.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hilarious Sr. Maria Hilarion - An Interview by Rev. Fr. Girish Santiago


Funeral at St. Mary's Church - Nadiad



Please click the below given link for the more Funeral photos







Hilarious Sr. Maria Hilarion

Rev. Fr. Girish with Sr. Maria Hilarion
Introduction

As I heard about the sad news about the death of Rev. Sr. Maria Hilarion from Sr. Madhu Macwan of Kalol St. Anne’s Superior, I only thanked God for the wonderful, cheerful and the fulfilled life of my beloved missionary mentor since 1992. This was the time I was a Jesuit Regent at Kalol St. Xavier’s and I used to visit Sr. Maria regularly for my spiritual and apostolic conversation at Unteshwari Sandhya Vishram - a Home for the aged.  As a religious Sister she was like a mother and a grandmother to me till her last days of her life.

At least once a year regularly I was visiting her in Nadiad and she was very regular calling me over the phone and she would freely talk to me. One and half year back she came specially to Unteshwari and was visiting all of us joyfully and with a saintly smile she was spreading God’s loving fragrance in the vicinity of Unteshwari Tirthadham – a mission centre where she toiled to strengthen the faith of the early Christians - Isupanthis of this region. Oh, she was joyful and we were joyful to meet each other and experienced the true meaning of JOYFUL VISITATION!

In such a visit, I requested her to share about her life. Though initially she was hesitant, later she said,”Father Girish, since you ask me, I am ready to share. But, no need to write about me while I am living.” Having said this I could experience her tears falling on my office table at Unteshwari. She waited for a while then she held my hands saying: “You are my special Priest. So, you can ask me now!”  Yes. We loved each other. Ours was a barrier free love!

Seeing such an emotional environment I just wiped the fallen tears and said, “We value your sweat and tears for this North Gujarat Mission. You will be ever remembered by all of us and come to bless us with your physical presence when we shall start celebrating the Golden Jubilee of our North Gujarat Mission from June 19, 2014 onwards for a year.” Well, man proposes and God disposes! That’s reality of life. Now, let me share the conversation which we had. Our conversation was very much bilingual – English and Gujarati. Read and Relish this Hilarious Maria Hilarion, the Zealous Missionary and Experienced Educator!

 Could you share about you and your family?

My name is Maria. This was my Baptismal name. I was born on 7.2.1925 at Keriavi, my mother’s village (mosal), six kilometres away from Nadiad towards Petlad. My Father was Hilarion Christian  and his original name was Mangalbhai. My mother was Agnesben and her original name was Surajben.  My maternal grandfather was Mathurbhai. He was an agriculturist and belonged to Salvation Army. He was very particular about educating his girl child Surajben and got her educated till 5th standard at that time!
We all lived initially at Sanandia Vas in Nadiad. Very interestingly our ancestors left Sanand due to the flood during the British rule and got settled in Nadiad. This is how we got settled at this place and lived for some years in Nadiad.

Let me share about my brothers and sisters in order.

NO
Name
Particulars
1
Maria
Myself
2
Joseph
Younger brother; lived in Gomtipur; Expired
3
Thomas
Younger brother; lived in Bhavnagar; Expired
4
Ignas
Younger brother; at the age of 2 he died
5
Martha
Younger sister; at the age of 4 she died
6
John
Younger brother; at the age of 6 months died
7
Martha
Youngest sister; lives in Meghaninagar, Ahmedabad.

Note: “Except Martha and Maria all have gone to eternal Father.” said smilingly Sr. Maria.

