Thursday, December 1, 2011


4th Unity Congress – GOSPEL OF LIFE

28 November 2011 – 01 December 2011-11-29



Theme:  “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  
                John 10:10 


President – Association of Moral Theologians of India

Professor – St. Pius X College, Mumbai, India


1st Talk based on:

The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae addressed
To the Bishops
Priests and Deacons
Men and Women religious
lay Faithful
and all People of Good Will
on the Value and Inviolability
of Human Life
By Pope John Paul II

Evangelium Vitae I – The Culture of Life vs. The Culture of Death
Rev. Dr. Clement Campos

Moral sins have now become culturally and socially acceptable.

Today we are faced with the challenge of living the Gospel life.  We need to have a consistent ethic of life.  The two basic principles are:

Every human life is sacred and every human life has the right to be defended, protected, and fostered from conception to natural death.

Human life is also social and so in this context as well it is our obligation and duty to protect and foster life.

Genesis 9:5 5 But I will also demand a reckoning for your lifeblood. I will demand it from every animal; and from man, too, I will demand a reckoning for the life of his fellow man.

To get a better and clearer understanding of what life truly is, let us read a little passage from what our late Holy Father, Blessed Pope JP II had to say in Evangelium Vitae 34

The life which God gives man is quite different from the life of all other living creatures, inasmuch as man, although formed from the dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7, 3:19; Job 34:15; Ps 103:14; 104:29), is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory (cf. Gen 1:26-27; Ps 8:6). This is what Saint Irenaeus of Lyons wanted to emphasize in his celebrated definition: "Man, living man, is the glory of God". Man has been given a sublime dignity, based on the intimate bond which unites him to his Creator: in man there shines forth a reflection of God himself.

The life which God bestows upon man is much more than mere existence in time. It is a drive towards fullness of life; it is the seed of an existence which transcends the very limits of time: "For God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity" (Wis 2:23).

The reason man is said have an ‘alien dignity’ is because the source of his dignity is a conferred dignity given by the Creator.  David F. Kelly in his book Contemporary Catholic Health Care Ethics says,  “Alien dignity means that God having freely chosen to create human beings has also chosen to involve His very self with us, with our plans and our sufferings, our virtues and our sinfulness.  Alien dignity means that our worth is not found in any mere usefulness granted to us by other men and women.  We are of worth.  That worth comes from God, not from individuals or social agreements of other humans.  Our worth remains even when sin-filled persons or sin-filled structures ignore it.  It is ‘alien’ because it transcends us and our possibilities of rejecting it.”  We are lovable because God loves us.


Pope JP II made 3 solemn declarations in  this encyclical – Evangelium Vitae.

Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. EV 57

Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. EV 62

In harmony with the Magisterium of my Predecessors  and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. EV 65

We must be aware that pro-life issues are not limited to abortion and euthanasia.  It  does not excuse indifference in these areas of life which are poverty, racism, unemployment, housing, health care and capital punishment.  Every human being is entitled to living a fulfilled life. 

“Adopting a consistent ethic of life, the Catholic Church promotes a broad spectrum of issues…. Opposition to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. Any politics of human life must work to resist the violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life. But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community” (US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, 1998, n. 23).

 Are there any exceptions?

Capital Punishment:

In rare cases, the death penalty was accepted earlier by the Church as it was thought to be a deterrent to committing violent crimes.  However evidence indicates that is not the case.  A person accused of a crime must be given a chance to reform and redeem himself.  The  USCCB said that the antidote to violence is love not more violence.  We cannot defend life by taking life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Capital Punishment

2266 The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. the primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.

2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor. 

"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.'[John Paul II, Evangelium vitae 56.]
For John Paul II, “the punishment of any crime should not only seek to redress wrong and protect society. It should also encourage the possibility of repentance, restitution and rehabilitation on the part of the criminal. Execution removes that hope."

On the ‘Just War Theory’ and if there is such a thing as a just war.

Just War (CCC 2307-17)

All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war. Despite this admonition of the Church, it sometimes becomes necessary to use force to obtain the end of justice. This is the right, and the duty, of those who have responsibilities for others, such as civil leaders and police forces. While individuals may renounce all violence those who must preserve justice may not do so, though it should be the last resort, "once all peace efforts have failed." [Cf. Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 79, 4]

As with all moral acts the use of force to obtain justice must comply with three conditions to be morally good. First, the act must be good in itself. The use of force to obtain justice is morally licit in itself. Second, it must be done with a good intention, which as noted earlier must be to correct vice, to restore justice or to restrain evil, and not to inflict evil for its own sake. Thirdly, it must be appropriate in the circumstances. An act which may otherwise be good and well motivated can be sinful by reason of imprudent judgment and execution.
In this regard Just War doctrine gives certain conditions for the legitimate exercise of force, all of which must be met:

"1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

3. there must be serious prospects of success;

4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition" [CCC 2309].

