With the love we receive and share around the Table of the Lord, we are nourished to go forth to build an authentic human family where no one is left wanting.
In This Issue
The breaking of bread in the Eucharist is perceived by some as a mere ritual or symbol to emphasize the humanity of Jesus – His brokenness – as witnessed during His Passion and Death. But this simple act, seen with the eyes of faith, opens up a myriad of meanings that all point back to the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus, with whom we seek communion at the Eucharistic table.
The Eucharist is Christ’s greatest gift to the Church. It is His self-gift to His disciples. It is a call to oneness in the fellowship of the Triune God. It brings into existence a ‘communion of believers.’ This communion, however, does not stop around the Eucharistic Table or within the confines of the physical church. United with Christ, believers are exhorted not only to go out and make Him known to the world but to spring into action, to seek out the suffering and the poor.
Drawing society together itself is a great mission today in a fragmented world, when people feel pulled apart in all directions by forces beyond their control: ethnic hatred, political anger, collective greed. In the Eucharist, with the announcement of the Word and the gift of Himself, Jesus summons every tribe and tongue and people and nation unto Himself. For God’s plan for the human family is that they be one. The Eucharist reminds man of his relationship with the rest of the world, sending him forth on a mission to share the message of Christ to the rest of humanity, not in a forceful or imposing manner, but in the spirit of authentic dialogue.
Deeply concerned about a “globalization of indifference,” Pope Francis, in his 2016 World Day of Peace message entitled “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace,” warns that “the first kind of indifference in human society is indifference to God, which then leads to indifference to one’s neighbor and to the environment.”
Violence committed against each other, unfortunately, emphasizes the stark differences among believers of different religions. In this scenario, it is impossible to think that followers of different faiths can even co-exist. But it is also not surprising that acts of mercy and love, the characteristics of one and the same God, can bind people of different religions together.
A papal visit to any country is always considered a blessing. But what took place on the eve of November 29, 2015 in Africa has become a unique event in the history of the Catholic Church. For the first time, a Holy Jubilee began in a place far away from Rome. When Pope Francis flung open the Holy Door of Bangui’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral in the Central African Republic, those present witnessed a sort of “world upside down.” It was the Pontiff himself who stated very clearly that the poor – those in the peripheries like Africa – are at the very center of God’s Kingdom. In effect, the Pontiff has given Africa – more importantly, its poor – the boost and the voice it needs to be noticed by the world.
Like endangered species, environmental activists are being threatened to extinction. They are harassed, detained, sued and even killed for protecting the environment. But while environmental protection remains a painstaking advocacy, a Benedictine nun draws inspiration from the papal encyclical, Laudato Si, as she continues her anti-mining advocacy and promotion of sustainable agriculture in conflict-laden yet naturally blessed Mindanao.
A Catholic medical doctor from New Zealand, Edric Baker (1941-2015) was well known and loved in Bangladesh for his untiring service to the country’s poor. In 1983, he set up the Kaliakuri Health Care Project to provide medical care for the poor free-of-charge, regardless of creed or race and with a very original approach. People used to call him “Doctor Bhai” (brother-doctor). He was popular and highly respected not only among Christians but also among Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. He won the hearts and minds of people through his love. People were struck by his kindness and saw that his goodness was due to his Christian faith. He spread the Gospel through his service. In 2014, Dr. Edric Baker was awarded Bangladeshi citizenship in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the nation.
Martha and Mary are frequently presented as contrasting examples of action and prayer. Because of this comparison, one is led to ask who between them is the best. This question has animated spiritual reflection since time immemorial. On February 2, fourty days after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Baby Jesus to the Temple. It is the Day of the Consecrated Vocations, whether of an active or contemplative life. Both are of vital importance for the mission of the Church. Reflecting on these two sisters may help us to have a more harmonious view of the Christian vocation.
Strategies for Evangelization
October 2023 Issue
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