THE SON OF GOD EMPTIED HIMSELF TOTALLY
Our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, through his incarnation, unimaginable passion and ignominious death, had kenosis (emptying of self) in order to liberate human beings from their sin and slavery. The word ‘kenosis’ literally means ‘assuming the body and life of a dog’ in the full sense of the word. This word is used when a person, knowingly and willingly, humiliates himself for the benefit of others. Theologically it means ‘making oneself nothing’ or ‘emptying oneself totally’. St Paul says, “Though being divine in nature, he did not claim in fact equality with God, but emptied himself, ......He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on a cross” (Christian Community Bible cf. Phil 2:6-8). In this small reflection, the first part will be a brief presentation of the kenosis of Jesus Christ during his passion. The second part will be an invitation to follow Jesus in his kenosis.
Jesus suffered unimaginable torture and pain of flesh and measureless grief of mind, heart and spirit. He suffered spiritually, physically and psychologically, to the extent that he died of them. His whole body had become a lump of skinless flesh because of the countless open wounds on his limbs, lacerated, bloody, beaten and pierced. He was fiercely struck and humiliated that he looked like a leper. The Man-God, who had in Himself the perfection of physical handsomeness, being the Son of God and of the immaculate Woman, seemed like a “worm”, “the scorn of mankind and the jest of people”.
His love for his Father and for humankind led him to abandon his body to those who struck him, his face to those who slapped him and spat on him, his hair and beard to those who mercilessly tore his hair and his beard; his head to those who pierced it with thorns and his hands and feet to those who nailed them. Further, he abandoned himself to those who tortured him by dislocating his bones and laying bare his bones. He abandoned himself to those who outraged his modesty by tearing off his garments. He abandoned himself to those who nailed him to the cross and lifted him up like a slaughtered lamb on to the hooks of a butcher. He abandoned himself to the gang of villains, who were like fierce bulls, like roaring lions, like a pack of dogs and like ravenous wolves made even wilder by the smell of blood.
He was betrayed, sold, accused, condemned, disowned and killed. He was abandoned even by God, because he was burdened with the crimes of humankind which he had taken upon himself. His persecutors made him poorer than a beggar because they did not even leave him his tunic to cover his livid nakedness of a martyr. He was overwhelmed by all the dirt of our sins. He was hurled down as far as the bottom of the darkness of sorrow. Heaven even refused to reply to him his last desperate invocation.
“He was wounded through our wickedness, and pierced through our crimes” says Isaiah, who with his prophetic eyes saw that the Son of man had become one huge sore in order to heal those of men. Besides, his bruised body, his feelings and spirit were wounded and made him a laughing stock of both. They struck him in the friendship that he had offered them through Judas Iscariot. They struck him in loyalty that he hoped to receive from them through Simon Peter who disowned him. They struck him through all those who in return of the favours granted them through healings of diseases, shouted at him: “death to him. They struck him through love, because of the torture inflicted on his mother. They struck him through religion, calling him a blasphemer of God, whereas out of zeal for the cause of God, he had put himself in the hands of man by becoming incarnate, by suffering throughout his life and by surrendering to human ferocity without uttering a word or complaining.
A glance would have been sufficient to incinerate accusers, judges and executioners. But he had come spontaneously to accomplish the sacrifice, and like a lamb, because he was the Lamb of God and he had to be so forever. He allowed men to take him to be stripped and killed, so that he might give us eternal Life for us through the death of his Flesh. When he was lifted up, he was already consumed by sufferings with no name and with all the names. He began to die at Bethlehem, seeing the light of the Earth, so distressingly different for him who was Living Being in Heaven. He continued to die in poverty, in exile, in flight, in work, in incomprehension, in fatigue, in opposition, in accusations, in betrayal, in torn affections, in torture, in falsehood and in blasphemy.
The Son of God had self-effaced himself totally because of his immeasurable love for us. St Paul has rightly said, “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross” (New Jerusalem Bible, Phil 2:6-8.). When he became man, he gave up not his divine nature, but the glory to which his divine nature entitled him. The Son of God was not a King Messiah, but a servant Messiah and so he led a life of submission and humble obedience. “Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering” (Rom 5:8). His prayer during the agony in Gethsemane shows that in spite of having terrible physical, mental and spiritual pain, he wanted to fulfil the will of his Father. He says, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it” (Mt 26:39). Son of God emptied himself totally.