The responsibility for determining whether these conditions are met belongs to "the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good." The Church's role consists in enunciating clearly the principles, in forming the consciences of men and in insisting on the moral exercise of just war.
The Church greatly respects those who have dedicated their lives to the defense of their nation. "If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace. [Cf. Gaudium et spes 79, 5]" However, she cautions combatants that not everything is licit in war. Actions which are forbidden, and which constitute morally unlawful orders that may not be followed, include:

- attacks against, and mistreatment of, non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners;

- genocide, whether of a people, nation or ethnic minorities; 

- indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.

Given the modern means of warfare, especially nuclear, biological and chemical, these crimes against humanity must be especially guarded against.

In the end it is not enough to wage war to achieve justice without treating the underlying causes. "Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war" [CCC 2317]. The Church has no illusions that true justice and peace can be attained before the Coming of the Lord. It is the duty of men of good will to work towards it, nonetheless. In the words of the spiritual dictum, we should work as if everything depended upon our efforts, and pray as if everything depended upon God.


Understand the Roots/Origin/Underlying  Causes

There are differing attitudes prevalent today with regard to the value of life all of which view life through different lenses.  To understand the principle of the sanctity of life we must base our judgment on the quality of life.  There is a erroneous perception that freedom means license to do anything one wishes to do rather than knowing that ideally freedom is linked to the truth. Being at liberty always to choose to do what is right..  There is a warped idea of freedom which is  unbridled, unprincipled and unlimited.

In the landmark case 1993 Roe vs. Wade the judge ruled that, a  woman is free to act once conception has taken place.  This limits the more vulnerable persons in society. There is a change in the understanding of humanness.  We must understand that words are important.  Language is important.  Those with a hidden agenda use ambiguous phrases or clever terminology to hide the reality of truth. 

Depending on the desire of the person, the medical profession  plays on the feelings and emotions so a baby is identified as a fetus if it is perceived that a woman wishes to abort her baby.  Women who have multiple babies that become viable due to in vitro fertilization are advised to have healthy babies aborted in order to give one baby a better chance of  being carried to term.  Doctors cloud the truth by calling it ‘foetal reduction’ instead of calling it what it really is which is ‘baby reduction.’

Modern technology has advanced greatly and men and women who are unable to conceive a child naturally resort to having babies through in vitro fertilization.  Some use the technology to have designer babies, or wish to determine the sex of a child in order to have one of a preferred sex.  Modern technology ought be used to improve the quality of life not destroy of human life.  Designer babies are now being made available by those who have the technical know how.  Medical research ought not to use unethical means to play with life just because they can.  All children have a right to be born through an act of love not in a test tube or Petri dish.  The ethical and moral point of view of the conception of life is changing with the changing attitudes towards the family.

The womb is the inviolable sanctuary of life and God alone is the Author and Giver of life therefore it is morally and ethically wrong to have recourse to contraception or any form of artificial reproduction.  More and more today children are viewed as a right and not as a gift from God.  People are prepared to go to any lengths in order to have the desire for a child fulfilled.

The sick, the aged, the handicapped, the disabled have a right to a loving, caring refuge and haven within the home.  Instead they are being betrayed by the medical profession – it is the big sell out on the Hippocratic oath that they take to protect and uphold life always.   On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, handed down two rulings legalizing abortion in America. 

Health care is now become a commodity and the poor, the weak and the vulnerable sections of society have no access to basic health care.  There is an active trading in body parts and all reverence for human life is being lost.  The medical profession is being misused as it has now become legal in many countries to obtain physician assisted suicide for those who desire it or if it is advocated by those with the power to order it.  People no longer want or wish to know the right thing to do, they opt for the most convenient.  There is a changing pattern of behavior which encourages treating human beings as objects rather than persons with intrinsic value and worth.


God given reason
Discover the right thing to do
Focus on morality of the action
The individual moral obligations is stressed
The starting point is the rational nature and implication of the action.
Life is seen as a gift


Meaning given by man
Individuals decide what is the right thing to do
Morality is based on the purpose of the action – it is based on the intention.
Stress is laid on the Moral freedom and the rights of the individual.
The starting point is the feelings and perception of the individual
Life is seen as a possession

Blessed Pope John Paul II challenged the Church to begin an urgent “mobilization  of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life” (95) based on the need to re-establish the link between life and freedom/freedom and truth.


Education is the most crucial area of response as religious voices are being sidelined and alienated.  Documentaries like The Silent Scream which is a 1984 anti-abortion documentary video directed and narrated by Bernard Nathanson, an obstetrician, NARAL Pro-Choice America founder, and abortion provider turned pro-life activist, is a useful and powerful means conveying the horror of abortion and will create an awareness of the truth.  The film depicts the abortion process via ultrasound and shows an abortion taking place in the uterus. During the abortion process, the fetus is described as appearing to make outcries of pain and discomfort.  

Dr. Nathanson is also the co-author of a book ‘Aborting America’ here is a review of the book by Yaakov (James) Mosher, “Dr. Bernard Nathanson's vantage point is one that comes to the pro-life cause once in a generation.  It's a view rich in knowledge and nuance. Nathanson's rationalism does us another great service by defining what abortion actually is, medically speaking - Abortion is not the killing of the fetus per se. It is the separation of the fetus from the mother. The death of the fetus is often the by-product of the separation.”  The media is not interested in the truth it prefers to push a pro-choice agenda and mentality in order to go along with the prevailing culture of death.  The Church has a tremendous duty to use its influence to educate people on the truth and the ethics of the decisions that they make which influence life.  We have to bear witness to the ethics of life.

