This pericope forms part of a larger text that begins at verse 4 and end at verse 21. It plays on the motif of hearing the word of God. Hearing or listening becomes the leitmotif and the challenge to every disciple. Hearing the Word of God is the hallmark of Lucan discipleship. The disciples are not only hearers of the parables of God’s kingdom as in verses 4-8 but are also recipients of the singular grace of knowing what God’s kingdom means for everyday Christian living (JBC)

In verse 18 Jesus cautions the disciples to ‘pay attention how they listen’. Hearing without understanding the word, leads to a total loss of hearing. It produces no fruit in the disciple. To reiterate this point Luke uses the word hearing or listening five times between verse 8-19.

It is in this context of hearing and listening that the mother and the brothers of Jesus are introduced to the narrative. We are told they are unable to reach him because of the crowd and to the person who informs Jesus that his own relatives are waiting to meet him he links true fraternal and maternal relationship with those who hear the word of God.

It is not difficult to see that, at least during his lifetime, Jesus’ family were not in sympathy with him. Mark 3:21 tells us how his kinsmen came and tried to restrain him because they believed him to be mad. In Matthew 10:36 Jesus warns his followers that a man’s foes may well be those of his own household–and he was speaking out of hard and bitter experience.

However, in contrast to Mark’s Gospel (3:31-35), Luke does not depreciate Jesus’ mother and relatives with the words ‘who is my mother and who are my brothers’. Here, Luke presents Mary as the model disciple who ponders God’s word and acts on it. Jesus is not disowning his mother, but rather pointing to her greatest glory: that she could say to God’s messenger: Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. Luke wants to present the family of Jesus as models of discipleship who listen to the Word of God and act on it.

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‘Mary, full of grace; first conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb’ – St. Augustine

We are in the Uffizi Gallery of Art History collections. Having traversed through the medieval depictions of the Madonna and the Child, we now stop to gaze at the 15th-century masterpieces. Undoubtedly the finest among these is the ‘Madonna and Child’ by the Italian Renaissance artist Filippo Lippi. Considered one of the most lyrical expressions of Lippi’s art, the painting is commonly called ‘The Uffizi Madonna’.

The artist, Filippo Lippi, was born in 1406 in Florence in a poor family. At a tender age, he was sent to the Carmelite friary. However temperamentally he was not suited to be a friar. He is said to have led a colorful life full of lawsuits and scandals. Chaffing against his presumed vocation, in 1456 Lippi abducted a nun, Lucrezia Buti, and married her later. Despite his antics, he won the favor of the Medici’s who patronized his brilliance at work. His terrible vices were often overshadowed by the virtues of his paintings.

The painting into consideration, titled ‘The Madonna and Child’ spells love at every sight. The Blessed Virgin is seated on a throne, of which only the soft embroidered cushion and the carved arm is visible. She gently gazes downwards, her hands clasped in prayer. Her humble appearance emphasizes her humanity as the young girl of Nazareth chosen to be the Mother of God.

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 The Seminary at Parel was the Village in the Valley, the new Seminary at Goregaon is surely the Castle on the Hill. The way up-hill is never easy. It involves unchartered territories, strenuous strides, fearless faith, and quiet perseverance. The journey to Goregaon was similar but what set the Bombay Seminary on the road again? Here are a few factors to consider:

The Space Crunch  

This is vividly vouched for by the statistics. Nine seminarians in 1936; thirty-four in 1940; seventy-one in 1945; eighty in 1950; ninety-eight in 1955 and over one hundred and ten in 1960. As the number kept increasing there is no denying that the Lima Seminary faced a huge space crunch. In 1940, a hastily constructed wing was added to the old one-storeyed building at its south side but to no relief. The question remained ‘What about the years to come?’ It was Parel and yet, not Parel!

