» 08/16/2012, 00.00
Mary's Assumption and India's Day of Independence
The two events fall on 15 August. People must wake up to India's problems and learn to deal with violence, female infanticide, environmental degradation, etc. Fr Errol Fernandes, a Jesuit parish priest and Seminary Professor in Mumbai, gives his thoughts about the Magnificat.
(AsiaNews) - Yesterday, India celebrated
65 years of independence. The Catholic Church celebrated the Assumption to
heaven of the Virgin Mary. Here are the thoughts on the relationship between
the two events of Fr Errol Fernandes, a Jesuit who teaches Holy scriptures at
archdiocesan seminary in Mumbai who is also the parish priest at Saint Peter's
Catholic Church in Bandra.
(yesterday actually), we celebrate two significant and related events. These
are the Assumption of our Blessed Mother and Independence Day. Both are
celebrated on the same date: August 15.
reason why these events are related is because they are both about Freedom.
Independence is celebrated as freedom from foreign rule and domination to self-rule
and governance and the Assumption may be seen as a freedom from this limited
and incomplete life to the bliss of eternal and perpetual life.
verses which make up the Gospel text of today are commonly known as "The
Magnificat" or Mary's hymn of praise. It seems to have been modelled on the
prayer of Samuel's mother, Hannah, in 1 Sam
2:1-10, and contains many Old Testament concepts and phrases. It communicates a
picture of Mary as someone quite steeped in scripture. It reveals God primarily
as a God of the poor. God is the one who will vindicate the poor by removing
the rich and mighty from their positions and raising the lowly.
hymn may be seen to be divided into four parts. The first part consists of
praise to God for what he has done in and for Mary; the second part speaks of
God's power, holiness and mercy; the third part shows God acting as a Sovereign
in reversing social conditions in favour of the poor and downtrodden; and the
fourth and final part recalls God's mercy and promises to Israel.
hymn speaks of the effects of the Lord's coming for all of God's people. It
begins on a note of salvation as Mary acknowledges her dependence on God. It
was the grace of God that sustained and brought her to the position in which
she finds herself. She has not achieved anything on her own, it is all a gift
of God and thus, Mary acknowledges her humble state, referring to herself as
God's servant. She is to be called "blessed' because God, in his mercy and
goodness, had raised her to this level.
has shown this mercy and goodness to the poor by showing the strength of his
arm, by scattering the proud, and deposing the powerful. The poor, on the other
hand, have been raised, and the hungry have been filled. God remembers not only
those of old but also the present generation. He is a God not only of the past,
but also a God of the present, the now.
stress on God as a God primarily of the poor stands out in Mary's hymn of
praise. In a world where the rich seem to be getting richer and the poor,
poorer, one wonders whether the Magnificat is a hymn that can make sense to the
poor, to those of low degree. Yet, it is important to remember that God's ways
are not our ways and so, the poor must, in confidence, sing this song as their
song. The confidence with which Mary sings this song runs through the entire
hymn. She uses past tense to denote God's future actions, thus expressing that
God will indeed accomplish his will, and the poor will be vindicated. What is
important for the poor to realize is that they, like Mary, need to continue to
open themselves to all that God wants to do in them. They need to continue to
acknowledge their dependence on God by doing all that is required of them and
then, leaving the rest in his capable and strong hands.
as we do celebrate these events, we need to ask ourselves serious questions
both as Indians and Christians. Can we be really free when in Assam a woman is
raped and dehumanized in full public view? Can we be really free when officials
stand by and watch and even participate in these dastardly acts? Can we be free
when female foeticide is so high in our country and where in many places the
girl child is seen as a liability and burden rather than a blessing? Can we be
really free when we are so intent on destroying our natural resources for
selfish ends and then have to wonder whether we will have enough rain to see us
through the year? Can we call ourselves Christians when we will not do anything
about these atrocities and continue with our lives as if it does not concern
we really free? Are we truly Christian?
the celebrations of Independence Day and the Assumption of our Blessed Mother
be wake-up calls for us to rouse ourselves from our slumber and do something
tangible to right the wrongs.
Carvalho contributed to the article)
Assumption an occasion to ponder the full meaning of existence says Pope
Benedict XVI highlights how the Virgin Mary teaches us that "God is always the priority”. Her life, like that of every Christian is a journey in the footsteps of Jesus, with a clearly defined goal, a future already mapped out: final victory over sin and death and full communion with God
Pope: like Mary, we are all called to say yes to God
The Blessed Virgin agreed to "give" Jesus flesh so he could "descend" from heaven and she in turn was "taken" to the place from which he descended. In a certain sense, it is the destiny of all humanity; God asks us to place our existence at his disposal so He can be in the world. He gives mankind the Eucharist, with which death is conquered.
No persecution can destroy our faith, says Orissa archbishop
Interview with Mgr John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar. He is on spiritual retreat 10-14 December) with his priests, victims of anti-Chritian pogroms. Fr Errol Fernandes is in charge of the retreat, centred on the Year of Faith. In 2008, the Jesuit priest met Hindu students at a Mumbai college to describe what was happening to Christians in Orissa.
Spiritual retreat for clergymen hurt during Orissa persecution
Organised by Mgr John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, the meeting will be held from 10 to 14 December. It will bring together clergymen hurt during anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal (2008). Fr Errol Fernandes, a Jesuit priest will run the retreat, speaks about it. Besides the pain and suffering, Christ "must remain the inspiration" to face every challenge.
24/08/2016 16:54:00 THAILAND
Feast of the Assumption in Juji village where are an elderly couple in their nineties was baptised
Fr Valerio Sala, PIME missionary in northern Thailand, reached the village today, one of 29 communities under his care. The faithful, who are tribal Lahu, carried a statue of the Virgin in procession. "An elderly couple asked me to receive baptism and confirmation in order to die as Christians. They are a fine example for young people, often reluctant to get involved in the faith."
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
18/05/2017 ASIA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.