To  be pro life entails embracing every aspect of life.  We are called to win hearts and minds.  We are called to be doers of the word and not just hearers.  We are called to proclaim the truth remembering always that this goes hand in hand with compassionate action.

We are called to dialogue with other faiths on pro life issues.  We are called to apply political pressure on candidates who wish to govern us in the political arena, as  legislation of laws have a tremendous  influence on our lives  In many countries euthanasia has been legalized and this has resulted in many old, sick and disabled persons to become victims of unjust laws that deprive them of life sometimes even without their consent.

Every human life is immeasurably precious and we must recognize that God alone  is the Author and Giver of life.  It is our solemn  and  sacred duty to ensure that every human person’s life is safe especially those who are most vulnerable.  The Gospel of Life imposes on us a sacred duty to work tirelessly for the  betterment of all human life without society or the culture determining whether that life is deemed worthy to live or not.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1 Thessalonians 2:1-19


You well know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not in vain. We had been ill-treated and insulted in Philippi but, trusting in our God, we dared announce to you the message of God, and face fresh opposition. Our warnings did not conceal any error or impure motive, nor did we deceive anyone. But as God had entrusted his Gospel to us as to faithful ministers, we were anxious to please God who sees the heart, rather than human beings. We never pleased you with flattery, as you know, nor did we try to earn money, as God knows. We did not try to make a name for ourselves among people, either with you or anybody else, although we were messengers of Christ and could have made our weight felt.
On the contrary, we were gentle with you, as a nursing mother who feeds and cuddles her baby. And so great is our concern that we are ready to give you, as well as the Gospel, even our very lives, for you have become very dear to us.
Remember our labor and toil; when we preached the Gospel, we worked day and night so as not to be a burden to you. 10 You are witnesses with God that we were holy, just and blameless toward all of you who now believe. 11 We warned each of you as a father warns his children; 12 we encouraged you and urged you to adopt a way of life worthy of God who calls you to share his own glory and kingdom.
13 This is why we never cease giving thanks to God for, on receiving our message, you accepted it, not as human teaching, but as the word of God. That is what it really is, and as such it is at work in you who be­lieve.
14 Brothers and sisters, you followed the example of the churches of God in Judea, churches of Christ Jesus. For you suffered from your compatriots the same trials they suffered from the Jews, 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and who persecute us. They displease God and harm all people 16 when they prevent us from speaking to the pagans and trying to save them. By doing so they are heaping up their sins, but now Judgment is coming upon them.
17 We are for a time deprived of your presence, but not in our heart, and we eagerly long to see you. 18 For we have wanted to visit you, and I, Paul, more than once; but Satan prevented us. 19 In fact, who but you are our hope and our joy? Who but you will be our glorious crown before Jesus, our Lord, when he returns? 


 A Meditation on the above Scripture Passage
Can be found below

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


8th November 2011
Fr. Joy Menacherry
If our prayer groups are to be fruitful then let us be attentive to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us.

The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Bible and the Magisterium of the Church and the silence of the mind which is the conscience.  Remember to  keep in mind that the Holy Spirit does not intrude and He speaks in whispers.

Revelation 2:2-5
 2 I know your works, your difficulties and your patient suffering. I know you cannot tolerate evildoers but have tested those who call themselves apos­­tles and have proved them to be liars. You have persevered and have suffered for my name without losing heart.   Nevertheless, I have this complaint against you: you have lost your first love. Remember from where you have fallen and repent, and do what you used to do be­fore. If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp­­stand from its place; this I will do, unless you repent. 

Revelation 3:6, 16
 Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.”
16 You are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold so I will spit you out of my mouth.

John 20:27
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands; stretch out your hand and put it into my side. Resist no longer and be a believer.”


Revelation 3:14-15 Jesus is the AMEN  He is the faithful and true witness.
 14 Write this to the angel of the Church in Laodicea, “Thus says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation:
15 I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!

We need to be a true advertisement for Jesus.
We have to grow, we must have a target, we have to set goals.

Ezekiel 33:30-33  We must have listening ears.

 30 Son of man, your people talk about you along the walls and at the doors of the houses, each one with his neighbor: ‘Come and hear the latest word of Yahweh.’
31 They go to you as they go to an as­sembly and sit in front of you. They listen to your words but do not do what you say. Instead they con­tinue to lie and look only for their own interest. 32 For them you are no more than a singer of lovesongs – a beautiful voice accompanied by beautiful music. They listen but do not practice what they hear.
33 But when what is foretold comes true – and it is about to happen – they will know that there was a prophet among them.”


We are partners with Christ to spread the Good News

Christ needs us to carry on the mission which He has entrusted to us.

We must be strengthened in our commitment

Humility is an essential characteristic of the renewal

God is the reason I must be humble because He humbled Himself.

