Justification, Redemption, Propitiation

Justification, Redemption, Propitiation – Thursday, 28th week in ordinary time – Romans 3:21-30

So far, Paul has shown us how the very condition of human beings without the Gospel calls forth God’s anger on both the Jew and Gentile. In this section he will show that a new period in human history begins with the coming of Jesus Christ. This section of verses 21-30 are the most important part of Romans which formulates the core of Paul’s good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 28 of this text is also the verse which Luther added the words “ONLY” into his translation of the Bible, making this teaching a major reformation issue.

This passage and much of Romans for that matter, reveals an ethnic conflict within the Christian community in Rome (cf. Romans 14:1-15:6).Remember, Paul is addressing a mixed Church of Jews and Gentiles. By the year 54 AD, many of the Jewish Christians have returned to Rome from exile imposed by the Emperor Claudius who has now passed away. They return to find the Gentile Christians now in charge of the Church in Rome and having made some changes to dietary and calendric dates.

There is obviously some tension between the two groups. How should non-Jewish believers relate to the religious traditions of Israel? Can they become linked to the “one body in Christ” if they do not have the same religious sensibilities as others within the community? Paul’s letter addressed this ethnic conflict, which was also a religious one.

Today’s text begins with the words “but now”. These words provide the most glorious transition from the judgment of Romans 3:20 to the justification of Romans 3:21. It marks a new era that is inaugurated, a new covenant that has begun. An era which supersedes the law, circumcision and the promises . It speaks of the newness of God’s work in Jesus Christ – it really is a New Covenant.

For Paul, the law by itself cannot save us, but God reveals his plan of salvation by sending his son Jesus Christ. We will be now made righteousness through Jesus and this is not a novelty; Paul didn’t “invent” it. It was predicted long ago, the Old Testament said this righteousness was coming.

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28th Sunday in ordinary time – Mark – 10:17-30

There were many things going right for the rich young man in the narrative today. He was rich, he was young (Matthew’s gospel tell us so) and he was a man! That last word may sound sexist but in Palestine, that’s what went in your favour. Women would not even find a mention. And yet while everything sounds right and the narration seems to begin with pomp and joy, it fizzles out ending in a sad departure.

The rich young ruler (Luke’s gospel) has all things working for him. The problem perhaps was the superficiality in his desire to seek the truth. He wanted some ‘cool advice’ from this new rabbi on the block. A rabbi, everyone seemed to be talking about. His address, ‘good master’ is a bit unprecedented in the Bible which indicates that this greeting was effusive and obsequious. Jesus spots the fake praise right away.

‘Get on with it’ would be Jesus’ modern day reply. The flattery was evident and Jesus wanted to cut to the chase. There seems to be a sense of arrogance in this young ruler who thought that he could buy his way to heaven. You see, the problem is not rich people per se; Jesus is condemning the arrogance behind a rich person who relies on his wealth only. ‘What must I DO’, is the young rulers question; almost suggesting that his wealth could buy him a place in heaven if not that he had the power. Jesus does not respond with a ‘to do list’ to go to heaven. Jesus simply sates what the young man ought to have done.

Interestingly the young man’s claim is that he has ‘kept all these ‘from his youth. The all these being, a section of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) that Jesus mentions. But Jesus has not completed the list when he was interrupted by the young man’s boast. To his boastful claim of ‘keeping ALL these things, Jesus then adds the first and fundamental commandment. He does so in such an innocuous way that it leaves the young man shocked.

Jesus goes to the heart of the matter. The first commandment was that God alone is God and to love Him with all one’s heart and soul is the most fundamental of all the commandments. This young man had made money, his God. He worshiped his things more than his God and this was his ‘idol’ this was his sin.

Jesus’ command to sell everything and follow him was radical. For a Jew, wealth was a blessing from God and one who was blessed with wealth had an obligation to give alms to the poor. Jesus’ call to discipleship seemed to deprive this young man of his ‘God given blessing’ to wealth and the obligation to care for the poor.

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Performance not Privilege – Wednesday, 28th Week in ordinary time – Romans 2:1-11

We know that St Paul did not found the Church in Rome. Hence in writing to them he is eager to complete his mission of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles and where better to do it than in Rome, the heart of the Roman Empire. In this letter to the Romans Paul makes a great point, namely that the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (1:16). The whole purpose of the letter is to explain that all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, are guilty before God owing to sin, and that the only escape is through the free gift of God in the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ.

Chapter two begins with the word ‘therefore’. This word indicates that something is being concluded before something else is being communicated. In the last chapter Paul painted a picture of the deplorable condition of the Gentiles. Clearly in 1:20 he states that the Gentiles are “without excuse” for “though they knew God they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him but they became futile in their thinking. Therefore God gave them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity.” After his general indictment of the Gentiles, Paul shows that in spite of special revelations, the Jews enjoy no advantage in moral status before God over the Gentiles(Rom 3:1–8).

