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Message from the Priests’ Desks


      As we move forward as a parish in this Year of the Lord 2018, let us allow the words of the Holy Father to reverberate in our hearts in inviting the church to be a ‘field hospital’; a temporary yet an immediate point of reference for those who are with injury. We would like the parish to trudge in the similar path that the Holy Father has paved before us.


      As per the fruit of our discernment last year, SELFLESS SERVICE and COMPASSION, these have been sensed to be the focus for the year 2018. In reflecting further, allow us to lead you into visualising a capsule which is often prescribed in a field hospital. Capsules are made in alternatives to tablets when the drugs they contain cannot be compacted into a tablet, thus it eases the swallowing and digesting process. Selfless Service is the capsule that contains Compassion as its drug. The ideal way of gauging a genuine compassion is by an explicit selfless service:


“There is no greater love than laying down one’s life for one’s friend” (John 15:13)


      According to biblical understanding, Compassion is an instinctual and instantaneous drive within us compelling us to respond (Selfless Service) in a certain way in order to feed the witnessed reality with some goodness.


“When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and he had compassion for them and cured the sick.” (Matthew 14:14)


      Jesus was not only driven by a feeling of compassion but he concretely acted upon it by proper works of mercy at the expense of laying down his own life. Hence, this becomes the Christian definition of altruism e.g. Compassion that propels Selfless Service!   


      Compassion without Selfless Service remains an idea, a moral-precept or at worst a theological jargon. We are convinced that futility is the only similarity between these three. As the Holy Father invites us in Amoris Laetitia 36, we need a healthy dose of self-criticism as we have presented compassion in such an idealized way too far beyond the grasp of peasants. Have I selflessly reached out to the one who met with an accident by the roadside? Have I selflessly tried to lessen the recruitment of young people for drug businesses near my residence? Have I given up my time for someone who is need of it the most? Have I selflessly done anything to prevent the young people from getting involved in gangsterism? As Christians, these are the very fundamental questions we need to deal with prior to proceeding to a classroom understanding of compassion.


      In like manner, Selfless Service without Compassion is a sheer social activism without Christ. A saying attributed to Bernard Clairvaux (after some revision) best captures the doublet above:  


“The Road to Hell is paved with all the Good Intentions”


      Many of you have given up so much in life in order to promote the growth of the church. We have seen how some of you have gone the extra mile in spending your own money, time and resources in order to ensure that the poor and marginalized are given their due. We have also known some of you who have to juggle between serving the church, your own family and your work yet compromising neither. Hats-off also to some of you whose interest lies in championing social justice by speaking up for the sake of others in the Parish Assembly, Parish Leaders Formation (PLF), BEC gathering or other meetings. Our desire for the poor and service-mindedness alone do not suffice to make us Christians. Our desire to assist the poor could be due to our anger against others who are deaf towards the poor or our social-justice championing attitude could be due to our insecurity or fear of losing a leadership seat in the church.  So, we invite you toss the coin so that we would be able to see the other side of Christianity; Christ. The Holy Father constantly invites us to reflect our lives by asking the famous Ignatian question, “What would Christ do if he is in my place?” The answer to this question is the recipe to Selfless Service. Again, Christianity is not about Selfless Service alone but it is about Selfless Service that is fanned by Compassion. 


      As we move on together as a parish to bring about a concrete change in the lives of people, we ought to bear the wisdom-torch of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that shines to enlighten us with the Christian understanding of change. It is not a political change as we may often wish, it is not even an economic change but it is a complete metamorphosis facilitated by the Resurrected Jesus.  So, it is our duty as Christians to insert Jesus in everything we think, we say or and we do if we desire true change or true metamorphosis. And, it is only possible if we admit that Selfless Service is Compassion.


Rev. Fr. Robert Daniel & Rev. Fr. Simon Anand