Learn to love and respect the mother Church.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



Brother Jude Muscat

When we look at the beginnings of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 1967, which began 2 years after the end of Vatican II and 70 years after the encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII on the Holy Spirit; we recall the words of Pope John XXIII, who in preparation for the II Vatican Council asked all the faithful to pray for a new pentecostal “Outpouring of the Holy Spirit”  This is what he prayed, “Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Savior, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen”

Pentecost 1998 was another very special moment in the unfolding drama of the Holy Spirit’s action of this last century in the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II called the various ecclesial movements and new communities, born as fruits of the working of the Holy Spirit during this century to join him in St. Peter’s Square for the Pentecost vigil. It was the first gathering of this kind ever to take place and over fifty different ecclesial movements and new communities were represented, including the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which began in USA in 1967.

Addressing those were had thronged St. Peter's Square Blessed Pope John Paul II stated that both the institutional and Charismatic aspects are gifts that are co-essential to the Church’s constitution. They contribute, although differently, to the life, renewal and sanctification of God’s people. It is from this providential rediscovery of the Church’s charismatic dimension that, before and after the council, a remarkable pattern of growth has been established for the Church and ecclesial movements and new communities.

We are called to live the charismatic dimension of the Church.  The charisms in their nature are God's response to the needs of man.  We in turn respond in praise and worship which includes all forms of prayer.

Liturgical Acts are acts  of worship.  It is our response to God.  Praise is an act that follows our knowledge of God and our experience of receiving His love.  When God reveals His glory, goodness to me I respond by falling on my knees.  Worship is a response to God's revelation of Himself to us.

Isaiah 6:1-8

1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted; the train of his robe filled the Temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: two to cover the face, two to cover the feet, and two to fly with.

3 They were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh Saba­oth.

All the earth is filled with his Glory!”

4 At the sound of their voices the foundations of the threshold shook and the Temple was filled with smoke. 5 I said, “Poor me! I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips, and yet I have seen the King, Yahweh Sabaoth.”

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me; in his hands was a live coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said,

“See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” I answered, “Here I am. Send me!”

Through the charisms God responds to the needs of His people provided we have open hearts that are willing to receive what He wants to pour out on us.

Baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit.
Restoration and new beginnings.
Dying to ourselves
Letting go of the world around us.
Laying down all at the feet Jesus.
God looks at the historical context in which we live and He gives us all the gifts we need.
Charisms indicate that God is among us.  He heals because He wants to show us He is alive.
God heals to show us His power over death.


Brother Jude Muscat

The charismatic gifts are given to be used in service of the community.  They help us to forget self and focus on others.  They enable us to be of service to others.  We are responsible for the gifts God has given us.
The gifts lie in the confirmation of the community.
A man or woman of pray will accept correction in humility.


Brother Jude Muscat

Ezekiel 47

Water flowing out of the temple
The only creature who stands in the will and way of God is man.  We lie in a world that is killing the spirit of man and stealing the breath of life.  Men are being drawn by the culture of death and fea.  Be sensitive to the social structures around us.
Dare to be a Christian.

John 12, John 17 The Cross is the throne of glory
Realize and live the beauty of the Liturgy in your life
"Go in peace" we must believe that the streams of living water flows from the altar to us and flows out from us into the world.
We are called to live the glory of the Cross and we must move out of our comfort zone.
We go out with our eyes open with sensitivity to the needs of others.  All need healing.
Evangelizing is bringing the healing power of God to man.

8th November 2011

Brother Jude Muscat

Acquiring wisdom needs commitment to silence.
Listen, reflect.
Without reflection life is meaningless space gives meaning to everything in life.  Without space we cannot know the will of God in our lives.  It is not about feeling but BEING.  To grow in wisdom and the charisms find time for quiet.
We seek to be cured rather than to be cared for  in the spiritual life.
There will always be obstacles and difficulties.  It is necessary to be tested in order to know whether we are ready and it helps to get ready.
We must discern the will of God at every moment of our life.
A radical commitment to Jesus involves a readiness to be persecuted.

Monday, November 7, 2011



Bishop Colin Campbell


Effectiveness:  Today religion is considered a private matter.

Jesus' Strategy / Tactics  :


Jesus uses Peter's boat as a pulpit.  He went to where the people were and uses where the people were as His starting point.  Jesus moves from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

It was the divine initiative to send His only Son to become as one of us.
Philippians 2


Jesus is gentle  but firm in His desire to accomplish the Father's plan.  We cannot wait for the perfect time.  We are called to persevere in the face of difficulty and suffering.  Jesus is steadfast, resolute, single minded in the midst of changing ideas and attitudes and reveals the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus needs us.  He chose us to collaborate and share in His salvific work.
The gaze of love – Jesus sees the person as he is and sees the possibilities of what we can become.  What we become depends on how each responds and cooperates with the help of His Holy Spirit.  God's plans for us is not to be good but to be great.


Uncompromising call.  Jesus is the master of the imperative.  He does not give advice or offer suggestions or make recommendations. 


