Bangda or Mackerel Curry with Raw Mango

INGREDIENTS

6 – 8 Bangdas  
clean  and wash the fish and cut it into 3 pieces. Add a little salt and turmeric powder  and keep aside.

 Grind the following:
. 8  Kashmiri chillies & 3 Bedgi chillies (for spice). You can drop the 3 extra chillies if you do not want the dish spicy
. Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
. Pepper corns 6
. Cumin seeds 1 tsp
. Onion 1
. Garlic cloves 3
. Tomato 1
. Tamarind small ball
. Grated coconut 1 cup
. Methi seeds 4 – 5
. Turmeric pinch
. 1/2″ ginger

 For  the Curry
1 – 2 green chillies
1/2  an onion sliced
a piece of chopped ginger
1. 5 tablespoons of oil
. Salt to taste
. 12 pieces of raw mango (peel, cut & boil in little salt water until half cooked)

METHOD

 Lightly dry roast on a pan all seeds and  the red chillies on a very low flame. do not burn them. Also roast the onion, garlic with 1 teaspoon of oil until golden. Cool and set aside

Grind all the roasted masala and other ingredients into a  fine paste.

In a kadai heat some oil. Add 1/2  a sliced onion, 2 green chilli, small piece of chopped ginger. Now add the masala paste and stir for a while. Add water and salt and allow the gravy to be a bit thick. Bring this to boil. Add fish and cook for 5 minutes more. Now add the half cooked raw mango. Let it simmer again few minutes. Remove from gas, serve with boiled rice 

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And you were expecting Easter Eggs? – Easter Vigil  – Mark 16:1-7

The Gospel text of today’s liturgy ends at verse seven. A young man dressed in a white robe (presumably an angel) announces the Easter proclamation, “he has been raised, he is not here.” The three women, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Salome have been asked to go and tell the disciples and Peter (singled out by name) that he is going ahead of them to Galilee, that they will see him just as he promised. (verse7)

But while our text for today’s liturgy ends with verse seven, the following verse almost seems to be dropped from our liturgical reading in order to ‘preserve’ our Easter joy. Verse eight is an irony of sorts, instead of a triumphant Easter response the three women flee the tomb. “Terror and amazement” has seized them and the Easter proclamation is locked in silence as the women say “NOTHING TO ANYONE” (verse 8). It seems like the mission of the angel just bombed.

Perhaps the women said to themselves, “who will believe us”? Remember that in the Gospel of Luke the apostles dismissed the words of the women as “idle tales” or in other words plain gossip! The fact remains that first century Jewish culture did not entertain a woman’s witness; merely because she was a woman. Then why announce the greatest news of all humankind to a group of women who are fearful, terrorised and numbed into silence and whom no one would take seriously?

Before I jump in to answer that I want to look at the why were these women chosen in the first place to hear the greatest proclamation of all mankind. In looking at this we can learn something for ourselves too

  1. These three women were devoted to Jesus. They find mention several times in the Gospel, perhaps more than some apostles who find their name mentioned just once. In Mark 15: 40-41 they find mention. These women, now seized with terror at the resurrection were just a chapter before brave enough to stand at the foot of the cross, though from a distance. Mark acknowledges their presence as those who stood by the Lord during his ministry and cared for him. He speaks of them as people who “followed him and provided for him when he was in Galilee.”