About my Education and Profession 

 Standard
Place of education / profession
Remarks
1st to 3rd
In Kanajari Boriyavi

4th to 5th
In Vadtal
My father was a teacher here
6th to 7th
In Anand FC convent school
By now I was 16 years old
PTC
Maha Laxmi training college – Govt.; Ahmedabad
PTC for three years; stayed in the govt. Hostel; My room partner was Ms. Pilamai, an aged Parsi widow; an understanding lady. Two LD nuns: Sr. Stanislaus and Sr. Alvisha were next to my room; they were one year junior to me. Sr. Stanislaus became very good friend of mine.
Every morning at 4 o’clock the hostel superintendent Ms. Baptista, a catholic and I  regularly went for Mass to the Mirzapur Church.
For holidays I never went home. Instead I went to Mount Carmel AC convent. Met Sr. Silia, AC; she cared for me at the same time she formed me to fall in love for Jesus; not with any young boys. I laboured for Jesus in the chapel of theirs.  Indeed it was a tough training by the AC nuns; I can never forget their professional training. I value them all.
While being in the hostel I enjoyed watching cinema; reading historic novels – especially of Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi’s; read books on catholic saints; specially used visit Fr. Surya, SJ – he was the one who strengthened my vocation (by saying this she cried); Fr.Myres, SJ, St. Xavier’s school – Mirzapur Principal  too encouraged me to join the convent.
Fr. Basil Lala supported me a lot and motivated me to become a nun.
As a Teacher (Gujarati)
At Mount Carmel school, Ahmedabad
From age 20 to 33 – worked as a Gujarati language teacher; starting per month’s salary was Rs. 50/-
It was at this time Ms. Gunavanti teacher of Mount Carmel encouraged me to go for BA. Bed in Hindi.  Sr. Barbara, AC, the Principal  too was very keen on my learning.
My prayer at this time: “Lord, give me good girl friends that they may lead me to the right path” – (Isu mane sarama sari bahenpani apjo. Jethi mane sara sanmarge dore)

As a Teacher (Gujarati, Hindi, Social Study – samajvidhya)
In St. Anne school, Nadiad
From 1959 – 1972: From 8th – 11th std. Taught. Enjoyed teaching and stitching as a nun.
As a teacher and a pioneer
St. Anne school, Kalol – had already 1st to 4th.
From 1973 I was in Kalol.
I was the one who got the permission to start 5th.
Here I always served as a class teacher of each standard.
At this time we were: Srs. Doloros, Maria Ignacia, Antonia and myself lived in Kalol and moved to Unteshwari and Deesa. During this period Fr. Herero, SJ was my spiritual director to whom i made my confession every 15 days.
I taught in the school; then visited villages; taught catechism for the local catechumens; specially to the Majirana kids, Ravals and Thakors ; We worked closely with the Jesuit Frs. M.D. Garriz, Kolady and Robert.
We were very much assisted by the lay leaders like Raval Babaldass of Nardipur and Badaraji Majirana of Deesa.
We lived a simple life. We really smelt the smell of our flock. We were happy in our missionary works. People used long for our visits. Day time with women – taught them to read and write; also stitching; Evening taught the men to live a meaningful life and to grow in the love of Jesus.
Retired life at Unteshwari and later in Nadiad
At Unteshwari Sandhya Vishram; later in Matruchhaya.
Sr. Pushpa Paul as  a Provincial asked me to go to Unteshwari and live a retired life. But, I in my mine neither got retired nor tired. I continued to visit people and prepare them to live a faith-filled life in Jesus and Mary.
In Nadia I enjoyed visiting the neighbourhood Vaghri children and taught them to read and write. Teaching was my mission. I continue to enjoy till the end.
I thank my dad for educating me and showing the importance of girl child even at that time. He ever supported me in my education. 
  

2.       When did you feel like becoming the Religious Sister?

When I was studying in FC convent at Anand I felt like joining. But I did not know in which convent. Gradually I became aware of FC, LD and later AC. At my 34th age, I felt the call of God strongly. One thing was very clear. I told my brother Joseph, some sisters have come to Nadiad. Take me to this convent. I want to join in a convent where I do not know anyone.
Having understood my words, my brother took me to Nadiad and explained about my vocation to the Sisters of Charity of St. Anne (SchSA). Having listened to my brother and myself they uttered: “Ok. We shall take her. We are also looking for a PTC finished person for we want to start std 5th, for which we require such a teacher”. So, they took me and made me to wear the dress of a postulant for six months and immediately made me to join the novitiate. Within a year I became a religious St. Anne nun. While being in the novitiate I was also teaching in the school. Because of which sisters got the permission to start the 5th. May be everything was God’s plan. All for God’s greater glory! I simply obeyed and pronounced my first vows in the year 1959. I was a teacher from the beginning in the Congregation. May be this was God’s will for me! I accepted it JOYFULLY!