The Seminary cum Parish set-up

On April 22, 1877, the Parel Convent Chapel was opened. As the Catholic population in the environs grew, several Portuguese Church parishioners preferred to attend services at the Parel St Joseph’s Chapel. Thus when the Seminary was inaugurated in 1936, the Chapel continued to serve the faithful especially with regards to Sunday worship. Soon the Seminary Fathers organized catechism classes and attended to the pressing needs of the people. This paved the way for the creation of a full-fledged parish at Upper Parel dedicated to St. Paul on March 12, 1941.

The Rectors of the Seminary Fr. Valls S.J. and Fr. Lamolla S.J. were also appointed Parish Priest from March 1941 to April 1944. A Parish school was soon opened in the shed alongside the main seminary building. The Parel Seminary found itself amidst several activities of the Parish. It is not surprising then that the ecclesiastical authorities, anticipating future developments of the two institutions, recognized the need to move the Bombay Seminary again.

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Breaking the glass ceiling -Luke 8:1-3

This summary passage is unique to Luke and accords the important role he assigns to women. We have been speaking of the reconstituted Israel in the Gospel of Luke which began with the choosing of the twelve apostles  in Luke 6:12. These apostles will be Jesus’ emissaries who continue his kingdom proclamation and are commissioned to preach the Christ event or as Luke will call it, ‘the word of God’; a phrase used 30 times in Luke and Acts. This is a rare phrase for the other evangelists as you barely find them using it.

In choosing the twelve, Jesus had presented a great symbol of unity from diversity; fisherman, a zealot. Galileans, a Judean (Judas of Iscariot) a toll collector, one with a Greek name (Philip). Women now comprise the second element of the band of reconstituted Israel and this would have been considered strange and very revolutionary at the time of Jesus for both the Gentile and Jewish audience. 

While it was not uncommon for women to support rabbis and their disciples out of their own money, property or food stuff it was certainly unheard of if not scandalous for a woman to leave her home and travel with a rabbi. What made eyebrows rise even further is that this band of women included some from whom demons had been cast out.

Among the three women mentioned are Mary of Magdala from who seven demons have been cast out. She is not to be confused as a sinner woman of the preceding text 7:36-50 and there is no evidence that she is a ‘prostitute’ as made out by many enthusiastic preachers. Then there is Joanna, wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod Antipas’ estate and a person of position and means. Finally, there is Suzanna of which we know little. However, scripture mentions that these three women were also joined by many more women.

The text of today indicates that these women were involved in the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom of God and providing for Jesus and the twelve out of their resources. This is a very powerful piece of information. The Gospel writer is highlighting a ‘reconciliation’ and collaboration between men and women in the inner circle of Jesus.

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East Indian bottle masala

Ingredients
1 1/2 kgs Red Chillies hot
1 1/2 kg Red Chilies sweet
3/4 kg Coriander seeds whole
125 grams Cumin seeds jeera
1/4 kg Sesame seed teel
1/4 kg Poppy seeds khus khus
1/4 kg Mustard seeds
1/4 kg Wheat
1/4 kg chick peas channa
Whole spices
1/4 Kg Turmeric whole
125 grams pepper corns
50 grams Cinnamon dalchini
10 grams Cloves
10 grams Naikaiser
10 grams All spice kababchuni
10 grams Cardamoms elichi
10 grams Tirphal
10 grams Maipatri mace
10 grams Star anise bardian
10 grams Caraway seeds Shahijeera
10 grams Zaipatri
1 Nutmeg

Instructions
Clean and remove the stalk from the chilies (best to wear gloves when working with chilies). Dry chilies and all spices in the sun for a few days until you are sure there is no moisture in left. Dry roast the spices and chilies in an earthenware or cast iron pan.

Blend all ingredients one at a time in a spice blender. Sift and combine all the spices – so they blend well together. Fill in sterilized mason jars – label and seal well

Storage
The bottle masala can last for up to 2 years if sealed well and kept in a cool dry place. If the spices are not dried properly the spice blend can mold quickly due to moisture.

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