While writing his thoughts on the matter, St Paul also anticipated a whole class of people who would say “amen” to what he had said about the Gentiles in chapter two. Perhaps some of the Jewish Christians in Rome and even perhaps some of us in our homes today must be thinking, ‘how right Paul is; how terrible the world outside the Church has become, how deluded people are, perhaps even how deluded some of us used to be, before we followed Christ.’ But in saying this we also mean how righteous we are as compared to others. We wish to be set apart from the others because we believe that we are the moralist who have kept God’s word to the tee.

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My dear parishioners,

As you are aware the government has now permitted the opening of Churches from the 7th of October 2021. This is a happy day for us as it is also the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. There is a saying that I like very much; ‘where the mind goes the man follows.’ I do hope our minds are on the Lord in which case we will see ALL of you in Church in the days to come. The government advisory does not forbid those above the age of 65 and those below the age of 10 from attending mass; it discourages but does not forbid.

After having consulted certain bodies in the parish I wish to announce the following details that will help you in the days to come. The Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 7 am and 7 pm on weekdays. The Sunday obligation can be fulfilled on Saturday evening at 7 pm or on Sunday at 7 am, 8.30 am and 10 am. We will also have a mass on Sunday evening at 6 pm. Please note that the Sunday 7 am mass will be in Konkani while the Sunday 6 pm mass will be bi-lingual keeping in mind several Hindi speaking parishioners. Please note that the mass timings will be reviewed if we feel the need to increase the number of masses over the weekend.

Funeral masses will now be celebrated in Church on weekdays at 10 am or 4 pm and on Sundays at 4 pm only. Please consult the parish priest before making any announcements with regard to funerals. We are also happy that those couples desiring to be joined in Holy Matrimony may now be able to do so in Church. If the wedding mass is on a Sunday, please note that the same can only be held at 5 pm as we are leaving a slot free at 4 pm for a possible funeral and that the next mass is at 6 pm. Baptisms will now be held every Sunday at 11.30 am only. Confessions will be heard on Saturdays at 6pm and I will try my best to be available to you for confessions before every mass.

The Cardinal’s directive advices us to accommodate only 1/3rd of the seating capacity of the Church. Hence will be able to seat 150 people for any liturgical ceremony. To make things easy for everyone, please follow the instructions of the ushers strictly. I have asked the ushers to always be polite but that request must also be mutual. The ushers are here for your safety but even more the safety of all. You are obliged to listen to the ushers. We also request you to please come to Church at least 10 minutes before Mass can begin to be assured of a seat as we will be open on a first come first serve basis. Kindly observe all covid protocols in Church.

Henceforth, the parish office will be open from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 12.30 pm and from 3 pm to 6.30 pm. On Saturdays we will be open only in the morning. I am available every day in the parish office from 10 am to 1pm. However, it makes better sense to call and make an appointment. Now that the doors of our Church will be open, we will no longer be broadcasting the Sunday Mass. I want to thank those on the online mass team for the commendable job they did the last three months.

Finally, I look forward to seeing you all in Church. Let us ‘rejoice as we hear the people say; let’s go to the temple of the Lord.” (Psalm 122). See you in Church!

REVISED MASS TIMINGS

Weekday Mass

Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 7 am and 7 pm
Funeral Mass: 10 am or 4 pm

Weekend Obligation/Services/Sacraments

Saturday Mass at 7 pm
Confessions at 6 pm

Sunday Morning Masses:

7am (Konkani), 8.30 and 10 am.
Baptism: 11.30 am
Funeral Mass: 4pm
Wedding Mass: 5 pm
Sunday Evening Mass: 6 pm (bi-lingual)

Note: Mass timings will be reviewed and revised as and when there is a need to increase the number of masses over the weekend.

Fr Warner D’Souza
Parish Priest

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FLUUUSSSSSSHHHHHH………… It’s Downloaded.

“What is life so full of care, we have no time to stand and stare’’, as the words of the famous poem ‘Leisure’ by William Henry Davies goes. I guess today with the invention of the smartphone at whom we stare all day, even more so than looking at ourselves in the mirror, Mr. Davies would have to make some modifications to his poem. I am pretty sure even the Evil Queen from the story ‘Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs’ would have replaced her magic mirror swiftly for a smartphone.

 It’s no secret that we have an involved association with technology. Be it for educational projects, social lives, recreational activities and even use of technology to organize ourselves. With the calendar, analog clocks, cameras, postcards & letters been overtaken long ago, today we even have apps for fitness, dating, gaming, tracking, you name it & it’s available in the palm of your hand. With more than 2.50 million apps available, naturally an addiction sets in and before you know it, your trapped.

At a get-together a couple of months ago, a friend’s son had not attended the party. On enquiring it was learnt, he was too busy on his phone to bother attending the luncheon. Then surfaced the real truth, he was so addicted that he has not one, not two, but 7 I-phones, using all phones for gaming and who knows for what. Being so attached to the phone as he is, it follows him or should I say he follows it like Mary’s little lamb even to the toilet, sitting there for hours on end. Unsure if there’s an app to rate how well you’ve dropped your bombs or to let you know if you hit the right notes when you’ve passed wind. We are told the addiction is so much he even bathes with his phone in the bathroom. I don’t blame his mother for wanting to look for a suitable match to take away his attention. Chances are they could both end up conversing through WhatsApp. All levity aside cellphone addiction is real, there is no denial.

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