3.       What do you say as a Missionary about the Church of North Gujarat? 

·         I feel proud of the Church of North Gujarat. In spite of various difficulties, the Church was planted 50 years back and I am really happy to see the growing Church. My humble appreciation to Garriz Bapu for the real breakthrough among the caste Hindus of North Gujarat.  

·         People accepted us fully as Christian missionaries and accepted Jesus as their Guru – Master. Happy to see the slow and steady church in North Gujarat. It is God’s work. So, God will take care. We must continue trusting in the Lord.

·         Fr. Garriz somehow from the beginning never liked me. He insulted me in public on my first visit itself in the year 1973 with Sr. Doloros at Unteshwari (By saying this again her eyes were full of tears). Still, I humbly controlled and surrendered myself to God and walked joyfully in the midst of the people. For I was sent to do God’s will not any human’s will! I did strongly experience initially the internal persecution in this region. That hindered our healthy growth in the mission.

After few years he asked me pardon and started appreciating my unassuming good works. I took it well and did everything as part of God’s greater glory!

·         In all these, my mission mantra has been: “ Isu, hu tane chahun chhun; karan ke te mane pahela chahi chhe” – Jesus, I love you. Because, you have loved me first.

·         I come from a Vanakar family. But, we never did anything of weaving for the past seven generations. Instead, we have been always very faithful in the Faith formation of people in Christian faith. What we have experienced, we continue to share such experience with all kinds of people in our Faith journey.  

·         I feel content with the missionary work of mine in this region. I used to literally pull Mrs. Champaben Kantibhai Raval of Kalol for various singing, dancing and praying programme. I am so glad to see her son Kamlesh as a Jesuit Priest from this region. Also I am very happy to see our Sister Surya Bhavsang of Unteshwari flourishing. All these are fruits of our labour as missionaries of North Gujarat. Thanks be to God!

·         I am so glad to relate with you Fr. Girish. I have a very respectable love for you as a Priest of North Gujarat. I know you for many years. I just appreciate your love for the people of all kinds. That attracts me most and I am glad to see your smiling face without any anger. Say always: “Isu, tara vina mane kashunj joytu nathi – Jesus, you alone is enough. I do not need anything!”

4.       How do you see the present set of Sisters in your Congregation and what would be your message for them?
·         These days ‘bindas’ attitude; each one would like to do what each one wants and likes; not what God wants or likes us to do through the community discernment. Lot of individualism is gripping in. We need to grow in the WE feeling of our Congregation.  
·         Missionary zest needs to be regained. Be available and be always enthusiastic in doing everything for God and His people. Never stop visiting people. Share all that we have with the people. Be at their side. They will be at our side at an appropriate time.
·         We need to pray for Fathers, Sisters and Collaborators. 
·         Fall in love and Stay in Love with JESUS and JESUS alone!


Conclusion

Sr. Maria Hilarion Christian is no more with us physically. But, she lives very much spiritually in the midst of our Christian and non-Christian people. Her grace-filled long life itself is a testimony to the joyful submission to the mission activities of God. Her committed missionary life itself is the message to many of us to commit totally for a noble cause without counting the cost! May the cheerful Maria REST IN PEACE!

Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ

Unteshwari Sammilitalayam
2 Read More »

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

RIP: Sr. Maria Hilarion Otta Parmar

અવસાન  નોધ 

સંત આન્ના મંડળના પીઢ સાધ્વી મારિયા હિલેરીયન ઓત્તા પરમારનું  
આજે માતૃછાયા-નડિયાદ ખાતે નિધન.  

Sad News

Sr. Maria Hilarion Otta Parmar

Born : 07/02/1925

Died : 22/04/2014 at Matruchaya - Nadiad

She had been zealous missionary and a very good teacher.


