In order to understand this text well we will deal with the entire pericope starting from verse 1 -14. We are now in the fourth of the five great discourses of Matthew. Chapter 18 is the community discourse addressed to Peter and the disciples and broadly deals with community relations.
The text opens with the disciples asking Jesus who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The entire pericope must now be seen on the basis of this question and not through a modern day application of issues or our own interpretation.
This question asked by the disciples is a bit of an oddity. You won’t be asking this question when twice before this; in rapid succession (Matthew 16:21-23 and 17:22-23) Jesus has declared his passion death and resurrection. Perhaps what was bogging the minds of the disciples was the primacy of Peter, for Jesus in Chapter 16: 16- 19 had declared him to be ‘the rock’ and now the others wanted to know where they stood on the charts of power.
Jesus places a child in their presence as an answer to their question. They were driven by the desire to be given status and Jesus clearly demands that they change their mindset. Using a double negative he insists they will never enter the kingdom of heaven if they are driven by such earthly titles and honours.
Children, in first century Palestine were considered the lowest on the social strata. While they were loved and cared for they certainly had no rights. Jesus was not asking the disciples to emulate the faith of child but rather become like a child who has no rights. In verse five, Jesus humbles himself identifying with a child who has no power and wants the disciples to do the same.
The traversing Bombay Seminary was transferred to Surat by Bishop Hartmann. This exile is mentioned in The Examiner of December 16, 1852, in the following words: ‘On December 14th, the orphanage was opened at Parel, the ecclesiastical students having already re-moved at Surat, where our Seminary will henceforth remain.’
However, within two years the rolling stone found its way back home due to the changes taking place in the Vicariate of Bombay. Bishop Hartmann welcomed religious personnel other than the Carmelites – namely the Capuchins and the Jesuits. This favourable initiative led to some unfavourable events that ended the Carmelite administration of the Vicariate in 1853 (after more than a hundred years of service). The Capuchins too pulled out and left the Bombay – Poona Vicariate into the hands of the Jesuits in 1858!
Fr. Thomas of the Passion was the last Carmelite Rector of the Seminary. In April 1853, his post was taken by the Capuchin Fr. Fulgentius. Before the end of 1854, Fr Fulgentius was transferred back to Bombay to build the preaching ministry. The future of the Seminary now hung in the balance. On January 2, 1855, Hartmann in desperation wrote: ‘I have nobody (among the Capuchins) for the Seminary; I shall have to hand it over to the Jesuits, a number of whom are shortly coming.’
Thus a fresh chapter reopened in the history of the Bombay Seminary – this was its journey with the Jesuits.
In February 1855 the Bombay Seminary returned home to the little town popular to date in the annals of Catholicism – Bandra. The Seminary was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was housed within St Peter’s Church building.
Sunday – 19th Sunday in Ordinary time – Matthew 14:22-33
Today we celebrate Vianney Sunday and I would like to take the Gospel of today and dove tail it with the celebrations of clergy day that we celebrate across the world. I will do this in the form of a meditation.
THE LORD: The Gospel text begins with Jesus withdrawing into the mountains to pray. Prayer and solitude were an integral part of Jesus’ life but this time his desire to be alone in prayer was tinged with sadness. Chapter 14 begins with the narrative of the beheading of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus. Immediately after this Jesus found himself thronged by people in the wilderness who were spiritually and physically hungry. There was no time to grieve. So, he fed the five thousand and with a heart that was still grieving he went to the mountains where he prayed.
HIS PRIEST: My life must be a mirror of you Lord; the servant cannot be greater than the master. Many times, I too hold back my own emotional needs to meet the needs of those entrusted to my care. Like you Lord, I find the harvest great and the labourers disappearing. I am human Lord, I struggle with my own ups and downs and there is no one to help me pick up my shattered heart, there is no time to deal with it, so I sweep them under the carpet. Where do I find my solitude? Like you Lord I have to find some time to be alone to find strength in prayer and snatch a few moments of silence.
I make this at home and make it in bulk. Once made it stores in the refrigerator forever. I do not use any food colouring for this recipe. This is perfect for pork chops with a series of other ingredients and for schezwan dishes. You can also use it as a dipping sauce. Do not change the recipe or the ingredients.
Onions – 500 grams
Garlic – 200 grams (after cleaning)
Ginger – 50 grams
Celery stalks – 100 grams
Tomato sauce – 250 grams
Kashmiri chillies – 100 grams
Soya sauce – 6 tbsp
Vinegar – one tbsp
Ajinomoto – 1 tsp
Salt – 2 tbsp
Oil – 300 ml
Finely chop onions, garlic, ginger and celery. Soak the Kashmiri chillies in hot water for two minutes. This enhances the colour and softens the skin. Grind this with water to form a thick paste.
In a nonstick deep dish add all the oil and fry the onions till they are translucent. Please do not brown the onions. Add the ginger and garlic and cook out the raw flavours . Now add the celery and cook for two minutes. Add the chilli paste, stir well and add half a cup of water and cook this for the next ten minutes. Add soya sauce, tomato sauce, vinegar and salt. If need be add more oil and cook on a low heat for the next ten minutes. You will notice the colour deepens. The excess oil helps in the preservation. Finish with ajinomoto