Monday, August 5, 2019

Don't Speak Against It!

India - Home to Many Faiths

India is a country where many different religious traditions exist. Although I know that there are sometimes negative reports about the treatment of  Christians in India, that has never been my experience. I have always found Hindus to be the most tolerant community, with great reverence for all the religious traditions which exist. I've lived in India for 25 years, so you can take it that I know what I'm talking about.

Intolerant Communities

There are, however, other communities living in India which are not so tolerant. I have found myself on the receiving end of some really harsh criticism. I have come across people who believe that we Christians, Catholics in particular, are guilty of blasphemy. Why? Because we call the Virgin Mary 'Mother of God'.

The Mission of the Virgin Mary

Tradition tells us that the Virgin Mary was born late in life to her parents and this is because a child born with a great mission must be covered in prayer. Mary had a special mission which was to give  birth to Yeshua (Jesus) the second person of the Blessed Trinity, in his Earthly form. That's the greatest deed accomplished by any human being. She was conceived in the full purity of soul, without any corruption of sin.

The Handmaid of the Lord

Her father was a temple priest and recited scriptures aloud day after day, so Mary was surrounded by love and Scripture. She had the gift of prophesy. Just read the Magnificat in Luke's Gospel if you're not sure about that. We do not say she is the wife of God the Father. Rather we say she was surrounded with sacred Scripture and became pregnant with the Word of God. The Word of God is another name of Jesus. In the Bible she calls herself  the 'handmaid of the Lord'

Mary Had to be Sinless

The term 'mother of God' is a prerogative or privilege. This was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The basilica of St Mary Major was build in Rome to honour Mary's Divine Motherhood. This is honouring Jesus' Divinity as the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, rather than deifying Mary.  The Virgin Mary needed to be sinless to bring forth a blessed child as God in any of His 3 persons can't go near sin.

Suffering Christians

Christians are the most misunderstood people and also the most persecuted because unbelievers cannot get their heads around the mysteries of God. We have to gently explain and bear their rebukes. Jesus told us in the Bible that we would have to suffer like this but told us never to worry what about what we must say when the world ridicules us.  Jesus told us he said he would send his Holy Spirit, the Helper. The Holy Spirit gives us strength to bear all humiliation when the world scoffs at our faith. We have to be prepared for the world's hatred and rather rejoice that we are sharing the Saviour's shameful fate, knowing that if we suffer on Good Friday we will rise with Our Jesus on Easter Sunday.

Beware of the Danger

There's something very important to remember. To deny the Divinity of the Lord' Jesus is most dangerous to one's salvation. It is  better for the unbelievers to say nothing than to commit the worst form of blasphemy which is to deny the Divinity of God's beloved Son. If you find it difficult to accept, better admit it and say nothing against it. Because the merciful God gives the benefit of the doubt at every opportunity. But anyone who has loudly denied Jesus will not benefit from His redeeming work.

Don't Speak Against It

If anyone argues with me about whether Jesus was human or divine, I always tell them that if you don't believe, it's okay.  You should be honest and you can't help how you feel. But at least don't speak against it.  See there are many people in this world who know judgment day is coming. They do everything they can to get Christians to deny Jesus and say He's not the Divine Son. He's only a human, they say, a servant of God. When you challenge them, they're like 'what did I say wrong? Being a servant, a slave of God, is a great honour'.  Of course you can't disagree with that. But....

Don't Let Your Words Condemn You

But here's the thing. Jesus, by His Death on the Cross, saved the world. But if you're standing before God on Judgment Day and you've been denying Jesus all your life, how can He save you? Your very words will condemn you. So if you don't believe Jesus is divine, there's no harm in being honest about it. But for your own sake, please don't speak against it. Just take this advice, if you take nothing else away from here. It's important for your afterlife.

Many thanks to Pixabay for the images

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Why Mass on Saturday?

Getting Ready for Mass

Christians generally attend Church on Sunday, if they possibly can

It's Saturday afternoon. Soon I'll be getting ready for my Sunday mass. The local Catholic hospital has a convent chapel which is easily reachable by public transport. The Mass is at 6 pm local time and will fulfill my obligation as a Catholic to attend the Sunday Mass.

Two Visitors

A few years ago, two young women visited my house in Lucknow, north India, on a Sunday evening.  One of the women was an Indian Christian. The second one was Korean. Apparently, they had been looking for Christians to visit and someone had directed them to our house. I am the only Christian who lives in my house, but that's okay. We asked them in and invited them to sit and talk to us. I offered them a glass of water. They immediately got down to business. They opened a laptop they had with them and proceeded to tell show me a video. The purpose of this video was that keeping Sunday as a holy day was wrong. Jesus was Jewish and the Jewish Sabbath was on Saturday.

They Told Me I Was A Sinner

I heard them out and then told them my take on all this. I told them that as Sunday was a holiday and away from the daily routine, I was perfectly happy to keep my Sabbath on Sunday as it suited my family life. I also mentioned that I live in a Hindu household, as my in laws are Hindu. I have to work my way around that. I told them that I usually attend a Mass on Saturday evening. In the old Jewish system, once the darkness descends, the next day has begun. So we have what is called the 'vigil Mass' which is perfectly valid to attend in the place of Sunday Mass. These ladies started to tell me I was a sinner for celebrating Sunday as the Lord's day. They made it very clear that God wouldn't be at all pleased with me. They were so full of legalism, that is, picking over rules, that it put me off completely.

I Threw Them Out

At that point I asked them to leave. There were no thanks, no fond farewells and no promises to meet again. I didn't mind at all. As far as I was concerned, entering someone's house, accepting hospitality and then calling the host a sinner is discourteous. They had given me the name of their church, which I later looked up on the Internet. It turned out not to be a church at all. It was a sect which originated inSouth Korea. It also appears that their founder believes that he is the second Incarnation of Jesus Christ. So if I was in error celebrating Sunday as my Sabbath, these people were even more in error. Making a God out of a mere man is right up there with the worst heresies, as far as I am concerned. I don't like heresy, but I'm a 'live and let live' type of person. I wouldn't attack these people and call them sinners because I don't share their beliefs. 'Let them go their way and I'll go mine' is my attitude.

Many Christians find going to Church gives them a sense of peace

One of the Joys of my Life

Nowadays, as far as I can make out, very few Christians appear to go to Church on Sunday, or Saturday evening. At least, far fewer go now than did when I was growing up in Ireland. That was in the 1970s. I can understand why people have fallen away from going to Sunday Mass. Many have lost their faith over the recent Church scandals. The Church scandals have hurt me too, but they haven't shaken my faith. I love to go to Sunday Mass and will continue to do so for as long as I can. It's one of the joys of my life.  Not only on Saturday or Sunday. Any day that I can possibly go to Mass is a good day for me.

Images courtesy of Skitterphoto and Theo Riverienlaan on Pixabay.

Don't Speak Against It!

India - Home to Many Faiths India is a country where many different religious traditions exist. Although I know that there are someti...