Jesus is our Master and Lord. He is for us “the Way, the Truth and the Life”. We are invited to be like him. “Let us not lose sight of him, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection....” (Heb.12:2). Jesus has said to us, “Teach them to obey all the commands I gave you” (Mt 28:20). “Love of God is this, that we obey what he has commanded us” (1 Jn 5:3). Jesus further tells us, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). He said to the rich young man, “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come and follow me” (Mt 19:21). Jesus has given very clear conditions for following him. He says, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross everyday and follow me. For anyone who wants to save him life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it” (Lk 9:23-24). Jesus expects us to know him thoroughly, love him intimately, to follow him closely. A disciple is expected to be totally free from inordinate attachments in order to be free to love Jesus Christ and be available to do his will.
We claim to be the disciples of Jesus Christ. Upon reflecting on our discipleship, I find that it is not up to the mark, because it does not fulfil the demands made by our Lord. The person of Priest is expected to act in power and place of the person of Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Faith says, “In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of the flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of the Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis” (no. 1548). The problem is this, that the priest who acts in persona Christi, is a human being and is “divided in himself” and oscillates in his life between “good and evil” or “Spirit and flesh”. Besides, the “prince of darkness” through globalization and information technology, tried to enslave him in the domain of “evil and flesh”. The modern and post modern worldviews of rationalism, materialism, consumerism, hedonism, secularism, individualism, relativism, subjectivism, false notion of freedom, and distorted concept of self-fulfilment have watered down the fundamental Christian Truths and mysteries. Therefore, kenosis or emptying of self doesn’t make any sense to many of us. Consequently, God is on the periphery and man himself has become the centre of his life. Self-centredness is the greatest evil of our times.
Self-centredness gives rise to pride and ambition, which in turn seek power and status, money and possessions. For a self-centred person the gospel virtues of faith, hope and love and values of humility, kenosis, obedience, charity, detachment, etc. become very ambiguous. For a self-centred person his self or ego becomes more important than God and self-seeking becomes the primary concern than seeking God’s glory. A self-centred person generally is opposed, ill-disposed and closed to the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then the evils like pride, envy, jealousy, quarrels, disagreements, hunt for power and praise, dishonesty in money matters, various types of hedonistic hunger, free floating criticisms, cynical remarks, disobedience, etc. become the masters of such a person. On the contrary the spirit-centred person has spiritual gifts. St Paul says, “What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. There can be no law against things like that, of course. You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires” (Gal 5:22-24).
Are we ready to crucify our self-indulgent passions and desires in order to belong to Jesus Christ? Are we ready for “kenosis” that is, “making ourselves nothing and emptying ourselves totally”? We are disciples of Jesus Christ and he expects us to be victim priests and victim Christians so that we could sacrifice ourselves for the good of the others.
Let us make this Lenten season a moment of total transformation by recognizing and humbly accepting and removing our passions and desires arising from self-indulgence and then by putting on the Spirit of Christ who for our salvation emptied himself totally.
A SMINAR ON BCC
“Chalo hum chale sampurn Jeevan ki or. Ish vachan lay jaye hame sampurn Jeevan kir or”
The kingdom of God is our goal. Every member of the diocese has a dream for the growth of our Church.
About 200 members from different parishes of the diocese gathered in Patel Bagan Sunerngar from 7-9th March, 2014 to attend a seminar on BCC (Basic Christian Community) organized by Fr. Cyril Tigga, S.J. and his team. Sr. Christian and Fr. Amrit were the resource person of the programme.
The purpose of this seminar was to the fuel of faith in the animators better in the renewal and rivival of faith in our parish community. The three days programme began with Bible procession and lighting of the lamp. Sr. Michael invited Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J. as well as other honorable persons Fr. C.R. Prabhu, Fr. Camille Hembrom, Fr. Halan Bodra, Sr. Christin to lighted the inaugural lamp on the occasion. Bishop and Fr. Prabhu gave us a short introduction on BCC to encouraged the participants to make a sincere effort to bring Christian Unity through BCC.
The resource person Sr. Christin during the input session shared her expreinces and encouraged the participants to build small Christian communities in each parish where the members can pray and share together. She emphasized the point that the Churches is made up of clergy, religious and lay people together. Fr. Amrit and Fr. Cyril also shared their BCC experiences making them aware of the four important factors of BCC:
1. Nieghbourhood meeting
2. Prayer and gospel sharing
3. United with the universal church
4. Service to the nieghboruhood
Through power point presentation 5 models of Church was explained to help and know the present situation of the parish communities and the need to take some steps to reach our goal.
