Category Archives: Religion

The Priest and the Society

In my post named Love, Social Affairs and the Priest, I have tried to show that the Priest, Anybody who is Ordained, Who has given his life to ‘God,’ HAS to take Interest in God’s People. That is Why God chooses him.

God said to Jeremiah: “I Chose You, I Selected You, to be My Messenger.” (Ibid. 1:5, passim, Translation mine).

Jesus says: “You did not Choose Me; I Chose You and Appointed You… This, then, is What I Command You: Love One Another.” John 15:16-17.

And Loving Cannot be done from the Comfort of the Armchair. Not Unless You are 80+ and Confined to it. Then You Can do it, by Dandling Your Grandkids.

And You Cannot do Your Loving from the Armchair when the World is like This: This Child is Carrying Not less than 10 Kilos on her head. And She will do that the Whole day.

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‘Breathes there the man with soul so dead,’ had said Walter Scott.

If the Pain in Her Eyes does Not give Us a Pain in Our Stomach, We are Not Human Beings.

The People of God have been given Wrong Impressions. They have been brought up with Wrong Beliefs. The Reality is as Under: 

  • Going to Church is NOT Enough.
  • Saying Prayers is NOT Enough.
  • Giving Old Clothes for Charity is NOT AT ALL Enough. Or,
  • Giving some Money is NOT Enough.
  • Thinking of the Poor during Lent Alone is NOT Enough.

And Who gives the People Ideas? The media? Oh, No, Sir. The Priest and the Bishop do that, by their Teachings, Insistence, and Actions.

When We die, He is Not going to ask Us, How Many Times did You say the Rosary, How Many Masses did You Offer, or, How Many Pilgrimages did You make.

His Questions and Answers are given in Matthew 25:31-46, in the Parable of the Last Judgement.

The So-Called ‘Chosen’ one Has to Keep these things in his Mind and Heart Like Our Blessed Mother (Luke 2:19).

And Keeping these Matters in Mind is Not Enough. If he is Not Acting on it, PASSIONATELY, he is Not a Priest, Bishop or any of the rest.

The ‘Chosen’ one does not have only the Responsibility. He has also been blessed with a Lot of ‘Talent.’ And the ‘Chosen’ one Should Know What the Lord will Do to those who ‘Bury’ their Talents. Matthew 25:14-30.

Love, Social Affairs, and the Priest

Can the Priest involve himself in Social Affairs? After all, they say that Religion and politics should not mix.

I am a Christian, a catholic Priest, and this my post is directed More at Christians, though I believe that Everybody will profit by what I present here. Before speaking of the Christian Priest, let me give some Random examples, particularly from Other Religions.

Enough of Hindu Sadhus are in politics today. After all, Real politics need not be an enjoyment of the world. We see many Muslim religious leaders as heads of State in the world. And Buddhist monks, in particular, by their Immolation, etc, have been involved in the Social lives of their People.

Let me come to Christianity. Years ago, when I was in Bangalore, in one of the Franciscan monasteries, I saw the words on a plaque on the wall: “God So Loved the World, THAT HE GOT INVOLVED!” A Bold paraphrase of John 3.16. But is it not the Truth? After all, Involvement does not mean debauchery!

The Lord said to Moses, “I have heard My People Cry.” Exodus 3.7. He hears, and He Acts. That is being One with the Lives of the People. It was a Political involvement, where the ruler is interested in keeping a Whole people as Free or Cheap Labour on the one side, and their Freedom on the other.

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In the picture above, We see a couple of Indian Shepherds. Their sheep are carrying their special colours for easy identification in case other herds are close by! An adult animal can be sold for about rs. 5,000 or more today. If We think these People are Rich, We shall have to correct Ourselves. Just look at their clothes and the thickness of their arms.

For a Person like this,  the Loss of a Single Goat or Sheep can be Costly. Christ knows this. That is why they were given the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Matthew 18:12-14. As Many of them were Shepherds, the Jews knew the Value of Each Single animal.

A Small bit of Jewelry in the form of a golden coin would be something Very Big for Poor Women. Christ knows this, and Uses the Loss of a Gold coin as an Example.