  2. The Gospel of today begins the Easter narrative once again with these three women. We are told the sabbath was over and these three women have bought spices so that they might anoint the body of Jesus. There are two interesting details that might miss your eye. First, they bought spices; note they bought not brought. They spent money. Love knows no cost. Were these women wealthy, perhaps yes, maybe no but what we do know is they cared for the Lord cared enough to spend for him and take care of him. Not long ago, just before his death in Mark 14:3 a woman in Bethany (we know her to be Mary from the gospel of John) also  bought pure nard worth three hundred denarii,( Mark 14:5) half a years wages, to pour out on the Lord’s feet and anoint them. Notice, on that occasion, Jesus in rebuking her critics for ‘wasting the ointment’ said that she had anointed his body beforehand for its burial. Why did he say so? Look carefully at Mark’s narrative of the burial  of Jesus (15:42- 47). Jewish culture buries their dead immediately and there was another reason to hurry up with the burial of Jesus.  We are told it was evening of the day of preparation of the sabbath. Remember, nothing, just nothing happened on the sabbath. So Joseph of Arimathea goes to Pilate to ask for his body and when given the body he (here comes that word again) BOUGHT linen cloth and taking down the body he wraps it in the cloth. Unlike the Gospel of John where Nicodemus comes with a mixture of myrrh and aloes about a hundred pounds to wrap it in the folds of the linen cloth, the synoptic gospels make no reference to any spices added at the time of the burial. In Luke the women go back to prepare the spices after having made note of where the body laid. Clearly the synoptic Gospels want to communicate the haste in which Jesus was laid as they were slipping into what could be called Jewish curfew. Now the women have come to complete the Jewish burial customs having waited a whole sabbath to pass by. It must have been a long wait

  1. That wait is expressed in their eagerness to go to the tomb for the scriptures says that on the first Easter Sunday EARLY, as the SUN had risen, they make their way to the tomb. Not only do the spend their money to care for the Lord, they are so eager to wait on him that they wake up early. Most of us would hit the snooze button today even on a Sunday or slip into Church for the most convenient Sunday mass. The first Easter saw devoted women seeking the Lord and its no wonder that the early bird gets the worm, in this case it was a treasure.

  2. But these women are also beset with doubt. While there were three of them and I am sure determined and strong enough to roll over a tomb stone (remember they were brave enough to stand at the cross while the men ran away) they still expressed a doubt. Who will roll the stone for us as at the entrance of the tomb? Perhaps such doubt has crossed all our minds. Like these women of faith we too ask ourselves, who will roll our stones of financial difficulty, illness, pain and stress? Doubt does not diminish our faith. Perhaps many ask who will roll back the stone and as a consequence never even begin the journey to the tomb, missing out on the resurrection. Don’t give up because you perceive a hurdle, go on because you have a loving task to perform. Remember that while the women had doubts on the way  to the tomb, their love for the Lord encouraged them to walk the rest of the way to the garden tomb.

  3. On arriving at the tomb the women should have been rejoicing that their prayers were answered for the stone had been rolled back yet they are alarmed. They are alarmed because they see not a body but a young man. This begs the question, what were they looking for in the first place? A dead Jew or a living Messiah. Jesus had spoken of his resurrection on three occasions in this very Gospel. He promised he would rise and yet the women went to anoint the dead. What are we looking for in our faith? Do we seek a living Messiah? The stone was not rolled back to let Jesus out, but to let the women in, to let us in so that we may enter and believe.

  4. Yet there is that one question of verse 8. Why did the women finally choose to be numbed into silence in verse 8? The Easter proclamation is not a magic wand that once waved brings magical faith. The doubt does not magically go away. We are told in verse 9 that the Lord then had to step in. Encountering Mary of Magdala he tells her to go to his disciples with the message. They, we are told, did not believe ( verse10). In verse 11 he appears to the other two women with the same message as they were walking into the country. Again the disciples did not believe. So the Lord appears himself to the elven (verse 14) when they were sitting at table and UPBRAIDED them. Imagine yourself expecting easter eggs today and instead you get a sound firing from the Lord who is angry that you refuse to believe he is risen. He upbraids them for their lack of faith and stubbornness (verse 14).

  5. What do I choose now to do? Should I sulk that I have been reprimanded on Easter Sunday or should I do as the Lord asked, to pick myself up and meet him in Galilee where it all began? Easter is that day when the Lord asks us to journey back with him to where it all began, to renew our commitment to him, renew our commitment to his kingdom. The resurrection calls us to MOVE, to ACTION. The lord is waiting for us today in Galilee not at the empty tomb. We have an Easter date with Jesus, a scheduled appointment as he promised to renew our mission and work for his kingdom

Happy Easter

Fr Warner Dsouza

+91-9820242151 (whatsapp only)

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Awesome Threesome

I must confess I loved my wife but I loved another too. Her smile could make any man weak. She, was my Sweet Pea or simply P for short. She was the breath to my lungs and the butter to my bread she was my girl, my first love. Abigail was my wife no doubt but who forgets your first love, it’s always nice to have more of something in your life. I mean who doesn’t enjoy some extra spice like oregano to their pizza? Abigail was not keen at first, who would! With lots of convincing and buttering she too saw the benefits.