Jesus looks for faith, trust, belief.  Lack of attention, individualism takes the focus away from God and we forget His Presence.
John 14:8
Drives out fear and anxiety.
Liberates us from self and self deception.
God is always with .us through the power of His Holy Spirit


Defeats fear and worry.   God  judges us by our efforts not by our successes.  Failure should never stop us it is an invitation to keep trying.  Christ loves us regardless of whether we succeed or fail.  All that we do has eternal significance.


Faith, trust, hope, obedience are all necessary but the greatest of these is love.  Love must determine all our actions.  Sacrificial, self- emptying, agape love.




1 Peter 1:2
Holiness of life is an inescapable fact for all God's people.

After Jesus chooses the 12 Apostles we hear Him preach the Beatitudes.  These are the qualities a disciple must have.  This is the disposition and attitude of a disciple. To become more like Jesus is to  become more holy. The leader needs to be a living example of Jesus.  A lived reality of holiness.  The disciples modeled Jesus to the people of their day.  We are called to mold ourselves to the mystery of the Cross.  We must model, reflect and imitate Jesus to others. We have to have an intimacy and familiarity like Abraham, Moses and the saints had with God.  A leader is one who listens to God.  The final Word of the Father is Jesus and we are called to listen to this Word of God.  A disciple is one who hears, listens and practices.

Jesus is the Master of the imperative.
Colossians 1:14
Hebrews 1:3
Every Christian is a pattern, a model, and imitation of Christ.  All leaders are to mirror Christ.  2Corinthians 3:18.

When people sees in us a reflection of Christ, we will know we are growing in holiness.  A leader must have time for prayer and more importantly to listen when praying.  A leader is a man or woman of the Cross.  A leader has to enter into the Paschal Mystery in imitation of the Master.  There are no detours around Calvary, it is a part of the Paschal Mystery.

Jesus has said, "Pick up your cross daily and follow Me."  The Cross is the greatest point of rejection, defeat, failure culminating in death and yet paradoxically we have the glory and the triumph of the Resurrection through the reality of the Cross.  Death is the springboard to life.  Failure can build leaders.  If we are to have a share in His victory we have to share in His defeat.  Real faith praises God when we are surrounded by defeat, darkness, failure and sorrow. 
Leadership is a call to wisdom and discernment.  

The 4 characteristics required for one who is called to serve as a priest are:

Academic Ability
Psychological and Human Stability
Common sense
In the Jewish understanding of wisdom it is a double dose of common sense.
Grace must build on nature.


Archbishop Timothy Dolan said that the pivotal virtue of the interior life is humility. The road to perfection is humility.  St. Bernard of Clairvaux said that it is the mother of salvation.  A leader must think, speak and act like Jesus.  Each encounter with Jesus was an occasion to experience His love, to grow and to be healed.  Jesus' mind was fixed on the glory of the Father and the Good News of the Kingdom.   Jesus is the Servant King and all leaders are called to imitate Him in servant leadership. Secular leaders exercise power and authority over people.  The followers of Christ who are called to be leaders exercise power and authority for people.  Leaders must be an icon of Jesus just as Jesus is the icon of the Father.  We must all be pieces of the master who makes of us a masterpiece.


Brother Cyril John ICCRS-ICAO

Praying for others
1 Timothy 2: 1ff
CCC 2634
Philippians 1:4
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
78 Redemptoris Missio
1 Timothy 2:8


7th November 2011


Brother Cyril John

Ephesians 6:12


Revelations 12:7 ff Battle with the devil

Revelations 12:17

2 Peter 2:4

Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:12-17

Paul V1 Defense from evil is the greatest need of the Church.
Intentions of the evil one 

1 Peter 5:8

Personal and universal attacks

1)      The enemy who has already been vanquished. Colossians 2:15 Jesus disarmed the devil and has won the victory over the enemy.
2)      The task of exercising authority that He has won for us. Luke 10:19
In the spiritual battle the battlefield is the mind
2 Corinthians 4:4
Darkened and closed minds. People justify what is evil and sinful.

We need Protection
Defend ourselves we need to put on the armor of God Ephesians 6:10 ff
Verse 13

We must remain truthful, honest it is our source of protection.  Our speech and our actions must be honest.


The breastplate  protects the heart.


Preparedness to share the Good News of peace


How large must the shield be – as large as a door.

HELMET OF SALVATION 1 Thessalonians 5:8

Hope is the helmet of Salvation.  If we lose hope we become discouraged and  could lose the battle.

DEFENSIVE ARMOR IN BATTLE is necessary but to be completely successful in this war against evil we need both defensive and offensive armor.

Know the Word well so it becomes a powerful tool. 

Praise and praise in tongues



Brother Cyril John

1)    We need to return to the basics to the mission and goal of the renewal.
       What are the essentials the basics:  Revelation 2:4 and
        Revelation  3:15-16
        The renewal has lost its first love and fervor we have to reignite the first
        love that we received in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We have to fan
        into flame our love of the Lord.
2)    We must have a renewed commitment to personal prayer, the Word of
       God, and the sacramental life.
3)    Fellowship in the Renewal is important. The strength of the renewal is the
       Life in the Spirit Seminar, prayer groups .  Growth takes place in the
       prayer group.
4)    Use the charisms which are the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Every charism is
       given for the common good for lifting up the Church.


