Seek God’s Kingdom, Eschew Earthly Establishments, Urges Fr Basanas, Salesian Rector Major’s Delegate
- Representative of Rector Major meets Salesian Cooperators & Don Bosco Past Pupils
Bengaluru: The exhortation to follow, study and imitate Don Bosco was to mean to pursue the path to reach Jesus, said Fr Guilliermo Basanas. Fr Basanas, General Counsellor for Missions, represents the Rector Major (Fr Angel Fernandez Artime) of Salesians of Don Bosco, Rome.
The extraordinary visitor who was the main celebrant at the Eucharistic celebration at Salesian Provincial House, Bengaluru,on Saturday, May 18, said ‘There is togetherness as we follow Jesus.’ At times, even those who follow the footsteps of Don Bosco, ‘cannot think who they are and where they stand’, pointed out Fr Basanas, addressing the Salesian Cooperators and Past Pupils of Don Bosco. Fr Basanas who was visiting all the Salesian Houses and Centres of Bangalore Province comprising Karnataka and Kerala reminded those present that one is not faithful to Don Bosco if he or she does not follow or listen to Don Bosco.
Hailing from Argentina, Fr Basanas who was attracted towards Don Bosco and his teachings at the age of six urged all to love each other, quoting the day’s gospel. Don Bosco who was a diocesan priest founded the Salesian Congregation after Francis de Sales of France who was a bishop of Geneva. Don Bosco drew his spiritual strength and charism from St Francis de Sales who became noted for his deep faith and his gentle approach. Don Bosco collected neglected boys of 16 or 17 years of age and looked after them. The humble beginning began to bear fruit and has now spread to more than 135 countries. The promise the boys made at that time led to form the Salesian Cooperators, Salesian Congregation of priests and later Salesian Sisters to look after girls.
Don Bosco’s work was service-oriented which he did out of love. According to the Book of Revelation, the fruit of Resurrection is love, as we are still in the Easter season and it makes mention of heavenly Jerusalem. There will not be any more cries and tears, stressing on Christian Hope. We pray – “May your kingdom come,’ which is the kingdom of peace, justice and love. Instead, we see the other kingdom coming with more and more violence and mass killings. We have seen the killing in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. A Salesian was killed yesterday in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world. Two other Salesians were killed on February 15, 2019, in Africa where Fr Basanas worked for over two decades. Seeing all these developments, we think the kingdom is not coming. At this stage, one sees the conflict between the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom. In this scenario, it is not easy to see Christian hope. The Rector Major (head of the Salesian Congregation) is very sad about the knife culture. He sent an official letter of encouragement addressing the present situation to all the Salesians of the world.
The envoy of Rector Major warned against eye for an eye and retribution. He called for the Christian stand (not to kill the killers). Jesus loved us unconditionally and gave us hope. We should imbibe the ideals of patience, love and hope as this Sunday invites all to opt for. Paul and Barnabas had to undergo tribulations and hardships and faced persecutions. Those who left families, parents, brothers or sisters would get reward 100 fold. Uncountableare the alumni of Don Bosco. Persecution is the salary to follow Jesus. However, Jesus said ‘I will give you 100 more in persecution’.
The Christian life is simple, Fr Basanes who travelled all over the county said. During his recent visit to Davengere, he was taken to the hostel and to the dormitory. A little boy opened his cupboard, though it was not well arranged. But the small boy showed three oranges kept inside and he took one of them and presented to him, Fr Basanas said and added that kingdom of God is growing. Good news is much more than bad news around us. The little boy’s gesture indicated Salesians have joy, generosity and love. The world is collapsing is not true. All need to continue enjoying life like this Easter time with hope for men and women of goodwill.
Expressing happiness on his visit to Karnataka and Kerala, he said the Church as a whole has good roots, it is vibrant and deeply grown and the Salesians are part of this dynamic Church.
Others concelebrated the Mass were Fr M K George, Rector and Fr Freddie Pereira, Vice Rector and delegate (spiritual animator) of the Cooperators. Fr Freddie also accompanies the visitor from Rome everywhere.
The Cooperators honoured Fr Basanas with a bouquet and a shawl.