church, through the sacrament of baptism, it is this promise of Holy Spirit, that the church dwells on and communicates through the symbolic action of anointing with the Holy Oil. It is not only this gift but every promise in the Bible is meant for all His children. This is the promise that the parish and the church communicates to its members. Let us therefore as Christians hold on to the promise of God in our day to day living, and also seeing that we do not discriminate anyone on the basis of their age or gender or their intellectual ability to receive God’s blessing. Romney has made a promise which only history will tell whether he will be true to his promise. But history and the Word of God has always shown that God and His promises are true and faithful.
Let us depend on God and his promises and that is when my parish and my church becomes transformed.
The Journey 114
Tuesday, April 24
Read: Acts 8: 8-25
A Church has launched a fight against gambling and lottery. Kate Shellnutt in Chron. Com reports that a community of Baptists Christians has began waging a fight against the Texas Lottery Commission, arguing that the lotto has proved unsuccessful in raising funds for state education and wrongly exploits the poor. The Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas has lobbied against the expansion of the lottery and specific parts of the system, but this is the first time they’ve proposed the abolition of the lottery entirely, according to Suzii Paynter, the group’s director. “Having a deceptive product that is supported by the state is morally wrong,” she said. “From a Christian perspective, that is wrong. We have a moral aversion to exploiting poor populations.”There is already a controversy with the current winner in the much touted mega million of 2012, wherein suddenly one person in the group that owned the ticket has claimed that the ticket was her own. Yahoo news and other news channel reports that looking back into history, winning the lotto was the worst thing that could happen to an individual. Lives are ruined, family is broken, most of the winners have ended behind bars or committed suicide. Winners have left a scary trail of doom and destruction not only of human life, but also lasting impact on the family and society. What is noteworthy here is that a church in this country has come openly to oppose a system that corrupts and destroys not only individuals and family but the society and country as a whole. This week we are meditating on the theme “Transformation in my parish”. The portion that we will meditate today is from Acts 8: 9-25. This is the portion where we find the “conversion” of Simon the sorcerer. When Philip preached the good news of the kingdom of God, Simon also believed and he was baptized. But as we read the word of God further we find that his conversion experience was not genuine. Later when Peter and John comes to the believers, they lay their hands on them to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is at this time Simon also wanted this power of the laying of hands, through the offering of money to the disciples. Here is a man who wants to use his faith to make money. He is rebuked by Peter and John and Simon offers and apology and not a repentance for his sin. History later teaches that Simon never became a Christian and he later also began preaching certain heretical teaching and also created a statue for himself. A man who claimed to have conversion experience but life totally being built on monetary benefits, or trying to build a life on money, power and authority that comes the easy way. I think this is the life style that the people in particular and society in general is looking up to. When such a goal and focus is what people is looking up to, the government is also there to make fast buck by fooling people. It is here that we as members of the body of Christ needs to stand together so that we empower and consentize people to build lives not on easy money but by submitting to the power and plan of God and allowing our Lord to guide and direct our life through ones relationship with Him. If we are pursuing a dream without God that dream can turn into a nightmare very soon. This is what the church is called to preach in the society. Helping people to pursue their dream with God and not with the world.
The Journey 113
Monday, April 23
Read: Acts 2: 38-47
Chuck Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship International died on Saturday at Virginia at the age of 80. According to James Dobson“ The world has lost one of the most brilliant Christian leaders and articulators of the faith. He was a scholar, a constitutional lawyer, and a compassionate humanitarian who befriended lost and lonely prisoners for nearly 40 years. He wrote and sold millions of copies of his much-loved books, while giving most of the royalties to support Prison Fellowship. Instead of basking in wealth, he and his precious wife Patty chose to live humbly and frugally. He defended principles of righteousness in the culture without compromise or equivocation”. But Colson had a bitter past because of his involvement in the in the famous Watergate scandal which resulted him serving a seven month prison term. He was described as hatchet man for President Nixon. But it is this prison term that brought about dramatic changes in his life including living transformed life. Writing in Washington Post, Michael Gerson says that “Chuck was possessed, not by some cause, but by someone”. I believe that someone was Jesus Christ. Gerson continues “He stood in a long line of celebrated converts, beginning with the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road, and including figures such as John Newton, G.K. Chesterton and Malcolm Muggeridge. They were often received with skepticism, even contempt. Conversion is a form of confession — a public admission of sin, failure and weakness. It brings out the scoffers”. I think whatever be his past, Chuck Colson tried to live everyday as a transformed, converted Christian. I think this is one fact that transforms family, society and the church.