Opportunity was given after each session to share their experiences which was enriching for one another. Sr. Christin also spoke on the importance of the word of God “The Holy Bible, how to read and how to live the Bible in our day to day life.
Enriching programme ended with thanks giving Eucharistic Celebration presided over by Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J. An after the Eucharistic celebration the hard work of the resource person was acknowledged and appreciated by giving a shawl. Thanks to Fr. Cyril Tigga, S.J. and his team for organizing this beautiful programme.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Loyola School, Taldanga: The New Academic Session 2014 – 2015 began on the 7th of March. Students and teachers have gelled into the 7:20 am to 1:25 pm routine perfectly. The provision of a book store in the school campus has eased out much tension of the parents and most students are ready with all their books in the new class.
The ICSE 2014 examination began on the 3rd and students have been fairing quite well till date.
In this modern system of education though the teaching aids have advanced we at no cost can give up our virtues and traditional values. This is driven into the students very diligently by our Principal every morning. It must be mentioned that repeated reminders do have a positive impression. The students of Loyola have greatly matured in their all round personality. (Rita Sen)
ST. XAVIER’S ENGLISH SCHOOL, CHAIBASA
ICSE Board exams 2014, commented on 3rd March and will get over on 26th March. This year 87 students are appearing for the exams and we are hoping to get a good result.
Our annual Exams results, 2013-14, were given on 13th March. Overall the result was good.
Every year we have our teacher’s orientation programme and very conveniently, this year it was timed after the Annual Examinations when all the teachers were free and relaxing. We had our orientation on 7th and 8th March. Our resource person was our principal, Sr. Flora. The programme was all about discovering oneself and knowing one’s strength and weakness. Most often we allow our weakness to cripple our abilities, so we were motivated to focus on our strength so that we can do everything in the best possible way. The event was planned very well and was best in its execution.
The school reopened for the new session on 19th march. We had a special prayer of thanksgiving. We sought the blessings and guidance of Almighty god for our new academic session. We also welcomed new staff-member and students.
This year too we have lots of plans which are going to help us to bring out the best in our students. We had ‘Left and Right handwriting competitions’ for the students of Std I to X on 22nd March. We have been conducting this competition since many years but it has not lost its appeal. Children participate in it with great enthusiasm because they know that it reveals to them how active the left and right sides of their brain are.
The diocese is making an all out effort to promote vocations for our Diocese. Fr. Linus Kindo spent 3 -4 days going round the parishes of Gumla Diocese calling for candidates to attend the joint Vocation Camp to be held at Sundernagar at the end of March. Fr. C. R. Prabhu along with Fr. James Dhan visited almost all the parishes of Khunti Diocese for the same purpose. Earlier the Bishop at the meeting of Diocesan priests on 12th March appealed to all the priests to promote vocations to the priesthood and Religious Life within the diocese. The diocese needs to identify good candidates.
DISTURBING DAY FOR PDDM
On Saturday March 29, Sr. Rita noticed around 9am that an old –almost dying - lady was had been dumped into the “nali” in front of her house. The old woman claimed two men dumped her there. SR. Rita found it difficult to bring her out of the nali. All the neighbours got together. She informed the police; she called up Fr. Prabhu requesting him to contact M. C. Sisters. Fr. Camille too got into the act. In the meantime, the family members of that woman gave police-complaint that their mother is missing. Around 12.00am the family members arrived on the scene and took her away. When all things were settled, a big posse of Police arrived on the scene. Sr. Rita, the good Samaritan was profusely thanked by the police and the neighbours. The entire “hindu” neighbourhood have become the friends of the Sisters. Well done!
DAY OF PRAYER FOR PRIESTS:
Nearly 45 diocesan and the Religious priests joined at the Day or prayer organized at Upasana. Bro. Johny SDB from Dumka conducted this Recollection, On 12th evening, he spoke on meaning of “Fasting” for priests – a fasting from being angry, cruel, revengeful, judgmental, gossip-mongers, comfort-seekers and all such negatives. On the following he presented the salient features of Pope Francis’s exhortation :Evangelii Gaudium. He also presented a Video-clip on the Passsion of Christ. All priests deeply appreciated Bro. Johny’s contribution for which he was profusely thanked.
JEEVAN JYOTI SCHOOL HOLDS GRADUATION DAY:
On Friday March 28, Jeevan Jyoti School of Nursing conducted the Annual Graduation Ceremony for their 22nd and 23rd batch of students. A beautiful pandal was set up on the open-grounds. Mr. A. B.Lall, the Plant Head, Tata Motors was the Chief guest and FR. Prabhu was the Guest of honour. A large number of Tata Motors officers and Doctors and Nursing Staff along with the parent/guardians witnessed the well organized inspiring ceremony of “lighting Lamps, pronouncing Oath, offering the lighted candles at the feet of Jesus” and a 3 items cultural programme. The cultural programme was very well appreciated by all. Congratulations to Sr. Cecilia and her team on their great service to the Church and to the people of Jamshedpur.
