Archbishop Moras Celebrates Birthday of Church
Bengaluru: Archbishop Bernard Moras, during a celebration of Pentecost, reminded people of at least five different language groups to be faithful and committed to the teachings of the Church as “we celebrate the birthday of the Church today” (Sunday). Archbishop Moras was speaking at St. Patrick’s Church during a Pentecostal celebration and concluding night vigil service, presiding over holy Eucharist. Parish priest and Vicar General, Fr C Francis, Chancellor and PRO, Fr Anthony Swamy (who is also parish priest of Cathedral), Fr. Jacob Britto, Spiritual Director, BCCRSand Fr Anthony Mahendran G, Secretary to Archbishop were among other priests on the occasion to concelebrate Mass.
People of different languages, namely, Kannada, English, Konkani, Tamil and Malayalam, came together after a separate praise and worship and preaching session in the St. Patrick’s Complex (English, Kannada and Malayalam), St. Joseph’s Commerce College (Konkani) and Tamil (Sacred Heart Church).
This is the day when the Holy Spirit of God came down to indwell the followers of Jesus. This is the day that the church of God was born. This event is recorded in Acts chapter 2. On that day, the Spirit of God descended on the 120 followers of Jesus and they started speaking out loud in languages from around the world (at least 18). This created such a commotion that thousands who were in Jerusalem at the time came out to see what was happening and in front of the gathering crowd, Peter spoke the first gospel message and ‘three thousand were added to their number that day’ (Acts 2:41).
That event happened 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. It was during this ‘quiet’ interval of 50 days that the convictions of Jesus’ disciples regarding his resurrection were formed.Pentecost was a regular Old Testament festival. In the time of Moses, several annual festivals were prescribed and celebrated throughout the year. The festival of Passover was the first to be celebrated in the Jewish year.
Exactly 50 days after Passover the Jews celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. And they had been doing so yearly for 1500 years by the time the events of Acts 2 happened. In fact, the reason that there were people from all languages who were in Jerusalem that day to hear Peter’s message was precisely because they were there to celebrate the Old Testament Pentecost.
In this large gathering of about 6,000 people St. Patrick’s premises, Archbishop reminded them of the clarion call by Holy Father, Pope Francis about the Year of Mercy.
Archbishop Moras, the president of the Karnataka Regional Bishops’ Council, reminded the congregation that Jesus was God’s love and compassion manifested for us. God sent His own son to save the humanity. And Jesus said whoever sees me, sees the Father. Mercy of God is shown to us through Jesus. Jesus gave us the power of forgiving sins. Jesus said, be merciful like the heavenly Father. This is the Church to which we all belong. Archbishop exhorted all present to manifest this mercy and love towards everyone we come across and to the whole humanity. To practise the faith is having concern for and sharing with our brothers and sisters. This mercy should be an act of charity and kindness. People were attracted to Jesus not only because he worked miracles, but he healed them and had shown compassion.
Archbishop, also president of the Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights, directed the participants to see the logo of the Year of Mercy, in which Jesus, the good shepherd, carries a man on his shoulders, showing mercy. Jesus rejoices and brings back (the lost sheep). The three eyes in the logo indicate we are together. Jesus sees through our eyes. Jesus knows our shortcomings and weaknesses. He forgives us, We-God and human beings-have become one which is depicted in the eyes given in the logo. We are invited to see through the eyes of God and Jesus. We are expected to display God’s mercy in our workplace and anywhere we go. God calls upon us for repentance. The Risen Lord appeared to the disciples and his first words were “Peace be with you.” Jesus added, “not the peace the world gives.” Again Jesus said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’Repentance leads to forgiveness which takes place through the power of Church and power of mercy.
Pentecost literally means 50th. The English word “Pentecost” is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekostos, which means “fifty.” It is a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the Passover feast by the Jews and a feast celebrated on the 50th day after the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus by the Christians. The Jewish Pentecost was originally a post-harvest thanksgiving feast. Later, the Jews included in it the remembrance of God’s Covenants with Noah after the Deluge and with Moses at Mt. Sinai. On the day of Pentecost, The Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary as fiery tongues (Jn 20: 19-23).
The frightened apostles were transformed into fiery preachers and evangelizers and were given the gift of tongues by a special anointing of the Holy Spirit.The listeners experienced a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit through the apostles’ gift of tongues: they heard Peter speaking in their native languages.The early Christians became powerful witnesses and brave martyrs for their faith in Jesus.