This week we are going to meditate on a new theme “ Transformation in my parish”. The portion that we shall use for our meditation is from Acts 2: 38: 47. This is the portion that describes the beginning of the early church. Peter who was a coward before, having denied Jesus Christ, is now filled with the Holy Spirit and he preaches boldly to the Jews who were assembled before him. He boldly proclaims “ Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins”[ v: 38]. With this preaching we find around three thousand people became believers and it is in this context that we find the inception of the church– the body and community of believers. But then after this conversion is what we see in the following verse, the life style of the believers and the early converts in the church. In verse 42– 44 we find that the believers gathered together for fellowship and for the breaking of bread and prayer, and had every thing common, selling their possessions and goods and they gave everyone according to their need. I understand fully that we may not be able to replicate exactly as the early converts did, but what I would want to emphasize is that, all these converts had an entirely new beginning and a new life style that witnessed the saving love and grace of Jesus Christ and consciously dedicated their life and their possession for the benefit of others. Today many of us claim that we are believers and that we are the true body of Christ, but our life style is often the same as compared to the people who have not encountered Jesus Christ. It is here that if the parish has to be transformed, each of us who are members of the parish needs to express and witness a life style that may sometime prompt others to scoff at our belief and our conversion. But our Lord teaches us that we need to bear all that as a part of our witness.
Ready to be scoffed, mocked for your belief and commitment? That is what Christian commitment is all about and that is what the body of Christ is all about.
The Journey 111
Saturday, April 21
Read: John 9:1-12
Life without Limbs: Who has not heard, read and seen videos of Nick Vujicic, limbless Australian motivational speaker. A few months back he married Kanae Miyahara in California. In one of the sermon that he gave few years ago, when asked whether he wants to marry, Nick said that he hopes to find a wife whom God has prepared for him and with the marriage to Miyahara, one can proudly say “Jehovah Jireh”. Born with Tetra-Amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs, Vujicic has learnt to handle this brokenness by his trust and perseverance on God’s goodness and grace. He lives like a normal human being having learned how to write, use the computer, play tennis, drive, swim and also had the courage to start his own nonprofit foundation. Nick has addressed over three million people in 25 countries, including Australia, United States, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, South Africa, Columbia, India, and others. At every sermon that he has given he has been very affirmative about the role God has played in in blending, shaping and renewing his life, which was once full of sadness and depression. Nick says that “I found the purpose of my existence and also the purpose of my circumstance, There’s a purpose for why you’re in the fire.” Thus his life and speeches have touched countless lives, allowing the audience to know that God has created everyone with a beautiful purpose. Despite the many limitations in life, he says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” His marriage is another testimony of God’s providence and how a person life can be blessed if one allows God to blends and mend their “broken” life. This week we are meditating on the theme “ Transformation in the life of the sick and the suffering” based on the John 9:1-12. Here in the portion we have been meditating on the concept of suffering by the blind man. There have been discussion on why the man was born blind or in other words why he had to suffer this painful condition. But Jesus Christ teaches the disciples that every circumstance are circumstances that reveal God’s glory. Following this discussion Jesus spits on the ground and made some mud with the saliva and applies it on the man’s eyes. He is then instructed by Jesus to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam and when he went and washed he regained his sight. Thus healing takes place in the life of the blind man. Healing is to be understood as the strength that God give to make us whole or to grace to overcome the suffering that we go through. In this case of the blind man his physical ailment is treated whereby he gets back his sight, but there are experiences in life when our physical condition or painful condition remains the same. Just like that of Nick. There we need to think how we can transform our life that is broken and frail and make it a blessing with the strength and the grace that God gives to us. Thus transformation in the life of the sick and suffering is all about allowing God to blend and mend our brokenness so that we also along with Nick and Miyahara can say that God is good all the time.
Have your allowed God to blend your brokenness in your life?