Funeral Mass
Date: 23-April-2014
Time: 10:00 am
Place: St. Mary's Church - Nadiad


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday and Easter Saunday Reflection


 CELEBRATING EASTER

José Enrique Ruiz de Galarreta S.J.


“Pasch” is the Hebrew Word for “passage”. When the Israelites used to celebrate the Pasch they would commemorate the Passage through the Red Sea, when the Lord freed them from the slavery of Egypt.

We have inherited the name and something of the concept: we are celebrating the Pasch of Jesus: the passage of Jesus from death to life, from darkness to light. We are also celebrating our own “passage”: we have emerged from the darkness, we are in the light.

So Easter Sunday is the necessary crowning event of Holy Week. If we were to end with Good Friday, we would leave off without ending the adventure of Jesus and without proclaiming the definitive event of our faith: Jesus did not end his life on the cross and neither does our life end in darkness. The life and death of Jesus are the way to victory. Our life too. The life of Jesus, just as ours, passes through sin, through evil, through darkness, through death... but they only pass through, they move towards the light, fullness, triumph.

So we have the name of PASCH, the passage, and we celebrate this night, the fact that we passed from a life without meaning and hope,  dark and destined for death, to a life of sons, luminous and much more fully human.

Since many centuries, Christians celebrated this day (this night) as THE FEAST OF FEASTS, the central feast of the whole year; and , in it, the heart of the faith: THE NEW LIFE.

Our celebrations always have two directions: we celebrate something that happened and something that continues happening. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and we celebrate our resurrection: the definitive life of Jesus  and our new life, life of sons.

The followers of Jesus would celebrate all this with a VIGIL : by spending the night in a vigil, watching as if hoping for something to happen; right through the night they read stories and words of Jesus, prayed and sang hymns together; and at daybreak, with the light of dawn, they would celebrate the Eucharist in remembrance of the Risen Jesus.

We do something similar; even though we do not spend the whole night in prayer, we gather together at night and we join in a VIGIL, a night watch of readings and prayer ending with the Eucharist.


Our celebration has two basic parts:

The Paschal Vigil also has two parts:

·         The Liturgy of Light.
·         The Eucharist, which includes the liturgy of Water.


THE PASCHAL VIGIL


God is stronger than death.

A “VIGIL” is a night on watch, on vigil, waiting for the dawn on which Christ rises. The Church watches in prayer till the moment the sun rises. It is a symbol of life, night till the appearance of the light, Christ. Our vigil is the remains of the old one: a long night of prayer till at dawn the eucharist  of the Resurrection is celebrated.  In these brief notes we will pay attention to  two strongly linked aspects of our celebration: the symbols and the readings.



1.       THE SYMBOLS

The first symbol used is the vigil itself; to spend the night praying waiting for Christ, the light.

The second symbol is the light. The dawn, the spendor of the Risen Body (remember the Transfiguration) and the way John presents Jesus: “while I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” The whole theology of John revolves around light and darkness. This is the night of Light, of the victory over death and over sin.

Light is presented in the paschal candle,  which  involves another symbolism very ancient, simple and profound. The candle is consumed to illumine others. It is wholly there to provide  light for others and is consumed in the process. It is a perfect symbol of Christ. Our little candles are all the same size, but receive their light from Him.  It is the only value the whole  candle has, and of the whole life of a Christian: to be consumed in order to give light to others. 

The celebration, therefore, begins in darkness. Suddenly at one end of the church shines a light and a voice cries: the light of Christ! To which we all respond: thanks be to God!. Then the candle moves towards the altar and as it advances we go on lighting our small candles till the whole church shines with the light of Christ.

The lights having been lit, the Easter proclamation is sung, a long song of praise in which a meaning is given to the night, that brings together many of the signs of the Old Testament, of Genesis, of the Exodus...understanding them as an announcement of the Resurrection.

In all these prayers are fused together aspects of the victory of Christ and our own victory over death and sin: not because they do not exist , but because they have no power. We now know what it means to die, we now know that sin is our cross and that God is with us to overcome it...