Before we come to more of the Teachings of Christ, let us remind Ourselves of the Leaders of Jewish society of that time. Though the romans were ruling Israel then, as far as the Jews were concerned, they had their Sanhedrin, their priests, the pharisees, the sadducees, and the scribes.

It would indeed be too complicated to speak in detail about each of those mentioned above. The priests did not have much of a voice; but the high priest(s) made up for that! They were in the forefront in calling for the death of Jesus. The pharisees had set out to live the ‘law’ in its fullness, and had become quite a vociferous and influential group. All these groups were political in effect if not in name. Although a religious party, the sadducees were more important as a political force. The scribes used to make copies of their Holy Books, and thus had become experts in it, knowing much of their law. Hence they were consulted.

It is insisted that the Sanhedrin, their religious council, looked after things religious. But the whole life of a Jew was governed by religion! What he/she could or could not do, what and how much they had to offer, how far they could travel on a sabbath… were all decreed. And all the groups I have mentioned above had a say in it.

Time and again Jesus is shown as condemning these religious leaders, who were, in effect, those to whom the People listened. We find whole chapters and more allotted to this subject.

Many of the Elderly in Society were not taken care of. They had a ‘quaint’ law in support of it. They could offer what might have been needed for the care of their Parents, etc, to the Temple, and this practice was called ‘Qurban,’ meaning ‘Offered’. By this, the offerer did not have to look after his Parents, got a good name as having made an ‘offering,’ and at the same time could enjoy the products himself. Jesus Expressly Spoke against this. Matthew 15:3-6.

These teachers of the law and the pharisees would offer even a tenth part of the smallest earnings. For instance, the crop from the smallest sized vegetable and spice garden. When the Common People neglected to do this, these so-called ‘leaders’ not only criticized them, by looked down upon the People. Jesus Notices all these things, and Speaks against these religious leaders. Matthew 23:23.

The ‘priestly class’ would not help somebody even if they were wounded, and fallen by the road side. The very mention of this ‘class’ in the negative role in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) shows that Jesus is at least indirectly castigating them.

Jesus Healed! He told His Disciples to continue this Ministry.

The Jews had it that they should love their Neighbours and hate their enemies. Matthew 5:43. In this had sprung the question as to Who All were to be considered Neighbours. And Christ says that Each and Everybody is a Neighbour, to be Loved, to be Cherished and Helped as necessary.

It is not as if these pharisees, etc, were not praying enough. Oh, they were doing that all right, doing it even at street corners! But Christ castigates all these because they are not ‘Concerned about the People’.

John the baptist was killed because he told the ruler that he was wrong.

Paul finds out that somebody is living with his step mother. And Paul Publicly Condemns it. 1 Corinthians 5.

There is a question of Sharing of Property. Ananias and Sapphira err in this. Peter takes them to task, and that too, Very Drastically Indeed. Acts 5:1-11.

All the Above are Examples of How the Lord Himself is Constantly Concerned for His People. And How the Leaders of the Early Church Lived and Behaved in the Same Way.

The last three years of Jesus’ Public Life were not one of Dry Preaching. Jesus was concerned about the Complete Well Being of the People, Body, Mind and Soul. If the Priest does not Emulate the Lord in this, he fails.

If a Priest were to seek public office, that would hinder him from spending time in Announcing the Word of the Lord, as to What is Right and What Wrong. As such, a Priest has to Avoid public office. But he Can, and he Should, Raise his Voice, Loudly Indeed, where the Well Being of the People of God is concerned.

You cannot be Holier than the Lord.

‘Playing’ politics

We have to Appreciate our Cartoonists! They bring out, in a few Strokes, Realities of Situations! Yet the whole process is both Time consuming, and Exhausting! My Salutations to them. Yet, this post is about…

'Playing' politics

The Chief Minister’s chair and Arvind Kejriwal

politics is considered a Dirty word. That is why most People do not even keep abreast of its happenings.

politicians would like to keep their’s a ‘closed’ circle. Competition is Intense, and promotions up the rungs are hard fought, with even Murder thrown in. But all who enter it are supposed to know its ground rules: Take money, Make money, Do Not forget to Distribute it among your Seniors, and above all, Do Not Upset the Apple Cart. And the Horrible thing is, that people slowly start believing that things are Supposed to be Thus.