The Journey 110
Read: John 9:1-12
April 19 was Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), the day that the world sets aside, to honor more than six million Jews, who went through torture, suffering and death at the hands of Adolf Hitler, during World War II. This year in US, this week [April 15-22[, has been set apart as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. We need to remember the countless people who suffered only because they belonged to a particular race. Listen to story of the twins, Eva and Miriam. Both Eva and her sister Miriam were part of the medical experiments conducted on them by the infamous Nazi Dr. Joseph Mengele. One twin would be used as a scientific “control” while the other was experimented on. Though she nearly died from infection as a result of one of the experiments, Eva said she was determined that both she and Miriam would survive and see freedom once again. Over nine months, both the sisters clung to life with very little food, filthy living conditions and daily experiments. She suffered but the willingness to live was something that kept her going and finally she lived to see the fall of the Nazis. She later got married and had two children and opened the CANDLES Holocaust museum to honor the memories of victims. But over the years, Eva said she still carried the burden of anger over the terrible things she’d seen and experienced. One day she was asked to speak at a university and was asked to bring a Nazi doctor with her. She found out one Dr. Hans Munch, who had appeared in a documentary with Eva and Miriam a few years earlier. At that time, preparations were also being made for a 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camps. She asked Dr. Munch whether he would witness to the existence of the gas chambers and the horrors in the gas chambers, during the anniversary. Dr. Much agreed and later Eva wanted to thank him so that the world knew what they and the Jews went through. How do I thank him, Eva thought and finally she decided the best gift is to write to him a letter of forgiveness. Eva said all through these years she suffered, but now she wanted liberation. She came to realize that God has given her the power to forgive. . “I was finally free,” Eva said. I believe there are lot of people who suffer who are still not free. But why?. This is because they ask the question as to why did they suffer?
This week we are meditating on the theme “ Transformation in the life of sick and suffering” based on John 9. There is this perennial question that the disciples ask as to why sometimes people suffer and this is the question that even today people have asked this a countless times. We may not have a very specific answer as to the question “why”, but our Lord says we can convert our experiences of suffering, into experiences that reveals the glory of God. Most of the people who go through sickness and suffering ask the question “ Why” but I think we need to empower them to ask the question “How”. How can I use this experience as a Christian to bring glory to the Lord. Eva used her bitterness and her suffering to bring glory to God through the power of forgiveness that she exercised. To bring transformation in the life of sick and suffering let us speak for the suffering, and at the same time let us also empower them and us, to use every experiences of pain or suffering, as a channel bring glory to God and witness to His love, through the power and grace that God gives to us through the crucified Lord.
Not “Why” but “ How”
The Journey 109
Thursday, April 19
Read: John 9: 1-12
As the 100 the anniversary of the commemoration of the victims of the Titanic disaster is observed this week, it is interesting to note that three Catholic priests, including one hailed by Pope Saint Pius X as a martyr for the faith, are also being remembered this week. They were among the victims of the Titanic disaster, but all three of them placed themselves on the highest pedestal of Christian witness and service. The names of the three priests are the following– Father Juozas Montvila of Lithuania, Father Josef Peruschitz, of Bavaria, and English Rector Father Thomas Byles. All these three priest are said to have declined lifeboats in order to offer prayer and spiritual support to travelers who perished in the shipwreck. Fr. Byles and Fr. Peruschitz had celebrated communion on the morning of Sunday, April 14, only hours before the supposedly “unsinkable” ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Just before the disaster, both the priests had preached sermons on humanity’s need for the spiritual “lifeboat” offered by Jesus Christ amid the dangers of the world. Fr. Peruschitz was also described by eyewitnesses as declining a place on the lifeboats. His body, like those of the other two priests, was not recovered. A memorial at his onetime monastery in Bavaria reads: “May Joseph Peruschitz rest in peace, who on the ship Titanic piously sacrificed himself”. Here are three Jesuit priest ready to pay a price so that even though they go through pain and suffering in the form of seeing g their impeding death, countless people received life and may started viewing life in a different perspective.
This week we are meditating on the theme “Transformation in the life of sick and suffering” based on John 9:1-12.. How can each of us as believers bring hope and healing in the life of sick and suffering, which will help them to experience transformation and also help them to view life in a different perspective?. One of the aspects that Jesus teaches the disciples while encountering the blind man and his suffering is that he has come to be “light to others”. Here is Jesus Christ who explains his ministry in terms of alleviation of the suffering of others. Thus in this context, the ministry and the way that He chooses is something that is a model for us also. When Jesus sees others who suffers he does not by pass them, on the contrary, he consciously decides to undergo suffering and pain for them and it is through this process of suffering which we term as “vicarious suffering” that he brings healing to others. To be a healing to others or to bring light to others is not an easy way. For many of us involving in the life of sick and suffering, it does not cost us anything and hence we are not able to show them the true light. We become light to others only when we are also able to be a part of their suffering. This implies that if we intend to bring healing in others, it also forces us to take upon ourselves the pain and suffering of others. In this process sometime we may end up losers, but the other person will experience healing and transformation. In a world where every person is concerned only about their needs and views, here is Jesus Christ teaching us to move beyond our needs, beyond the path of self satisfaction, to a level where we consciously take cross and the path of suffering so that others may experience abundant life in Jesus Christ.
Ready to die so that others may live?