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14 July 2019

Good neighbour is a Samaritan

Strange enough, that the Good neighbour is a Samaritan, not just leper, tax-collector. Samaritan is consciously distanced stranger. Samaritan himself is reflected in the wounded traveller who is treated as a distanced stranger. His coming near  shows that he is not afraid, he spends his oil and wine, looks after him. The unknown in the stranger is not necessarily to be suspected of being harmful to us. Remember that  it was strangers that offered blessing to Abraham, and it was at a stranger's voice the hearts of the disciples were filled with new strength of life.

The priest and the Levite conveniently bypassed the needy. their status could defend their passing by because they had to keep themselves pure. The Lawyer also is trying to bypass Jesus, yet he is justifying his passing by by asking a 'noble' question. 

Now the question comes to us: whose neighbour  I am, and  to whom I am  a neighbour. Perhaps, at times we need to be a generous provider, but we may also have to be a humble receiving neighbour too. Jesus received the care of neighbour from Simon of Cyrene on the way to Calvary, and from the thief at his right side on the cross. he responded in gentle words, and to the thief at his left in silence.
provider. Provider with ulterior motive and pride cannot be a neighbour.

It is all in neighbourhood we are nourished, strengthened, hurt, broken, cared, healed, and raised up. What we have received will form in us the shape of our neighbouring to others. True Word of life we receive in neighbourhood, and we live by it. Thus neighbourhood is the new covenant, a new way of being with others. It is also a work of grace/ spirit. Every neighbourhood bond opens a grace channel for us. Some do break such channels and we are deprived of grace leaving us in pain. But abundance of other neighbourhood bonds can heal and strengthen and place us into the web of life, and there is peace.
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Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

3 July 2019

I can't Believe unless ...


Though some pious movements within the church wants to emphasise that the Christians must remain an isolated community (consecrated/separate group, we are well aware that we are exposed to complex matrix of multiple cultures and peoples. We can find ourselves within a web of disciplines of moral formation within our traditions and institutions. Even religiosity and spiritual practices are framed within categories of moral obligations. Yet when it comes to what we truly are to be, to bring good tidings to the poor, to proclaim deliverance to the captives and restore of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the favour of the Lord, we easily escape from such commitments hiding in cultic pious customs. Our religiosity is nurturing that kind of view. "I' go to church, 'my' family goes for retreat... may not form a witnessing christian community.

As a religious system it seems to focus on moral actions whereas they have their roots in culture, values, perspectives, social norms etc. The instructions such as not to touch, see, feel are insufficient to enable us to form a living culture in the midst of a fast changing world. The kind of non-sensual orientation remain external to our life conditions, and offer no hope for living. What they live is not a pious life, but a customary living of religious culture. So we can see those trying for their non-worldly religiosity either live with religious content (spiritual insanity) or nurture despair and gradually atheism. It is observed that the Church’s inability to see the changing world and its concerns was the main reason for modern atheism.

Formation of a living culture is not worked out by guiding norms or theories. It is lived and communicated within communities (it is of course not a mechanical group living). It is rather difficult and challenging because we cannot have definite plans and expected results within a time. Even morality is a community responsibility. One cannot condemn another, but must own the responsibility for what has been found condemnable. As isolated individuals no one can learn to live a life style of Christ. A Christian community needs to become a home where these can come with their inability to believe and trust. There one can feel the community’s wounds and pains due to ‘my’ absence. Entering into the community one enters into the experience of making a more complete body of Christ. 

30 June 2019

Passion and Communion

We passionately involve in many activities and movements. It may be in our profession, service, in religious activities, conducting programmes etc. We also engage in devotional practices. We are often very passionate and energetic.

Something we need to acquire along with passion is communion. In order to enter into communion with what we are engaged in, it is necessary that we are able to interact with them, or to have dialogue with them. Our own actions and enthusiasm will become communicative, and gradually making it possible that we transcend this interaction and enter into a communion with God who is the source of inspirations and innovations and bring them to their own very proper end.

At the same time we also see that unreflected and imprudent passion and enthusiasm has damaged families and communities. Here the element of communion is absent in attempting to make up a kingdom.

"It is 'I' who have to establish the kingdom." - Without 'me' the group, the office, the movement, the church etc cannot not function. only if 'I' am there things will be in order."

"The kingdom is in the way that 'I' think and imagine." - things have to be in the way that I want. 

Thus ultimately it becomes 'my' kingdom.

The tendency to establish 'my own kingdom' shows that I have not begun to 'leave everything.' That is why Jesus asked to 'deny yourself and follow.' The way we try to practice denial and detachment unfortunately creating another favourable self, a religious or a pious self. A closer look at ourselves shows that the cherished self of ours is formed by many forms of hypocrisy that we have sacralised. That is the self that we are not ready to deny because somehow they offer easy ways (Mt 7: 13) to enter. These are identity mechanisms at work, which also provide for popularity and social approval.If someone happens to unmask these, or open an attack we can be sure that we 'bring down fire' on people (Lk 9:54).

It is impossible to walk behind Christ with our decorated and sacralised hypocrisies. We must take up our crosses which is the reality of our own life. 

Communion can put us in right self with ourselves, our professions, activities, ministries, and God. It is a contemplative approach of living our normal life with laughter and joy, hard works and pleasures, fatigue and crisis. What we lack is a contemplative dialogue with our own life, our truth, hypocrisies, fears etc. The life itself will tell us its meaning and depth and take us to communion.

26 June 2019

Plato or Christ? We can't have two masters

Some Christians believe in Plato more than in Christ or in the Bible. It is Plato's view that a pre-existent immortal soul enters the human body and survives after the death of the body. Gnostic and Manichean movements believed that matter (body) is evil and death liberates us. Until then we struggle in the imprisonment of the body (the world). Christian thinking gradually got shaped accordingly and associated this dualism to morality defining good to be connected to soul, and whatever concerns the body and the world is evil.There is no dichotomous concept of the human person in the Bible. The Biblical view is that the human person is a unity, the whole human person. Those condemn the humanity of themselves and exalt the 'body and blood' of Christ are not sincere in their approach. In many ways of our piety we have learned to sacralise our hypocrisy.

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Good neighbour is a Samaritan

Strange enough, that the Good neighbour is a Samaritan, not just leper, tax-collector. Samaritan is consciously distanced stranger. Samari...