News Letter – April, 2012
United with Him in a Resurrection Like His” (Romans 6:1-11)
Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)
Indeed! And Christ’s resurrection has great implications for our life now–and our life forever. Both of these are brought out in our text for today, from Romans chapter 6, reading as follows:
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
You know, we used this same text, Romans 6, way back on Ash Wednesday, when we began this series on Romans. On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, we emphasized how our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection means a great change in our life now: that daily we die to sin and rise to walk in newness of life. Now today, on Easter Day, when we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord–his literal, physical rising from the dead–I want to emphasize what our being baptized into Christ means for our life forever: that we too shall literally, physically rise from the dead, with new and glorified bodies. This great hope that we have, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting–our being baptized into Christ means that we shall certainly be “United with Him in a Resurrection Like His.”
Dear Christian, your resurrection–I mean your future, physical, bodily resurrection–your resurrection is directly tied to that of Christ. No Easter, no hope. Death would be the end of it for you, and your body would just lay rotting there in the grave. But because Christ has been raised, you will be raised also.
Look, your Creator means for you to have a body. You’re not just going to be floating around like Casper the Ghost for eternity. No, our God is the God of Creation. God is committed to having a material world. God created the heavens and the earth, and it was all very good. Earthy, physical stuff. God even likes to get his hands dirty. He formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathed life into him.
But sin fouled everything up. Death entered the picture. Death and decay all around. “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Futility entered the picture. Things don’t work right, the way they’re supposed to. Fields and crops–thorns and thistles, weeds and crop failures. The weather doesn’t work right. Tornados rip through neighborhoods and airports, blowing out windows and tossing shuttle vans around. Earthquakes and tsunamis. Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. “The creation is groaning,” Paul says later, “as in the pangs of childbirth.”
Creation is messed up, and that includes our bodies. The human body was not meant to die. Death is an alien intruder. It comes as the curse following sin. Our bodies don’t work right. I’m sure you can testify to this. Aches and pains, creaky joints, bad eyesight. If you aren’t experiencing these things yet, just wait, you will. Age does a number on us. Creeping mortality advances upon us. The grave gets a step closer every day.
Well, we get 70, 80 years, if we’re lucky. But even if you make it to 95 or 105, that’s a pitifully short time in the context of eternity. Is that all there is, my friends? The grave swallowing up sinner after sinner, with no end in sight? In that case, the Bard would be right: “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
But Jesus changes everything. Everything, including our bodies. Jesus changes our standing before God, our life now as God’s children in this world, and our life forever with glorified bodies and no more sin in the age to come.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest event in the history of the world. It is the big game-changer. Christ’s death is the death of Death. You see, Good Friday and Easter are a package deal. They go together. You can’t have one without the other. Easter is God saying yes to Good Friday. It is God’s acceptance and his public approval of what his Son did by dying on the cross for the sins of the whole world. It is God’s testimony to us, that, yes, Jesus did pay completely for your sins, all of them, and that the result now is that death is defeated, powerless. With your sins taken away, death has nowhere left to lay its grip on you. That’s what happens when you are joined to Jesus. You receive the forgiveness Christ won for you, and therefore you will share in his resurrection from the dead.
Dear friends, you were joined to Jesus when you were baptized. Your sins were washed away, and you put on the white robe of Christ’s righteousness. The Holy Spirit was given to you as a gift, and he has created faith in your heart, so that you believe and trust in Christ your Savior. Cling to Christ, my friends, he is your only hope.
Your hope is in the righteousness and the life that Christ gives you. Life bursts out of that tomb on Easter Day, glorious, victorious life! You have that life now–you’ve been baptized, remember. And that life will ultimately have the last word when Christ returns on the Last Day and empties out our graves. Our returning Lord will say the word, and up our bodies will arise, new and glorified–just like his body came forth on Easter Day. Paul says in Philippians: “We await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself.”