I’m sure you have your eyebrows raised. But before you get all judgmental and quote the seventh commandment, I’m just talking about my pistachio green Tata Nano. A 3000 plus km, coast to coast trip with a NANO, from Mumbai to Pondicherry and back home to Mumbai was our idea of a honeymoon road trip. Yes, there, were genuine concerns of how P would fare on such a long drive. It was a car of course but a dainty one. Up till now a trip to the nearby mall, little outings to the city were the only accomplishments in the log book. Her, range and engine capacity did not instill confidence. Put three, five litre, Bisleri cans in a row and that gives you an idea of the tank capacity. This meant more stops to fill her little belly. As a timesaver we came upon a challenge finding a food court and a petrol pump in close proximity. Additionally, owing to a small engine to avoid overheating adequate rest was required making us cover a max of 600 kms in a day.

With ‘there’s no word can’t in the dictionary,’ my motivating line as my wise mother- in-law always said, this was going to be our 1st voyage into the unknown. I could almost hear the Star Trek monologue ringing in my ears, ‘‘to boldly go where no Fernandes has ever gone before.’’

Multiple hours were spent on Google maps planning and re planning, relying on reviews & examining the location though satellite imagery feature which helped in separating the fake from the genuine. Back up plans and diversions in case of road closures were reviewed. We, invested in a handheld TOM TOM (GPS device) that really came in handy in areas of low network coverage. We also went old school with a humble Atlas just in case technology died on us.

Our first stop was a night halt at Hubli before reaching the city of palaces Mysore. Reaching these two places on our list gave us a sense of immediate accomplishment. Adding, to this were the super slick roads in the state of Karnataka. After basking in the rich history of Mysore and paying a visit to it’s zoo, we head to the hills of Ooty. The roads took us through the scenic & beautiful forest reserve of Bandipur in Karnataka. Interestingly, when you crossed borders into Tamil Nadu the same forest is known as Madumalai. One gets a chance to gaze at elephants and deer going about their simple lives totally oblivious of their surroundings. Even though we didn’t plan on going on a safari, this route surely made up for it. Then came the steep Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu with its serpentine 36 hair pend bends. I, loved playing snakes and ladders as a kid, but this was taking it to an all new Jumanji level. P slowly climbed that too after giving me a mild attack as she could climb only on 1st gear & thus took 45 mins to make her way through the all the bends without a huffing & puffing and minus any snake bite to the top of the hill entering Ooty. The 25 km route to Coonoor consisted of winding roads with just a climb here and there leading to Coonoor. This town was less congested and gave us a much needed rest to take in some nice aromas of tea as we drove past many a tea estate, our pistachio green Nano blending so well as we passed every bend ,she felt like one of the leaves, like a water colour in the rain.

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TRANSFORMATION- TRANSLATION- TRANSFIGURATION – 2nd Sunday in lent – Mark 9:2-10

And now for the second time the Father bears testimony to the son. Jesus the beloved, is acclaimed by God as ‘His voice’; “listen to him” says God. Earlier in Chapter 1:11, God proclaims Jesus as his son in whom he is ‘well pleased’.  So surely, the transfiguration must be a pivotal point in the Gospel of Mark. Attached to this pericope is what is called the Elijah question (11- 13). Let us understand this pericope a bit more.

Jesus has just pronounced the first of His three passion predictions and teachings on discipleship. He will do this again in chapter 9:31 and 10:33. Peter has pronounced Jesus as the Christ but is far from understanding what the Father’s revelation to him means. Scripture tells us that Peter is lost in an illusion of an earthy kingdom of power. He therefore remonstrates with Jesus in an attempt to prevent him walking down the road of suffering.  Now as it were, to reiterate his earlier question on whom men thinks Jesus is, the Master takes Peter, James and John up a high mountain.