Go deep.

The  2 main goals of the renewal are 

1) mature and continuous personal conversion to Jesus Christ and
2) Ongoing growth in holiness.

Go deep into our own spirituality and leave the shores of our comfort zone.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

John 4:4-42

In this Gospel narration on the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4:4-42, St. John the evangelist shows us how each one of us is called to make this journey from sinner to saint.  The following is a blend of Fr. Franco's interpretation of this Gospel passage with minuscule shavings of personal musing and great big dollops taken from the Church Fathers. 

We will look at  each step of this woman's journey from sinner to disciple, from the moment she steps out on to the dusty road with her jar at 12 noon to rendezvous at the well, until she returns to the village.  Like all John the Evangelist's characters including himself she remains unnamed as she represents each one of us.

It is the 6th hour almost noon, Jesus has walked a considerable distance and His journey has fatigued Him so He sits by the well. The sitting indicates two things.  One, in His flesh and humanity Jesus is physically exhausted.  He has spent a long arduous day walking from Judea.  He has now reached the Samaritan town of Sychar,  they are at Jacob's well.  Jesus is tired, thirsty and famished He sits down in sheer exhaustion beside the well while the Apostles leave to go to the town and buy food.  Looking at this scene who can doubt that Jesus truly Man.  He was one like us in all things save sin.

Sitting also indicates the posture of a teacher.  As God He knows that the Samaritan woman is on her way to the well.  Salvation is going to come to her that day although she does not know it yet.  God is waiting for  her as He waits in anticipation for all sinners to come home.

Scripture tells us it is the 6th hour.

St. Augustine has this to say about the 6th hour and the well,  "At the sixth hour then our Lord comes to the well. The black abyss of the well, methinks, represents the lowest parts of this universe, i.e. the earth, to which Jesus came at the sixth hour, that is, in the sixth age of mankind, the old age, as it were, of the old man, which we are bidden to put off; that we may put on the new."

According to  St. Augustine, the 6th hour can be interpreted as the 6 Ages of the Word

1st Age -  Adam to Noah
2nd Age - Noah to Abraham
3rd Age - Abraham to David
4th Age - David to the Captivity in Babylon
5th Age - Captivity in Babylon to John the Baptist
6th Age - John the Baptist to the present Age of Jesus Christ the 6th Hour

He also says that the 6th hour can also be likened to the 6 ages of man.  Infancy, childhood, boyhood, youth, manhood and old age.

The water in the well, according to St. Augustine, "is the pleasure of the world, that abode of darkness. Men draw it with the water pot of their lusts; pleasure is not relished, except it be preceded by lust. And when a man has enjoyed this pleasure, i.e. drunk of the water, he thirsts again; but if he have received water from Me, he shall never thirst. For how shall they thirst, who are drunken with the abundance of the house of God?  and promised this fullness of the Holy Spirit."

How nonchalantly in the past I have explained away the woman at the well and her character without ever diving deep into the infinite well of the Word  as the Church Fathers have done.  Instead I have waded and splashed about in the pool like a baby in a bathtub. The well of God’s wisdom runs deep indeed.

Here is what the Church Fathers Augustine, Chrysostom, Origen and Theophylis  have to say about the woman and her five husbands.

When Jesus spoke about the Living Water the woman did not understand, wishing to enlighten her Jesus asked her to call her husband which according to St. Augustine means, to apply our understanding.  In a well ordered life  understanding governs the soul these can be illuminated by the Light which comes from Christ.  However the woman responded saying, "I have no husband."  In other words she lacked understanding and therefore could not be enlightened.  In fact she did not have a lawful husband but had formed an irregular connection with some one. Jesus tells her she had five husbands in order to reveal to her His miraculous knowledge of  her.

The five former husbands may be explained as the five senses, thus: a man before he has the use of his reason, is entirely under the rule of his bodily senses. With reason comes action; and from that time forward he is capable of entertaining ideas, and is either under the influence of truth or error. The woman had been under the influence of error, this error was not her lawful husband, but an adulterer. That is why our Lord says, Put away that adulterer which corrupts you, and call your husband, your reason, that you may understand Me. 

Origen says, "And what more proper place than Jacob's well, for exposing the unlawful husband, i.e. the perverse law? For the Samaritan woman is meant to figure to us a soul, that has subjected itself to a kind of law of its own, not the divine law. And our Savior wishes to marry her to a lawful husband, i.e. Himself; the Word of truth which was to rise from the dead, and never again to die."

According to Chrysostom she is no longer in need of ordinary water she now begins to hunger for doctrine.  She is not offended at Christ's rebuke. She does not leave Him, and go away. Far from it: her admiration for Him is raised: The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that you are a Prophet: as if she said, Your knowledge of me is unaccountable, you must be a prophet.

St. Augustine says that  the husband (understanding) was beginning to come to her, though He had not yet fully come. She thought our Lord a prophet, and He was a prophet: for He says of Himself, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country.   She now begins inquiries on a subject that perplexed her.   Our fathers she says, worshipped in this mountain; You say that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Who is right?  The Jews worshipped in the temple built by Solomon and boasted to the Samaritans about it.  The Samaritans replied, "Why boast you, because you have a temple? It is on this mountain that Abraham offered Isaac his son, so is it not better to pray to God in this mountain, since Abraham was pleasing to God and this is where our fathers worshipped?"