The third symbol is water. This symbol is taken up again when, after the liturgy of the Word, the baptismal liturgy is celebrated. It is kept on this night because it is the Resurrection of the First Born; behind him  we all go. And all those of us  who know him and accept him are the Church. That is why we celebrate our entrance into the Church through Baptism, our incorporation into the light, our participation in the New Life of Christ.

Water, a very rich symbol,  has many meanings. In the first place, water means cleanliness. We are cleansed from our sins. We celebrate forgiveness, for God is water always ready to cleanse. Secondly, water is fertility. We are celebrating Life. Jesus is life. We can say after we have known Jesus “this is life”, and eternal life, while the life of human beings without Jesus is drought and sterility. Thirdly, the symbol “coming out of the water” was used in the Church  to mean “escaping from death”  as the people of Israel in the Red Sea, even though this symbol has been falling into disuse.


But Baptism is not only a matter  of symbols. It is our acceptance, our pact with God. He comes to us and we go to Him. We form a communion with God, we join the Church, we form part of the Body of Christ. That is why it is a community celebration. The Church celebrated its birth, its incorporation to life, as the Body.  In Baptism we enter the community of believers; that is why we make a  solemn proclamation of our faith when we recite the Creed. In Baptism we make a  pact with Jesus and with the Church, the community of those who follow Jesus; that is why we will renew today the promises we made in Baptism, renouncing the world, its  values and criteria, to opt for the values and criteria of Jesus.


THE READINGS

The normal Sunday readings for the Eucharistic celebration are increased considerably. It was to fill the night with readings and prayers. Of all those, there remain seven readings (of which only three are read).

They are: reading of the Creation (Genesis, 1 and 2), the Sacrifice of Abraham (Genesis 22), the passage through the Red Sea (Exodus, 14-15), as remembrance of God’s work of liberation of his people. Then there are four readings from the prophets (two of Isaiah, one of Baruch and the other of Ezekiel), all of which present the same idea, God the Savior, in many symbols and different   ways of formulating it. Let us take only the second book of Isaiah as an example of the spirit of all of them.

The Readings, even though all seven may be read, are usually reduced to three. They are the following:

First reading: from the Book of Genesis: “God’s Dream”

(A religious interpretation of the origin of all beings with the use of the science of the times – so imperfect – to explain “the meaning of everything”, and above all, the meaning of the human being).

“God made man in his image, in his own image he created him, male and female he created them...”




THE FIRST MESSAGE: God is the source of life. All life comes from God. It is he who begins the adventure of human beings, so that they will live and increase and arrive at being fully human, as images, as children of God.

THE SECOND READING: FROM THE BOOK OF EXODUS: “WITH GOD, FREEDOM.”

(The Hebrews escaped from Egypt “by a miracle”. When they continued to celebrate the anniversary of that terrible night on which they were about to perish, they celebrated above all “The powerful hand of God , which got them out of slavery and brought them through the desert on the road to the fatherland.”

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of slavery in Egypt. You shall not have any other God.”


THE SECOND MESSAGE: Without God, slavery: slaves of the world, of sin, of death, of vulgarity... With God we can journey: we can conquer the sea, the night, enemy armies... With God, we can.


THE THIRD READING: From the Prophet Isaiah: “God, source of life.”

(A  hymn, exalted, brilliant, inspired. A man who lived two thousand four hundred years ago understood God very well. In his words we seem to hear Jesus himself):  (All you thirsty...)

And Jesus said:

“Whoever is thirsty, let him come to me and drink: there will be born within him a fountain of living water.)

THIRD MESSAGE: Like the rain, gratuitous, fertile, abundant, which makes the desert green, refreshes, cleans...That is who God is. Look at everyday life: it is a desert, not worth much, it is not fertile, it is boring...Put God in the midst...he is like a fountain in the desert!

It is a magnificent invitation to life, to abundance, to light, to fertility, founded on the Word of God which constantly waters, sows seed for our nourishment, which rises from us from our foundation in things of the earth  to those of the Spirit. In this reading are summarized the concepts of the others.  God, the creator of life, savior from the deluge of sin, liberator from slavery in Egypt, become light, water and seed of life: here all the symbols of the resurrection are brought together, the fullness of life offered by God.