We have no idea where this place definitely is. Scholars have opined that it may be Mount Tabor or Hermon. In the Old Testament, mountains were the usual settings for supernatural revelations and manifestations of God. In the New Testament Jesus teaches the Sermon on the Mount and dies on the cross on mount Calvary. These manifestations are called theophanies. (Theo= God, Phaneroo = make clear) It is here that the form of Jesus changes; that’s why we call it the ‘transfiguration’. Peter’s confession is now revealed in visual form. The disciples of Jesus see the master’s glorious state which so far they have been revealed only in words. This is the glorious state that Jesus will have after his death and resurrection. It is this glorious state that we will all have in heaven.

To a Jew, listening to this narrative, the reality could not be clearer. Moses and Elijah represented the fullness of the law and the prophets; Moses, to whom the law was given and Elijah who embodied the role of the prophets.  The presence of Elijah also forms a link to the following verses (9: 11-13) According to the prophet Malachi (3:23-24) Elijah’s return would precede the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. Elijah had to come first before Jesus could be raised from the dead; and so here was Elijah at the transfiguration. But Jesus makes a more startling revelation in 9:13, “Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased.”

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Psalm 119: 1- 8 –  Follow….the Law of Life

Psalm 119 is massive. It is the Mount Everest of Psalms and is the longest chapter found in any book of the Bible. It consists of 176 verses. To put that in perspective, all of Psalm 119 is equal to the first six chapters of the Gospel of Matthew. For the Eucharist of today, the lectionary has picked verses 1&2,4&5,7&8; however we will study all of the first eight verses.

Like Psalm 34 which we studied a few days ago, Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem. In these poems, each verse typically begins with a successive letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Thus, the first verse would begin with ‘aleph’ and the second with ‘beth’, and so on, until the poet reached the end of the alphabet. Psalm 119 is a bit different when compared to other acrostic poems. While it contains all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each section consisting of eight verses, begins each verse with the same Hebrew letter of the alphabet. So, the first eight verses all start with ‘aleph,’ the first letter of the Hebrew alphabets, the second eight verses begin with ‘bet’ and so on. In this way all 22 letters of the alphabets are grouped in sets of eight verses. 22 letters of the alphabets multiplied by 8 verses each give you a total of 176 verses; the length of the Psalm. The use of acrostic psalms served as a memory device.

Psalm 119 has the “law” as its major interest or theme. Seven Hebrew words are used in synonymous interchange with the word “torah,” usually translated as law, but better translated as instruction. Those seven words are (in the NRSV Bible and it would be good to mark them): decree, precept, statute, commandment, ordinance, word, and promise. While each synonym carries a slightly different nuance of meaning, little is gained by attempting to distinguish a separate meaning, theological or otherwise, for each of them. The repeated use of these synonyms is just to make a point; the law is paramount, the law is good.

Throughout this psalm, the psalmist speaks of following God’s law; not as a burdensome discipline but as a saving grace. It focuses on the good that comes from keeping God’s law. Even though it basically says the same thing over and over again with slight modification, it reflects the need to praise God with endless variation on this same theme that is often looked at unfavourably in our day. Christians today, do not typically share the psalm’s unflagging insistence on the strict adherence to the “law” or torah. The law of God sadly seems to be a rallying point for rebels with any cause.

The first verses of this grandest of the psalms offer a beatitude or a blessing. In fact, since it appears twice in verses one and two it can only be seen as a double blessing. The word ‘ashre’, is rendered in most English translations as “happy” or “blessed.” In our text it reads as “happy, are those whose way is blameless, who walks in the law of the LORD (Yahweh). It occurs some forty times in the Old Testament, twenty-seven times in the book of Psalms (Psalms 1:1; 41:2; 89:16; 112:1; 119:1,2; 128:1; 146:5).

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