St. Chrysostom points out that Christ does not solve this question immediately, but leads the woman to higher things.  Now that she acknowledged Him to be a prophet she will listen with a more full belief: Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. He says, "Believe me," because faith is of paramount importance if we are to be pleasing to God.

According to him the Jewish worship was far higher than the Samaritan; but even Jewish worship will be abolished; for the hour has arrived  when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. He uses the word 'now' to indicate that the event at hand, it is approaching.  The words, true worshipers, are by way of distinction: for there are false worshipers, who pray for temporal and frail benefits, or whose actions are ever contradicting their prayers.  True worshipers do not confine the worship of God to place, but worship in the spirit.

The former requirements of the law such as circumcision, burnt offerings, and sacrifices would pass and worship in the spirit would become the way in which to serve and please God.

St. Augustine says that she knew then who could teach her, but she did not know or recognize the One Who was teaching her. It is He who has come that will level the mountain, overthrow the temple, and teach us how to pray in spirit and in truth.

St. Chrysostom says that the reason the Samaritans had for expecting Christ was because they acknowledged the books of Moses that foretold His coming.

Moses says, The Lord your God shall raise up a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren.

The woman begins by calling Jesus a Jew and by the end of her encounter with the Lord she recognizes and acknowledges Him as the Messiah.

St. Augustine says that to the discerning mind this is a confirmation that the woman's five husbands signified the five senses as do her five carnal answers to His questions until ultimately she mentions the name of Christ.

Christ now reveals Himself to the woman: Jesus said to her, I that speak to you am He. St. Chrysostom says that had He told the woman this to begin with, it would have appeared vanity. Now, having gradually awakened her to the thought of Christ He finds this the opportune moment to disclose His identity to her.  The Jews had often asked him to be open with them and reveal plainly if He was the Christ, but He did not answer them for the reason they asked was not to learn from Him but to do Him injury and harm but she spoke in the simplicity of her heart.

God is always in control of every situation, the disciples arrive only after Jesus has finished teaching the woman.   They see Jesus talking to the woman and they marvel at His kindness and humility  in talking to her for she was not only a woman but a Samaritan as well.  They did not dare to ask Him any questions because they were in awe and veneration of Him and they recognized the difference in rank of disciple and Master.   St. Chrysostom says that on matters regarding themselves they had no hesitation in questioning Him but this was not something that concerned them. 

The impact that Jesus made on the woman was so forceful that she is almost turned into a disciple according to Origen.  She leaves her water jug behind which is a symbol of giving up the things of the world for the things of the spirit.  St. Chrysostom compares the leaving of the water jug behind to the leaving of the nets by the Apostles when Jesus called them to follow Him.  She now begins the work of an Evangelist by calling not one person but a whole city.  Saying, “Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?  Origen says that she who had five husbands and was living with a sixth finally gives them all up for a seventh.  She is converted to chastity.  Her shame does not prevent her from spreading the good news.  The divine flame has been kindled and nothing will prevent her from spreading the fire of His love.  She tells them what God has done for her and  invites them  to go and see for themselves and experience what she has experienced by a personal encounter with Him. 

God has led her by degrees into the fullness of truth and she in turn does the same in her preaching of Christ.  St. Chrysostom says that she does not say come and believe it is easier to say,  come, see a man.  She invites them to see for themselves and make the same journey of discovery that she did.  Had she said, Come and meet Christ they might have refused but she awakens their interest by saying,  could this not be the Christ? St Augustine says that it is important not to overlook the fact that she leaves her water jar behind,  for it signifies the love of the world and mans concupiscence to sin.  It is this jar from which we draw from the dark depths of the well.  In leaving the jar she parts company with her former way of life which  was filled with worldly desires.  He advises all who wish to preach the Gospel to learn that we have to first leave our water jars at the well. 

The disciples returned after buying food and they beg Jesus to eat – they themselves were hungry and they assumed that Jesus was as famished as they were.  St. Chrysostom  says that they beg Him to eat out of love and tenderness for their Master.  And Origen comments that the Apostles thought it was a good time to dine since the woman had departed to the city and they could have their meal by themselves. They had no way of knowing what Jesus knew, that the Samaritans were on their way to see Him and so He says to His disciples, I have food that you know not of.  Jesus calls the salvation of men His food indicating His great desire that we should be saved.  The disciples are puzzled and wonder if someone has already given Him something to eat.

Here Theophylis makes an interesting observation.  He says from this we can infer that our Lord was accustomed to receiving food from others, when it was offered Him.  In this way He showed that poverty is not something to be ashamed of and neither the support of others should be considered a disgrace. From this verse we also learn that it is proper and necessary for us to support those who work for the Church – our priests and Bishops etc., in order that they are free from all other cares, and they may attend with freedom to the ministry of the word.

Jesus makes plain to His disciples that His food is to do the will of His Father.  Origen says that in the Father and the Son there are not two separate wills but only one same will in both.  Jesus is capable of accomplishing the whole will of the Father. 