Or, as our text in Romans puts it: “We shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Listen, do you understand what this means? Oh, you will still be you. But with some major, major changes, thank God! To begin with, you won’t have that old sinful nature anymore. You will think and act like a child of God is supposed to, and this will be very joyful. Right now, we’re running like a beat-up old car with a clunky carburetor, and a valve missing, and we’re trying to drive with the parking brake on. It’s a real grind. But then, in the age to come, we’ll be humming along, smooth and purring like a kitten, everything operating according to the owner’s manual. It will be quite a difference.
And another thing is that your body will be different. Now here we have very little information to work with–the Bible doesn’t give us a whole lot of details. But we do know enough to know it will be good–very, very good, excellent, beyond anything you can imagine. Your body will get a thoroughgoing makeover, and it will be perfect, as good as new–better than new.
You know, when you were baptized, the water came over your body, showing that God is redeeming not only your soul but also your physical body. Again, God is committed to having a physical, material creation–restored and made new, to be sure, but a material creation, nonetheless. “According to his promise,” St. Peter writes, “we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” And we, the people of God, in our resurrected bodies, will dwell there, too.
Christ’s resurrection gives us a sneak preview of our own resurrection. And so you will have a body, with flesh and bone that you can feel and touch. Only it will be a body fitted out for eternity, no longer subject to death or decay. I don’t know what exactly you will look like, or what “age” you will be, if that category will even apply anymore. But I’m pretty sure you won’t need any walker or oxygen tank, no specs to see with, no bent-over decrepitude. But rather, standing up straight, with worshipful voices full and strong–that’s what it will be like.
I’m pretty excited, I’m jacked! This is something to look forward to, big-time! A heavenly, holy community, the saints of all times and all places, everybody getting along, with Jesus in the middle. I’ll finally get a chance to have a conversation with St. Athanasius, and Abraham, and St. Paul, and Luther, and Bo Giertz–people I’ve been wanting to meet and talk to. And it will be good to see my Grandma and Grandpa Henrickson again. The trees and the river, the jewel-like walls of the holy city, the New Jerusalem, the feast and the music–what a day that will be! And there will be no end to those days.
The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. Easter is the day that gives us hope. Your baptism is your reservation for an endless Eastertide. You and I have been joined to Jesus, dear baptized believer in Christ. And for us, that means “we shall certainly”–certainly!–“be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
BISHOP STEPHAN M. TIRU PASSES AWAY
Bishop Stephen M. Tiru, the first Bishop of Khunti Diocese passed away on Saturday, 3rd March, 2012. He was born on 01st December, 1937, at Sardikel, Khunti. He was ordained Priest on 4th May, 1969 in Rome. He was elected Bishop on 18th April, 1986 for Dhumka Diocese and was Consecrated Bishop on 7th October, 1986 in Dhumka. He was transferred from Dumka to the newly erected Diocese, Khunti on 12th May, 1995 and was installed Bishop of Khunti on 30th July, 1995.
His funeral took place in Khunti on Sunday, 4th March, 2012. His Eminence Telesphore P. Cardinal Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, presided over the funeral Mass and the funeral. As many as 11 Bishops, hundreds of Priests & Religious and thousands of laity were present for the funeral service and to pay their respect.
Most of the Bishops from Jharkand were in and around Ranchi, as Cardinal called them all for a meeting on 3rd March, 2012. Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ was in Ranchi from 2nd March itself, with the intention of doing visitation to the Jamshedpur Seminarians. However after receiving the sad news he along with Cardinal and Bishop Binay Kandulna, went to Khunti on 3rd to pay respect to the mortal remains of Bishop Stephen Tiru. Later on 4th he joined for the funeral service, after having completed his visit to St. John De Britto Parish,Tepasai.
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has appointed His Excellency, Right Rev. Binay Kandulna, Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Khunti sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis (Decree No. 930/12).
The month of February ended with a Diocesan Clergy Meeting and Consult and the month of March began with the Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting. A good number of Priests, in spite of their busy schedule attended the Diocesan Clergy Meeting and discussed on various issues concerned. Even though there were a good number of participants for the Meeting of Diocesan Pastoral Council, it wasn’t as that encouraging as compared to the last year’s meeting. However all the participants with great enthusiasm participated and drawn up some suggestion, especially in connection with the Golden Jubilee Celebration in the month of September, 2012, to be submitted to the various decision making bodies of the Diocese.
