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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous" (Rom 5:19) - Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

We Dare Be Brothers And Sisters - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

"Am I my brother’s keeper?" (Genesis 4:9) yelled a youngster at God right in the beginning of the world. To this arrogant cry of Cain, there was no response from above. Heaven waited for ages to give a fitting reply. Another young man was sent at the appointed time to give the convincing answer. This young man, the Son of God himself, at the age of thirty-three, stretched his arms out on the Cross to take upon himself all the wounds of the wounded, all the sorrows of the afflicted, all the misery of the poor and all the evil of the sinners.

Jesus – Our Brother

No human being was alien to him. His heart was open to every man and woman to take in all their sins and sorrows. He wept at the ache of others. He stretched his shoulders to accept the burden of everyone. He died the death destined for all. His great love that led him to share the life of all human beings made him the brother of all — a brother in the truest sense. That brotherliness led to the salvation of mankind.

Jesus on the Cross-was the fitting and convincing answer of heaven to Cain "Yes, you are your brother’s keeper. "This answer given at his death was reflected all through his life. He narrated the parable of the Good Samaritan and concluded the story: "You also go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37). The Good Samaritan could not remain indifferent to the blood oozing out from the wounds of the Jew dying on the road. Those wounds opened his heart and love flowed in, the love that was bold enough to risk his own life at the hand of the same robbers lying in wait for other travelers.

While holding on to the bleeding body close to himself, his mind’s grip on his money was loosened. All the money in his pocket was given to the innkeeper. His calculations of the expenses for the rest of the journey did not deter him from his generosity. The life of this man was his concern. For that, he was ready to lose himself and his own. The fact that the bleeding Jew was a caste enemy did not cloud his eyes from seeing a brother in him. He went down on his knees to lift him up and give him life.

Be a Disciple of Jesus

This is what the disciple of Jesus should do. No one is a stranger for him. Everyone is a part of the household. One must be ready to lose oneself to give life to others. Jesus said, "Go and do likewise." It is a command therefore. Love is not a mere option for the disciple of Jesus, but a binding obligation. And who considers the other a stranger, because of unfamiliarity, difference of language, culture, race, religion or caste, is not worthy of Jesus. Everyone is a brother or a sister, who is more valuable to me than my time, my money, my convenience, and myself. This is love; this is being Christian.

But this could sound an anti-culture today, because the culture prevalent everywhere is one of division, disunity and anonymity. No one knows the other; no one cares to or needs to. Everyone recoils into the burrow of one’s own selfishness. The other is turned to, not to care for, but to be cared by. Everyone is used for the inflation of the ego of another Selfishness confronting selfishness is sure to ignite sparks of discord. Anonymity breeds hatred.

It is a broken world, indeed, that we are living in — a culture that suffocates. Sadder still, this suffocation has become the way of life today. This is where the message of love that Jesus proclaimed becomes relevant and urgent. Its waves should flow into the choking quarters of modern culture. The world deserves to take in a refreshing breath. Jesus said, By this the world will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34).

A Radical Love

This is the love the world deserves from me and from you. It is a challenge to the existing structures — a challenge worth living for. You and I could be a minority — a minority is what Jesus wants us to be. He said that we are the salts of the earth (Mathew 5:13). Salt are a ‘minority’, but this little salt give taste to the ‘majority’ of food. Jesus said that we are the leavens of the earth (Mathew 13:33). A little bit of leaven transforms the big mass. Everywhere in the mass, the leaven is felt, however small its measure may be. Jesus said we are the lights of the world (Mathew 5:14). From the tiny wick, the rays travel far and wide dispelling the darkness covering the large area.

But the question — " Is my lamp burning? Does the salt have taste in my soul? Is my Christianity powerful enough to transform the ‘unchristian’ atmosphere choking the world today?"

This question becomes particularly relevant and urgent today. The divisive forces of fanaticism are fragmenting our world. Such evil forces were always here. But their ferocious teeth were perhaps never so manifest as today. Our churches are burned down, our Sisters are raped, our missionaries burnt alive, priests are being killed. Being a Christian is becoming a risk in many parts of the world.

How do we respond to this gruelling situation? Fright and revenge are bound to well up deep inside.

A True Christian

Being Christian means a readiness to overcome this natural reaction. This is where the mettle of Christianity should shine out. No one is an enemy or a stranger for a Christian. Even when he is struck, he does not strike back. Even when he is spat at, he does not spit back. Even when he is betrayed, he would bend over to wash the feet of his betrayer. Even when he is tortured, he prays for his torturers. Even when he is killed, his last breath will go out as a prayer for his killer. That is what Jesus did. So he became the strongest and boldest man on this earth. Cruelty is the excretion coming out of a coward. But the heart of the disciple of Jesus will continue to throb in love even when reviled.

Dare To Love like Jesus

This is a decisive moment in the history of the Church. We shall gear up to love. There is a common misunderstanding that love is a two-way process. But Jesus said, "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

By his Word, this misunderstanding remains corrected forever. I love the other, not as he loves me, but as Jesus loves me. Jesus loved me by laying down his life even when I had run away from him. As St. Paul said, "God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us " (Romans 5:8).

This is a decision. We refuse to hate, even when hated. We refuse to shout, even when we are shouted at. We refuse to take up arms, even when arms are arrayed against us. It is an enemy who shouts and takes up arms. We are enemies of no one. We dare be brothers and sisters to everyone. By this the whole world shall know that we are the disciples of Jesus.

Let us pray:
O Lord, come into our lives and transform our hearts, our minds, our souls – our very being – that we will choose to love as You did. Grant us the grace to be your disciples to every person we meet. Fill us with Your Love that is so pure, so gentle, so unselfish. Help us to be true Christians. May our lives be a reflection of Your Love.
Amen
 
Divine Updates

MAGNIFICAT in Bangalore

Celebrate an evening with our Lord in Bangalore at the 'Magnificat' on December 16, 2017. Services to be led by Fr Augustine Vallooran VC. All are welcome.

Venue: St. Joseph's Boys' School Chapel, Museum Road, Bangalore

Retreats at the Divine Retreat Centre, Somersby, Sydney

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

Emmanuel Conference at DRC

Welcome to the season of blessings - mark this Advent with special retreats for discipleship, couples and children at the Divine Retreat Centre. A time to strengthen yourself in the Lord, before the end of the year. Led by Fr Augustine Vallooran and the Divine team.

Date: December 24 - 29, 2017

Retreats in Divine Retreat Centre, UK

Divine Retreat Centre, Ramsgate UK, has announced several English and Malayalam language retreats to be led by Fr. George Panackal VC and Fr. Joseph Edattu VC. All are welcome.

Dates: Jan - Dec, 2018

Hindi Convention Ojas 2018

The Divine Retreat Centre will conduct our eighth Hindi convention, in 2018. Two retreats will be held simultaneously on the campus; one for adults and another for couples and youth. All are welcome.

Date: May 27 - June 1, 2018

Divine Retreat Schedules

ENGLISH RETREATS

English retreats are held every week from Sunday to Friday. Special retreats are conducted for priests, religious and laity as well. Come and experience the Lord and grow in Him.

MALAYALAM RETREATS

Inner healing retreats, growth retreats, couples' retreats and youth retreats in Malayalam, are led by Fr. Mathew Elavumkal, Fr. Mathew Naickomparambil and Fr. Binoy Chackanikunnel.

OTHER LANGUAGES

Retreats in Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and Telugu

Every week, retreats are held in five different regional languages of India, apart from in the local language - Malayalam. The retreats are led by Vincentian priests and supported by powerfully anointed laity of God.

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