Souls, Origen says, differ in their capacity for nourishment, some need more and others less.  It is so too in the case of the quality of food; the same nourishment of words and thoughts does not suit all. New born infants need the milk of the word; but those who are spiritually mature need solid food. Thus Jesus is able to say, “I have food to eat of which you know nothing about.” Jn 6:32.

Jesus goes on to tell to His disciples, in verse 35-38  that harvest time can be predicted by just looking at the fields.  If they are white then it is time for reaping.  Although sowing is more difficult than reaping both rejoice the reaper and the sower for both work for the coming of the Kingdom.  The sower, Chrysostom says, are the Prophets and the reapers are the Apostles.

Jesus who knows all things is aware that the entire Samaritan village is coming to meet Him. They have believed the witness of the Samaritan woman and are about to receive a visitation from God. They are all going to be converted that is why He says, lift up your eyes and look at the fields they are white and ready harvest. These souls are ready to receive the word.

Jesus always used powerful images instead of ordinary words in order that they would give His words  greater vividness and power.  It helped to make His teaching more pleasant and to enable the message to sink deeper into their memories. 

Augustine says that the reapers went where the Prophets had preached. The account of the labors of the Prophets all contain the prophecy of Christ.

According to Chrysostom the more laborious part of the work was laid on the Prophets, viz. the sowing of the seed: Other men labored, and the Apostles entered into their labors. Here Christ throws light on the meaning of the old prophecies. He shows that both the Law and the Prophets, if rightly interpreted can lead men to Him; and that the Prophets too were sent by Him. Thus there is an intimate connection established between the Old Testament and the New.

Origen tells us that in many places in Holy Scripture, we are commanded to raise our eyes, in other words to raise our minds and thought to God for they often tend to cling obstinately to the things of the world. Those who indulge their passions, and live carnally find it difficult if not impossible to raise their hearts and minds to spiritual things.  It is only possible to see the white of the harvest when the Word of God comes to light up and make fruitful the fields of Scripture. We lift up our eyes, and see the whole universe laid open to the light and brightness of truth.

In the seed was present the whole dispensation of the divine mystery which is now revealed, what was first hidden in darkness; is now brought into the light of day.  As long as men were not ready for the advent of the Word, the fields were not yet white to their eyes, i.e. the legal and prophetical Scriptures were shut up. Moses and the Prophets, who preceded the coming of Christ, were the sowers of this seed; the Apostles who came after Christ and saw His glory were the reapers. They reaped and gathered into barns the deep meaning which lay hid under the prophetic writings.  Moses and Elias, the sowers, rejoiced with the reapers Peter, James, and John, when they saw the glory of the Son of God at the Transfiguration. One could also interpret in one sows and another reaps, those who live under the Law, and those who live under the Gospel. For these may both rejoice together, inasmuch as the same end is laid up for them by one God, through one Christ, in one Holy Spirit.

After this conversation with the disciples, Scripture takes us back to the Samaritans of that town  who had believed in the testimony of the woman, and came to see Jesus,

Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Jesus, for the woman testified saying, He told me all that ever I did. They considered that the woman would never of her own accord have conceived such admiration for one Who had reproved her offenses, unless He were really some great and wonderful person. And thus relying solely on the testimony of the woman, without any other evidence, they went out to beseech Christ to stay with them: When the Samaritans came to Him, they begged Him to stay with them.

The Jews witnessed His miracles and they tried in every way to get rid of His presence. Such is the power of malice, envy, arrogance and conceit, that obstinate vice which poisons even goodness itself. The Samaritans however wish to keep Him with them, He would not consent, but only stayed with them for two days.

Origen comments that it is natural to ask, why our Savior stays with the Samaritans, when He had expressly commanded His disciples not to enter into any city of the Samaritans. But we must explain this mystically. To go the way of the Gentiles, is to be imbued with Gentile doctrine; to go into a city of the Samaritans, is to admit the doctrines of those who believe the Scriptures, but interpret them heretically. But when men have given up their own doctrines, and come to Jesus, it is lawful to stay with them.

According to St. Chrysostom, the Jews refused to believe in spite of the many miracles they witnessed Jesus perform, while the Samaritans exhibited great faith, even before a single miracle was wrought.  As verse 41 says, “And many more believed because of His own word.”  Also Chrysostom points to a very interesting fact.  The Evangelists do not tell us what our Lord’s words to the Samaritans were.  This is a clear indication of what John the Evangelist says when he wrote in his Gospel that the there were many things that our Lord said and did but they are not recorded for if all the things He said and did were written down the world could not contain them.

The result of God’s word here in this Samaritan town was that the whole city was convinced of who Christ was.  The Jews however heard the Word but were not convinced therefore the Evangelists were obliged to tell us His words, in order that we might note the indifference on the part of those who heard and their fault noted for the error lay with the indifference of the hearers and not to any defect in the preacher. Finally, once they Samaritans have become Christ's disciples, they dismiss their first instructor, the Samaritan woman saying to her, “Now we believe not because of your saying: for we have heard Him.”