After finishing the readings, the Eucharist continues. The Gloria, omitted during Lent, is sung. Then follow the readings proper to the Eucharist of the Sunday which are the following:


THE READINGS OF THE EUCHARIST

THE LETTER OF ST. PAUL TO THE ROMANS (6:3-11)


Themes and Contexts
The letter to the Romans

Paul here introduces a new language to express the same ideas: buried with Christ, dead to the world, what we were, sinners, we have crucified... we are already something new,  a new creature, risen. Baptism is the sacrament of all this. And the final phrase as a summary of all that we are celebrating:
      “So too you consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

We are shown that this is not only a celebration of something that happened, but of something that is happening, because this is our life, to journey through life, every day, in this way; to rise every day to the new life of Jesus.

Like many texts of Paul, it’s a theology that seems complicated to us, because he uses many symbols and he goes on changing their meaning from one paragraph to the next. But the basic message is clear. Sin is death: Jesus is Life, The Risen Jesus is supremely ALIVE,  free of death and of sin. We, through baptism,  unite ourselves to him, we wish to live a life free from sin, a new life. And this is true life, free of meaninglessness, stronger, and more definitive. It’s a text that sounds much like a hymn, of an enthusiastic profession of faith in Jesus.




THE GOSPEL OF MARK

Here we are shown in the first verses, the most historical part of the accounts of the resurrection: the confusion of the women faced with the empty sepulcher. Our text has omitted the final verses, which are very meaningful (verse 8):

“The women emerged fleeing from the sepulcher for a great fear had taken hold of them, and they said not a word to anyone.”

This was followed by the message of the resurrection given by a messenger: Do not look for Jesus in the sepulcher with the dead: he is alive; you will meet him in Galilee.


REFLECTION

The message of the Resurrection is the crowning of the Good News of the Kingdom. The announcement begins at Christmas with the same symbols: light in the midst of the night; Jesus, who will free the people from their sins. Today the message reaches its peak with the light emerging from  the night, Jesus stronger than death and sin through the power of the Spirit.

The resurrection of Jesus was not a triumphant spectacle that could be seen with the eyes. No one was a witness of the fact of the resurrection. The witnesses will be witnesses of Jesus, that he is alive and that he is Lord. Faith in Jesus is above all faith in the crucified one, in that neither death nor sin could prevail over him. The witnesses are witnesses , above all, because they are witnesses of the power of God, that God was with Him.

But the letter of St. Paul provides the most important dimension for us. We are not dealing at all with the resurrection of one of us, although it be the First, the one who is full of the Spirit. We are dealing with the resurrection of all. The power of the Spirit makes Jesus alive and Lord in spite of the cross and of death. The same power of the Spirit makes our life new, stronger than death and sin.



The Resurrection is the feast of Liberation:  we have been liberated from fear; we do not fear either death or sin. We do not fear death because we have seen in Jesus that it does not end our life. We do not fear sin , because we have seen that Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them, and we have understood that we count with the power of God, for he is our doctor. And, added to all this, we do not fear God, because Jesus has destroyed the implacable judge and has revealed the Father, whose love we have known precisely in Jesus crucified. But we have been freed also of the world and its seductions: we have seen in Jesus a “resurrected” way of life that serves only the Kingdom, that is, the sons; we have seen in Jesus man freed by the Spirit: freed from greed, vanity, pride, vengefulness, and the need for pleasure...We feel like new creatures, the previous life, enslaved to the world and its seduction, seems to us of interest to those seeking death. And we know that our way of life is the path to full resurrection, fulfilled in our first born and which is being realized in us.

The Eucharist on this night more than ever, is prophetic: it is a meeting of risen ones who are not yet completely so, but who in anticipation celebrate still on the way , the final Banquet of all the resurrected ones in the house of the Father. In this Eucharist at late hours of the night we sense the echo of the words of Jesus in his farewell supper : “I will no more drink of the fruit of the vine until I drink it with you in the Kingdom of my Father.”