On 4th March, 2012 Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ made his Jubilee Pastoral Visit to St. John de Britto Parish, Tepasai. During his visit he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Holy Communion. There were 44 children to receive the sacrament of Confirmation and 54 for children for the First Holy Communion. However soon after the Holy Eucharist he rushed to Khunti, in order to attend the funeral service of Bishop Stephen Tiru.
FOR THE MISSING GIRLS OF INDIA
On 11th March, 2012, the Mahila Sangh of the Diocese of Jamshedpur has joined thousands of people across the globe to protest against the gender discrimination that is prevalent in India. The walk, which was organized by the Mahila Sangh, began little after 4.15 pm with the releasing of balloons. After the walk, Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, who was the chief guest of the function, addressed the gathering at the G-Town Ground, N-Road, Bistupur. There were also number of other speeches based on various topics by eminent personals The youth too showed their solidarity with the mahila sangh by presenting a one act play. Then all the members took a pledge to work against this great evil.
The Global Walk for India’s Missing Girls is an annual peaceful march to protest against the female feticide and infanticide in India and to remember the victims of the “gendercide”. In the last century over 50 million Indian girls have been murdered before or after they were born. 7000 baby girls are eliminated daily by their parents in India. In some regions the male to female ratio is too low, as low as 100:50. And there is an increase in violence against woman due to this gender imbalance. Even in 2012 baby girls are unwanted or considered a burden.
VINCENTIAN FATHERS (VC)
As part of setting up of a retreat centre in Jamshedpur, Rev. Fr. Sebastian Kallath, VC has come to the Diocese. He is at presently staying at Catholic Charities, Sundernagar. He has started to animate the charismatic group which gathers in St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Tuesdays for special prayers. Rev. Fr. Sebastian said that he is seriously contemplating on the possibilities of starting three to five days long Parish Retreats, after the model of Popular Mission Retreat, from the month of June (one retreat in a month), as part of the Diocesan Renewal Programme. He said that the team for retreat will consist of two priests and a singer. However more members could be brought as per the need of the parish. For further details please contact Fr. Sebastian Kallath, VC (Mob. No.: 8294923337; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
ST. JOSEPH’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Even though the month began with much joy and expatiation, the untimely and tragic death of Mr. Manoj Kr. Mahato, the computer teacher of St. Joseph’s Community College and the personal assistant of Rev. Fr. Michael Raj, the Director of SJCC, on 5th March, 2012, brought great sadness and silence to the college. Mr. Manoj was on his way to Dhanbad to attend his friend’s wedding. However near Purulia he met with an accident and passed away. On Sunday, 11th March, 2012, a special prayer meeting was arranged at the college. Number of clergy, religious, students of present and past batches of college, friends and Mr. Manoj’s relatives from Dhanbad attend the prayer service. All who know him miss him a lot and the vacuum created by his sudden departure will remain for a long time.
All he students who were out on internship are back in college to complete their academic requirements. The students received excellent report from the institutions in which they were working. On 19th March, SJCC celebrated it’s Patron’s Feast with a small scale celebration. College had some special guests. The guests were welcomed by the students and had an interactive section.
The construction of the building is in full swing. New class rooms are getting ready to accommodate more students. The new section will commence on the second week of April. However there are still some seats available for the Diploma Courses in Community College. (Sr. Miriam, PDDM)
As continued celebrations of International Women’s Day, on 11th March, 2012, under the initiative of Mahila Sang of the Parish, a procession was organized at Ghatsila. Women belonging to various denominations and organization took part in this. Ms. Patris Kachhap, the chief guest of the function, inspired the women who were gathered by her own life story. Rev. Fr. Deosahay Minj, the Parish Priest, thanked every one for their active cooperation and spoke about the need of social awareness and the need of saving the girl child.
As part of Lenten preparation, we visit various villages in different days to offer Holy Eucharist and to conduct way of the Cross. We also screen films and video clips on the life of Jesus in Santhali. Through this visual medium people are able to understand the life of Christ in a better way. We are happy to tell you that many non Christians too come for this shows and gain some knowledge of Christ.