We need to call the Spirit to come to us in the same way. We should receive the Spirit to transform us. All those gathered there on that day became changed persons immediately. They could go from there without any fear or anxiety. People from 18 nations could understand in their own languages what Peter spoke. This was the work of the Spirit of the Lord and when the Spirit of the Lord dwells in us, this is what happens – great miracles. Archbishop urged all to proclaim the good news in ‘our own way”. The mystical body is still present amidst us to this day. We should all experience this work of the Spirit. We have received this Spirit in baptism, confirmation and other sacraments.
Archbishop Moras presented an allegory to emphasize the presence of the Spirit within us. Once,a great sailing ship was stranded off the coast of South America.Week after week the ship lay there in the still waters. The captain was desperate; the crew was dying of thirst.And then, on the far horizon, a steamship appeared, headed directly towards them.As it drew near, the captain called out, “We need water!Give us water!”
The steamship replied, “Lower your buckets where you are.” The captain was furious at the offhand response but called out again, “Please, give us water.”But the steamer gave the same reply, “Lower your buckets where you are!”
And with that they sailed away!The captain was beside himself with anger and despair, and he went below.But a little later, when no one was looking, anattendant lowered a bucket into the sea and then tasted what he brought up: It was perfectly sweet, fresh water!And for all those weeks they had been sitting right on top ofall the fresh water they needed!What we are really seeking is already inside us, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be embraced:the Holy Spirit of God Who has been living within us from the moment of our Baptism. The Holy Spirit is saying to us at this very moment from deep in our heart, “Lower your buckets where you are. Taste and see!”
The Lord is with us and he acts in us and through us. The Archbishop encouraged everyone to pray so that the Spirit may mould, motivate and sanctify us. We should constantly pray for the Lord to give us fruits of Holy Spirit and we would be able to live a life like Christians, witnessing our faith and witnessing Christ in our daily lives. We are all called upon to be a merciful Church. We embrace the Spirit to prosper and to live in peace and harmony. Archbishop wished all for “the peace of the Risen Lord”to dwell in our hearts.”
Earlier, Bro. Colin Calmiano, a great preacher, spoke of internal transformation and the changes people undergo after embracing the Spirit. He gave examples of Saul to Paul and Philip and several others.
Fr Jose Vettiyankal, Director, Logos Retreat Centre, Bengaluru, spoke of ‘impossible things will become possible’ once the Spirit of the Lord works in a person. He gave a true story of a separated couple. The lady (wife) went o Kanyakumari with one child and another child was left with the man (husband). The husband’s mother approached Fr Jose and he directed her to do certain simple acts of prayer and spiritual exercises. A miracle happened very soon and the separated couple re-joined and began living together. He spoke of chaos (darkness) in the Bible and in us. (Gen.1: 2). Our needs will be fulfilled quoting Psalm. God renewed the face of the earth (Psalm 104). Fr Jose, an international preacher, touched upon the practical aspect of each person’s life situations and the remedy for the negative happenings. He gave stress to the divine power including the intervention of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to find answers to impossible things.
Br Simon Rodrigues, former chairman,Bangalore Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services(BCCRS), also spoke of the power of the Holy Spirit and the importance of leading a sinless life to receive grace and blessings.
Different choir groups led the praise and worship in all language groups. Preachers in five languages included both local and from outstations.
Soon after the Eucharistic celebration, Bishop and all priests lay their hands on the heads of the faithful for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit.
Earlier, representatives from each language prayed in their own respective languages for various intentions.
Konkani Revival Group organized the Pentecost Night Vigil in Konkani at St Joseph’s Commerce College Auditorium, near St. Patrick’s Church.Fr Roman Pinto from Shivamogga diocese shared the word of God followed by an anointing session led by Fr Praveen Pinto OCD, Fr Richard Menezes and Fr Praveen D’souza OFM.Cap. Praise and worship was led by Konkani Worship Team from Divine Retreat Centre, Potta. Talented singer Prajoth D’sa sang the Worship songs.
Br Cherian Ramapuram, chairman, BCCRS, thanked the Archbishop and all concerned including the benefactors. BCCRS was the driving force behind such a massive programme. He thanked in a special way Infant Transport Company for proving 40 buses as other years. Transport facility for pickup and drop was arranged from respective parishes.
The presence of police teams was seen at all centers including St. Patrick’s Campus.
by C V Joseph