In the Bible, this is what the Prophets were supposed to do too. Though of course, the prophets were not too interested in money. The run-of-the-mill prophet was satisfied with the attention he was getting.

That was what the pharisees, the ‘seniors’ in the business of ‘running’ the People at that time and in that place, expected of Jesus too. And that was Why He said:

“You think Being the Man of God is like a Children’s game: If one group sings a happy tune, the other group is supposed to Dance, and if it is a sad tune, the others are expected to Mourn. But I am NOT going to speak according to what you ‘Like’ or Want. You shall get what you NEED.”

The above paragraph is NO translation, but it will give Us the Real meaning of Christ’s words in Matthew 11:16-17.

Actually We do live the Way Christ did! If our child wants Fast Food all the time, are we going to give that? If a Child wants too many sweets? If the Class wants Jokes, Tomfoolery and Nothing else?

It is time to go back to the CM’s chair. Arvind Kejriwal had the Courage to tell the political class that he was Not going to Dance to their Tunes.

Whatever our Early politicians might have been, the present fellows just want money. They are not satisfied with looting the Tax money. They see that business houses are ready to give Big Money to get the freedom to put whatever prices they like, and to escape Taxes, etc.

The political class does not want the examination of its practices, its doings. The Jan Lokpal bill would have given the Citizen the right and the tools to question any and every politician, judge, police officer and official. Which of them would have wanted that?!

And Arvind Kejriwal was not ready to ‘Play’ politics of this sort. Mahatma Gandhi had refused to enter politics. Arvind is the Modern Mahatma! Oh, He will be Back. Because, We, the Thinkers and Citizens who only want the Weal of India, want Arvind back, even as the Prime Minister of India, for a Long time. We of the AAP Salute him. And History will remember him.

07. Love Speaks Out!

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There are some who keep talking about love, but do nothing much about it. And there are a few, who do things out of love, but stop with that. The problem with this group is that they are Very Capable and Talented people. They have reached, and are, in positions where people would listen to them if they speak. But in most instances, they fail to do so.

Communication, Reaching and Speaking Out, are Important Tools. I had the Opportunity to meet a Gandhian and Freedom fighter in Trichy. He said that Gandhiji had organized Volunteers to go to the Villages, Speak to the People about Freedom and the Support Needed for it, etc, for a Long time, before He, Gandhiji, brought His movement into the Open.

I had written earlier that the world is not just divided into the 1% vs the rest. It is more like 10-80-10. The 80% in the Centre are the ‘Sheep’ of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Ready to be swayed anywhere.

From of old, the story teller held a fascination over the masses. Even today, a person who can speak in public commands attention. It is not just the spoken word, of course, though the written word has a harder time.

hitler knew all this very well. So does castro, who liked to give 7 hour speeches. Knowing that repeated, loud speech has impact, china used it for its ‘brain-washing’ phase. jayalalitha, present cm of Tamil Nadu, gave Whole-page ‘statements’ in newspapers for months on end. Taking just her case, it can be seen that people pay more attention to words, than her dismal performance. Megalomaniacs have used Loud, Long, Repeated Speech/Communication almost as a Weapon to gain control over the masses.

Is Love supposed to be Silent? Should those who are Good limit themselves to ‘Live out Lives of Love and Simplicity?’ How many would come to know of these examples?  Would not somebody else have to share that?

Pope Francis is living a very simple and even ideal life. People appreciate that, and may be many would like to follow his example. This becomes possible ‘Only because Others are Talking or Sharing about what he is doing.’

What did the Masters do? Did they just set examples, or did they keep Speaking and Teaching?

It is Impossible to Count the number of those Who can be called Examples of Love. Similarly, Great Women and Men of All religions, in All societies, have spoken out against problems that need to be addressed. It is just Not Possible to give All their examples! When Indian philosophy was getting developed, there used to be great discussions and debates on them. Indian Logic was born especially for carrying out such debates. Buddha, Mohammad, the Sikh Gurus, all had their followers, who learnt at their feet on a regular basis. Being a Christian, let me give the Example of Jesus.

Christ Not Only Healed; He went around Teaching the People. He toured tiny Israel Three times in three years. And He spoke Not only on Worship, Prayer and Fasting.