As part of the Golden Jubilee Pastoral Visit, Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ, visited St. Michael’s Church (Burigora Sub-Station) on 19th February. More than 1000 people were gathered for the visit of their shepherd at the premises of the Church. The Celebration began in the evening with the Holy Eucharist, which was presided over By the Bishop and was concelebrated by 10 priests. The people did stay on whole night for various programmes.
At present we are busy in Lenten/ Easter preparations. We have organized retreats in villages and have arranged for screening of Daya Sagar in each village. We have already covered more than 8 villages and are going with full enthusiasm to other villages too. The responses we are getting are very encouraging. I thank the Parish Priest and Community of Christ the King Church, Chakradharpur and the Sisters from St. Angela Hospital & Carmel Community for their unconditional support.
ST. XAVIER’S ENGLISH SCHOOL, CHAIBASA
“The world dislikes change, yet it is the only thing that brings progress.”
We believe in initiating changes every now and then, which favour the all round development of our students. We have a great responsibility of building the nation by producing worthy citizens for our country, so, from time to time we upgrade our school and the educational system to meet the demand of the changing world so that our students may not find themselves waiting in anything when they step into the world to shoulder their responsibilities.
The construction work for the new extension of our school building meant for +2 classes, has already begun. From this new session 2012-13, classes I to IV are having three sections. The uniform also has changed for the primary section i.e. Std I to Std V.
We had the pleasure of seeing the founder of our school, Fr. Cyril Fernandes in the month of January. Despite his busy schedule, he managed to spend some time with us. His words of love and praise always act like an incentive for the children to give their level best in whatever they do.
The school made the most of Fr. Cyril’s visit by organizing a Science Exhibition on 11th and 12th of January. Before the exhibition, Fr. Cyril released the first magazine of our school, “Lumiere” which means ‘enlightenment’. It was a great event for all of us. Replete with all the knowledge they have gained and the ideas that crowd their minds, the children contributed for the magazine in their own way. Some composed beautiful poems, articles and stories. Others contributed by giving fascinating facts, drawings, jokes and puzzles. In the form of magazine, they have got a platform where they can show their growing talents.
After the release of the magazine, the Science Exhibition was inaugurated. Many luminaries were invited to judge the projects and working models created by our students. Judges admired all the things exhibited and some of the working models were termed as ‘outstanding’.
As the new session 2012-13 has began, activities and studies go side by side in our school, and we feel happy to see that our students know how to maintain a balance in everything.
It is a matter of great joy for us to inform you that Shubham Kumar Nishad, a student of Std VIII of our school has discovered a formula that helps in finding the square of any number. The formula is very simple and easy, and it will prove to be a boon for all the students who are struggling hard with repeated multiplication to get the square. He was felicitated by the Rotary Club, Chaibasa. This news was flashed across the country. Experts say that the formula can be of great help in the competitive exams too.
The school realizes that the human mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions, so, the school management will do the utmost to provide an optimal environment where such prodigies will find everything conducive to their growth.
We want to make the future of our school different so we are making our present different. In this new session, all the data is centralized by introducing a new software for fee-collection, report cards, library, students’ records, bus records, etc.
We thank almighty God for all the graces he has showered on us the past year. (Sr. Flora UMI)
In yet another tragic event, Sr. Shalini, SCSC, belonging to the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross (Hazaribag Province), lost her life and four other sisters with her were injured. On the evening of 10th March, 2012, the sisters were traveling to Ranchi from Omra after a training programme. On their way, near Banki, while trying to save a cyclist the vehicle overturned and this tragic event came in to existence.
On 13th March, 2012, with the presence of a multitude of people, the funeral service of Sr. Shalini took place. Most Rev. Felix Toppo, SJ was the main celebrant at the funeral service and Mass. Bishop also had visited the sisters who are at the hospital, as the sisters are working in the Diocese.
We express our heartfelt sympathy to the Holy Cross Sisters and the family members of the Sr. Shalini and continue to pray for the departed soul. We are also in very special way praying for the Sisters who are at the hospital, that the good Lord may heal them quickly and that they may experience His love and care in these moments of pain and suffering.