FABC Plenary Assembly::Syro Malabar News Updates FABC Plenary Assembly

Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,

Let me first of all give to all the participants of this Assembly the greetings of His Eminence Cardinal Baselios Mar Cleemis who could not come for our meeting. He has requested this to me.

We are greatly impressed by the wonderful organization of this Assembly and I think we should thank the Lord on behalf of Cardinal Oswald Gracious, Cardinal Malcome Ranjith, Fr. Raymond O Toole and all the collaborators during this Eucharistic celebration. It gives us also great satisfaction and appreciation that Card. Malcome Ranjith has succeeded to have great esteem before the religious leaders and before the government especially with the President. Let all this work for the good of the church and the process of peace reconciliation in this country.

Now, dear friends, gathered once again around the altar of Christ by the bank of the Indian Ocean at Negombo in Colombo our experience is similar to that of the Disciples of Christ at the bank of Tiberias and at the Cenacle. All through the three years of public life of Jesus, the disciples especially the 12 were discovering who Christ was for them which they confessed through their words and deeds. The famous confessions are those of Peter and Thomas. “You are Christ, Son of the living God”, “My Lord and my God” and “Let us go and die with Him”.

In this 11th Plenary Assembly of FABC we are exploring similarly, what could be the mission of mercy for us by becoming a Church of the poor in the Asian Catholic family. It seems to me that our path is the same as that of the Apostles and disciples – to discover Christ in our lives and to help our families to discover the presence of Christ ad intra and ad extra. Whenever the disciples discovered Christ in their lives they gained the power to get things done by Christ in their lives both during their physical presence with him and also during the time after his resurrection with the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. With Christ they could get both material and spiritual blessings. Their discipleship itself was the result of their deep encounter with Christ. The cures of the sick, the crippled and the possessed, the miraculous feeding of the 5000 and 4000, and the calming of the storm, the extraordinary catch of the fish, the raising of Lazurus and the daughter of Jairus and so on and after the resurrection the wondrous events of conversionsand cures.

Our mission of mercy for families also could desirably be a discovery of Christ both for ourselves and for our families. It is a common mission of the Church - of bishops, priests, men and women of consecrated life and of the families themselves -  a common task. We are participatory Church and even in the magisterium the whole people of God participate with their gifts and charisms. The two Synods on family manifested it. With this new praxis of family apostolate we will be able to discover Christ in every situation of our families, in their joys, quarrels, crisises and wounds like separation and divorce- as the family, the other day, while giving the witness, the father of the family said that he discovered the one who could help him in his broken situation through the preaching of a priest.

Our families in Asia, living in a multi- religious context are influenced by the family patterns of other religious beliefs. The religions in Asia seek the strength for their lives through the discovery of the presence of God. For us Christians it is Christ who matters in our faith witness. It is this uniqueness of Christ, the gift of Christ to the world by the Father that has to mark our lives. It is to Christ that Pope Francis calls us by the new paradigm shift. God is mercy and Jesus Christ manifested the face of God’s mercy to us. In the past, the pastors to some extent, seem to have forgotten this fact and emphasized only the demands of the laws and regulations in the Church, forgetting the mercy of God he wanted to give through the observance of the Law.

Writing to Colossians in today’s epistles St. Paul says, “if you are risen with Christ (Baptism), your life is now hidden with Christ in God”. To discover this Christ in ourselves and to help others to discover Him in the lives of our families and peoples – that is evangelization. St. Paul continues to say, for those who are in Christ, “there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, between the circumcised and the uncircumcised. There are no aliens, barbarians, slaves or freemen, but Christ is all and is in all.” (Col 3:10). St. Alphonsa of Bharananganam in Palai, India used to say in the midst of the sufferings she had to undergo, “for me Jesus is enough”.

The problem of people of every age, even of Christians is that we do not grasp fully the presence and action of Christ in ourselves and in others and in the whole creation like St. Francis of Assisi. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel quoting Isaiah: “much as you hear you do not understand, much as you see you do not perceive”.

“For the heart of this people has grown dull, their ears hardly hear and their eyes refuse to see. For if they were to see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their heart they would turn back and I would heal them.” As Jesus continues to say we are the blessed ones because our eyes see and our ears hear when many prophets and upright people longed to see and hear, but they did not.

After having seen, heard and touched Christ, many a time let us not forego the blessings that come from the following of Christ. Let us also make also hundreds and thousands of our families encounter this Jesus in their lives and receive His blessings.


Source: SMCIM


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