As a final consideration, more obvious and simple, but very meaningful: the first witnesses, those charged with taking the message to the disciples, are the women and among them, with special relevance, Mary Magdalene, “from whom Jesus had ejected seven demons.” And the message is meant for the disciples, with Peter specially mentioned, the cowardly boaster who denied Jesus. The risen Jesus is the same: the one who saves from sin, the one who is faithful to his friends, and takes into account their failings, the one who values above all the love of those who follow him.

The Gospel according to Matthew (28, 1-10)


Water/ Baptism

Easter night was the time when the catechumens were incorporated into the Church, received baptism and were admitted into the community. It was done at this time after the readings, because until this day they could be present at the
readings, but would leave the gathering when the Act of Thanksgiving (the Eucharistic celebration) began. Now they cross that threshold and are admitted to the Supper of the Lord, the most intimate act of the celebration of Christians. This entrance door is Baptism.

This night, before beginning the Eucharist, we renew the memoy of our Baptism. We do it with the symbol of water.

OUR BAPTISM

One day, without our realizing it , they put us in the Church, they made us companions of the followers of Jesus. It’s the best thing that happened to us in life. In the church we have known Jesus, in the church we have received the gospels, and we have learnt to pray the way Jesus taught us.

This needs to be celebrated!

We do it now, when we are celebrating the Risen Jesus. We are also celebrating our birth to a different, new, better life of being in the Church, of following Jesus.

WATER

The sea was for the Israelites a danger of death: all of them were on the point of dying. God saved them from the Sea.

Thirst was for Israel a danger of death in the desert. God helped them find water in order to live.

Drought brings about death. Rain is life. Is there anything better than a bath when you return tired and dirty? You come out new

THESE ARE THE FOUR SYMBOLS OF WATER WE FIND IN BAPTISM:

EMERGING FROM DEATH

QUENCHING THIRST

HAVING A PRODUCTIVE LIFE

REMAINING CLEAN

When they baptized us they put us in contact with Jesus, who is for our lives the best water. They launched us on the venture of giving meaning and fruitfulness to our lives by “drinking from Jesus”.

On this night of Water, they will invite us to “RENEW THE PROMISES OF BAPTISM”, that is, to connect with Jesus again, the choose him again, so that our lives are lives, so that they may be clean and productive.

At that time we will  profess our faith: it is the best time of the year to say together, aloud, with joy:

     I BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER  ALMIGHTY,
   
     I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD,

     I BELIEVE IN THE SPIRIT,

     I BELIEVE IN LIFE.


FOR OUR PRAYER

All this is a CELEBRATION, a feast.  “We celebrate” , “have a feast”, about an important event with joy. So much the better is the celebration   the more important is for us what we celebrate. Hence, what we bring to the celebration, our  faith, is what makes it important, and what renews and regenerates our faith as we celebrate it in the Church.

The symbols, the candles, the water, the night, the readings, the stories, will be carriers of grace in the measure in which we fill them with content. If we have deep within us the joy of being in a resurrected life, faith in the Liberating Spirit, trust in Jesus... our Easter Vigil will be a feast, it will fill with joy and strength our own spirit, we will feel truly risen with Him.


COMMUNION WITH THE  RISEN ONE

Today’s Eucharist – more than ever today’s Eucharist – is a feast.

We sing, we celebrate, we thank, because there is light, because there is water, because there is life. If all our Eucharistic celebrations are Acts of Thanksgiving, the one of today must be intensely so.

And we receive Communion: on Good Friday we had communion with Jesus, showing that we accepted him, were united to him and to all those crucified in the world. Today we receive Jesus in communion manifesting above all , our hope. We commune with the Risen One, feel him as “the first to rise again.” We agree to live the lives of risen ones: I want all Jesus offers, I accept life the way he proposes it, I accept the mission he offers, I will once again be fired up by him, nourished by him, will drink of his spirit, and in this way I can journey with him.

With his light, his water, his bread, I can say, from the heart:


THIS INDEED IS LIFE!

BBN Archive

Join BBN Mailing List

Name

Email *

Message *

Recent Comments