FRESH EFFORTS TO REVITALIZE ST. JOSEPH’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE:
The Governing Body and the Academic Council of SJCC met for the first time after the death of Fr. Michael Raj, on Saturday afternoon to reorganize the Community college. The Committee made many valuable suggestions how to move forward. They have called for another meeting in quick success to take serious steps. Sr. Miriam and her team have been making very serious efforts to organize skill-development, livelihood programs. On April 2, she begins year-long Asst. Nurses’ Training. Already 20 girls have registered for this program. The embroidery and the Tailoring Program as 10 girls from the Muslim neighbourhood; Two spoken-English classes has 5-6 students each. The students themselves are going around the Muslim “busties” to public the programs of SJCC. The SCJJ will soon begin a course on “Motor-Mechanics-driving etc” Sr. Miriam the principal of the college seeks the cooperation of all the priests and the religious in the diocese to revive SJCC and support the programs by enrolling young boys and girls at this college. She can be contacted on her Mobile <8757672284>. Please support this cause. Our congratulations to Sr. Miriam and her Team!
CHRISM MASS CELEBRATED
On account of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Priests’ meeting, Recollection for priests and Religious, the Chrism Mass were anticipated and held on March 27th. The whole day was packed with different programs: In spite of the MCC-Bund call, 57 Diocesan Priests and Religious attended the Priests’ meeting. Fr. Tony Raj, SJ, the Mission Superior, Orissa gave a beautiful expose on Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium”, this led to a very lively discussion on personal renewal and Faith Formation work in the diocese. In the afternoon, Fr. Peter Francis SJ of XLRI gave a n inspiring talk on personal renewal based on Pope’s Exhortation. The Chrism Mass saw more than 100 priests, many more Sisters and a packed Cathedral for a well organized liturgical service. Six Jubilarians were felicitated after the Mass, namely, Fr. Emmanuel Parapuram sj on his 50 years of priesthood, Fr. Rocque Cardoza , Fr. Lino Fernandes SFX, Fr. Woolsie Rodriguez SJ, Fr. Vijay Kachhap SJ and Fr; Paul Fernandes SJ. Fr. Paul Fernandes is the Vice Chancellor of the recently begun Xavier University in Orissa. After the felicitations, a fellowship meal was shared more than 350 priests and the religious. Congratulations to the organizers of the day, namely Fr. Eugene Ekka and Fr. Linus Kindo.
ST. JOSEPH’S WELFARE CENTRE ORGANIZES “MEDICAL CAMP”
Under the leadership of Fr. Henry Sequeira, St. Joseph’s Welfare Centre organized a specialized medical camp on Sunday 30th March.. Doctors from Brahmananda Hradayala Hospital, with Dr Alam with his team of special doctors checked more than 250 patients of –Heart, Liver, Kidney, Diabetics and eyes. There was a very good response to the camp. Well Done Fr. Henry Sequeira and your team! Congratulations.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES IN ACTION:
Fr. Halan Bodra the Director of Catholic Charities with the limited resources that he had, provided Borewells to our missions at Balarampur, Mosaboni, Maluka, Badobasa(Jhinkpani) Karaikela, Charbandia. Though there were many more requests for more water, Fr. Halan could not help. Thanks to Fr. Halan for his generosity.
ST. ALBERT’S COLLEGE, RANCHI CELEBRATES ITS CENTENARY
St. Albert’s College, Ranchi, the Regional Major Seminary, celebrated hundred years of its service to the Church of Chotanagpur, of North India and abroad on 1-2-3 of March, 2014. It was reported that this single Seminary has trained nearly 2300 priests of whom 27 are Bishops. It has strengthened the local church of Jharkhand-Chattisgarh-Orissa-Bihar-Andamns, Bengal, nay, whole of North and North East India. Though the unexpected rains spoilt the day, all programmes were well attended. Cardinal Gracias from Mumbai, Archbishop Salvatore Pinnacchio, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop of Agra-CBCI General Secretary and 16 other Bishops and hundreds of priests and Religious joined in these celebrations. Our thanks & Good Wishes to the Staff and Students of St. Albert’s College! Ad Multos Annos!