Jesus spoke out against Hypocrisy of the pharisees, sadducees and scribes, who were leaders of the society there. The Evangelist Matthew, who records the Lord’s words the most, writes Whole Paragraphs, (See chapters 12, 15, 23), on this.

Jesus spoke out about taking Care of one’s Parents. (Matthew 15: 3-9). It IS a Social Issue, after all!

In those days, they had rules even for the Washing of Hands and Feet, Plates and Dishes. He Castigated the practice of keeping rules for rules’ sake. He Knew of the Problems of a Woman losing a Single gold coin, or a Shepherd losing a Sheep. He knew of being Waylaid, and How people generally Ignore Victims, particularly if they are of a different ‘social class.’ Jesus spoke on all these things.

John the Baptist spoke out against Herod, the ruler there, who was involved in Incest. John was killed for that. But he spoke.

The AAP has taken off because the youth of our country liked that, and took it upon themselves to the means of the Computer, the Net and the Cell phones to Share about it. We can sure that Arvind Kejriwal had thought this out well. The Good have to Speak out, too. Otherwise the evil forces win.

Our Light is supposed to Shine Out for Others to See, and We Have to be Catalysts of our Society. That is the meaning of being the Salt of the Earth. Jesus Taught us. We are expected to proclaim things from the Roof-tops Now, Loud and Clear. (Matthew 10: 27). No Mumbling Allowed.

Most Christians think that it is enough to say: ‘Jesus is Lord.’ No, there is Much more to say, to Speak. We Need to Speak out on the Injustice in the World, the evil in society, the many Ills.

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self love in NOT Love!

self love is NOT love, and self love is NO love. It is selfishness! Loving oneself Alone, or loving oneself too much, is selfishness.

‘swaarth’ (Swa-Arth, one’s own gain) as it is called in India, which means selfishness, has Never been appreciated. In Any Culture, Any Religion, in Any Age.

narcissus appreciates himself!

good old narcissus appreciates himself!

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We are NOT supposed to Hate ourselves, depreciate ourselves or anything like that. A Healthy ‘I am OK’ is Absolutely Necessary. But when the world starts revolving around ourselves, then things have gone wrong indeed.

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Loving one’s Family, Relatives and Friends is also a kind of selfishness!

It will be LOVE, ONLY if we take some Goodly Effort for the Welfare and Happiness of Others who are Not related to us. Otherwise it is all selfishness!

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Let us see what Jesus had said about Us and Ours! Matthew 5:46-47, TEV.

Why should God Reward You If You love Only the people who love You? Even the tax collectors do that!

And If You speak Only to Your Friends, have You done anything out of the Ordinary? Even the pagans do that!”

(Evidently the tax collectors and pagans were held in very little regard).

I would condense the above as:

“If You love only those who love You, what Great thing have You done?”

Yes, loving those who love us is Nothing Great. Is it not as easy as sliding into a Ditch? And who is going to give out Prizes for ‘Ordinary’ things?

Whereas Loving Others is going to take Effort. Loving one’s Enemies is going to take a LOT of Effort! These things alone would be Counted as Love.

Let me repeat: ‘selfishness’ has Never been appreciated, in Any Culture, in Any Religion, in Any Age. self love actually creates Problems! self love is a Sickness. Please click on the link above for a sequel, as well as on this one, for views on self love and Christ.

04. HOW Should We Love?

Real Love does not Stop with Wishing. We have to put it into Action. We have seen that Christ had said: ‘Love Your Neighbour as Yourself.’ (Matthew 22.39). We are So Generous in Loving Ourselves. Who does not want the Best for Oneself?

So Christ’s words here mean: ‘Love OTHERS with the SAME Generosity, with the Same Ardour, with the Same Care and Concern as You do for Yourself.’

It goes Further. Jesus had also said: “Love one another as I have Loved You.” (John 13.34). And the Way He loved us was by giving His Life for us.

Christ Loved us unto Death

We HAVE to get Out of our Comfort Zones, out of out Sofas, Set Time aside for Others, Get our Hands Dirty, and Shed some Sweat for the Betterment of Others.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa had said: ‘Give till it Hurts You a little.’

Loving Others Should COST US a little. THAT is How We are Supposed to Love.