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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"Life in all its fullness“(John. 10,10)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

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The sacred turned into a mockery

- By Rev. Fr. Michael Payyapilly VC

Recently a priest was describing to me how he had gone for a house blessing. The family had given him a time which was not suitable to him and so he had to postpone his visit, to which the family reluctantly agreed. He reached the house at the time that he had said he would get there. The family invited him in but the reception seemed rather cold. The members of the family did not have much of a smile on their face nor were they happy to see him. All of them kept pushing him to start the blessing soon and he was getting annoyed at this behaviour that they were meting out to him. He finished the house blessing and then as is customary he sat down for that ‘one cup of tea’. In a hurried way he was served tea and he got the feeling that they just wanted him to leave as soon as possible. That is when the youngest child in the house, in a loud voice, asked his mother, “Mama by the time Father goes will the show get over?” The priest did not understand, but he could see the mother suddenly hold the little ones mouth shut with her hand. The priest asked them what show the child was talking about. Very reluctantly the mother brought it out. She said that the priest had come there at a time when the whole family sits down to watch a reality show on TV. The mother said, “We have been following this show for so many months Father. The girl in the show is about to choose her life partner on TV and we did not want to miss it. Your visit coincided with this show.” That is when the priest understood why he was so unwelcome at that time. He told them to go right ahead and put on the TV and immediately the whole family sat glued in front of that show waiting for the protagonist of the show to choose her ‘soul mate’ on TV! As the priest got up to leave, all he got as a send off was a wave of the hand and the family sat back to watching the groom hunt.

“They changed their glory into shame” (Hos 4:7)

This is the new fad of the day - reality shows. It has captured audiences all over. It has become so addictive that people eat their food sitting in front of it. What do most of these reality shows give the audience? Putting it in a blunt way – ‘A chance to peep into other people’s homes.’ It is sad but it is the truth. Today many families along with their little ones are busy looking through hidden cameras at the way people are living their lives on a TV show. The way people and families are getting hooked on to this is very scary. The conversations in the house are all about these shows and analysing the characters in the show. The lives and behavioural pattern of people are analysed and talked about. We are busy spending our money on the mobile phone to try to oust people from that ‘home’ by voting them out. If I hate or don’t like a person on that show and I don’t like their behaviour I vote against them and get them out. Is this what we and our families are hooked on to today? Is this what we are showing our children today? The idea that we give our young ones is that if there is a problematic member of the family that person should be got rid off. Maybe we do not openly give this advice but this is what they learn from shows like this. The privacy of the human being is being taken away and everything is left open to the eyes of the world. Recently a reality show like this had a shocking incident of a hidden camera catching two of the ‘family members’ in a physically intimate moment. And after that there was a huge discussion about the right and wrong of that act! Is this what we and our children watch?

Another show has a woman making the choice of her life partner on Television, with men trying to get her attention and waiting for a ‘glorious’ chance to marry her. She analyses these people, brings out their mistakes and faults and lets the whole world know why she rejected certain people. And we are sitting glued to our Television sets trying to guess who she will get married to. Something as sacred as love is being taken to the cleaners by shows like this. And we encourage it by sitting glued to our television sets. Something so private and intimate as love is relayed through the television to make money. We are responsible for the degrading of love and family life by sitting glued to these cheap shows that do not respect human relationships and family life. And what we watch has always the ability to influence our thought patterns. Our idea about family life and about love gets perverted watching shows that do not respect these two gifts of God.

“In order that we may share His holiness” (Heb 12:10)

In the wake of this, it is relevant and good to see how Jesus looked at family life and love as being sacred and important. So much so, He would carry out His first miracle even before time to safeguard the sacredness of marriage and family. In John 2 we read about the wedding at Cana. A couple was starting their life together. It was a moment of love. It was the start of their dreams together. Jesus was there with Mary and the disciples. When the wine gives out, there is a problem and a situation. It was not a situation to discuss or to gossip about. It was a situation that was delicate and important to that couple. Mary recognised the delicacy of the situation and she approached the Son of God with it. She thought of the marriage and the relationship of the couple so important that she took the problem to the Son of God. And Jesus saw that problem as being so important that he would even do a miracle for them before time. In the Bible we read of many instances when Jesus enters into families and helps them solve their problems. He approached families with a sense of the sacred. In Luke 4:38 ff, when Peter had a problem in his family with his mother-in-law being sick, Jesus approached that family problem with intensity and healed her. In Luke 8:40 onwards, when Jairus had a daughter who was sick, Jesus approached the problem with so much of sacredness that He did not even allow everyone into that room except the three disciples and the parents. He did not want to make a spectacle with that problem. He saw the family problem as sacred and private. In John 11 when Martha and Mary had a family problem, Jesus wept with them. He did not see it as something to be discussed and projected to the world. He respected it all.

“For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness” (I Thess 4:7)

We live in a world that is increasingly more casual towards love, marriage and family life. These three are a gift of God and is to be dealt with delicately. It is not something to be made a spectacle of. It is not something to be sold over the television. The sacredness of love, marriage and family life cannot be played around with. When we watch programmes like this we end up making these sacred gifts as big spectacles which turn into a drama. And let us not forget that our little ones are getting a very negative idea of family life and love. They are going to see marriage and family life in the wake of what they watch on television. Will we allow our next generation to get a perverted idea of such sacred gifts of God?

It takes a monumental effort to stand up in a crowd and act on what we believe in. If we do want to respect these sacred gifts of love, marriage and family, it is time we made a decision not to watch the mockery that television channels make out of it. It might be fashionable to watch and discuss such programmes but let us stand up and respect these wonderful gifts of the Lord. Let us be able to make a statement to the world that we will not allow the cheapening of such sacred and blessed gifts. Let us have the heart to do it, so that we do not have to see the day when our children look at love, marriage and family as dramas or reality programmes

 
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Retreats and Healing Masses in Sydney

Divine Australia invites you to healing Masses and retreats to be held across various venues in New South Wales, Sydney. To be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. For details, email Fr Roni George, Director, Divine Australia - drcsydney@gmail.com.

Date: 2 - 7 October, 2018

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Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby to hold retreats throughout 2017. For bookings, email Fr Roni George, Director - drcsydney@gmail.com. Hurry, as admission is limited.

Date: January 2018 - December, 2018

Divine Retreats in Adelaide, Melbourne & Canberra

Divine healing Masses and retreats to be held across various venues in Australia. Masses to be offered by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. Praise and worship by Glen and Teresa La'Rive.

Date: 22 September - October 1, 2018

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