To read the texts click on the texts: Rev 11:19a; 12:1-6a,10ab; 1 Cor 15:20-27; Lk 1:39-56
Today we celebrate two significant and related events. These are The Assumption of our Blessed Mother and Independence Day in India. Both are celebrated on the same date: August 15.
The reason why these events are related is because they are both about Freedom. Independence is celebrated as freedom from foreign rule and domination to self rule and governance and the Assumption may be seen as a freedom from this limited and incomplete life to the bliss of eternal and perpetual life.
The verses which make up the Gospel text of today are commonly known as “The Magnificat” or Mary’s hymn of praise. It seems to have been modeled on the prayer of Samuel’s mother, Hannah, in 1 Sam 2:1-10 and contains many Old Testament concepts and phrases. It communicates a picture of Mary as someone quite steeped in scripture. It reveals God primarily as a God of the poor. God is the one who will vindicate the poor by removing the rich and mighty from their positions and raising the lowly.
The hymn may be seen to be divided into four parts. The first part consists of praise to God for what he has done in and for Mary; the second part speaks of God’s power, holiness and mercy; the third part shows God acting as a Sovereign in reversing social conditions in favor of the poor and downtrodden; and the fourth and final part recalls God’s mercy and promises to Israel.
The hymn speaks of the effects of the Lord’s coming for all of God’s people. It begins on a note of salvation as Mary acknowledges her dependence on God. It was the grace of God that sustained and brought her to the position in which she finds herself. She has not achieved anything on her own, it is all a gift of God and thus, Mary acknowledges her humble state, referring to herself as God’s servant. She is to be called “blessed’ because God, in his mercy and goodness, had raised her to this level.
God has shown this mercy and goodness to the poor by showing the strength of his arm, by scattering the proud, and deposing the powerful. The poor, on the other hand, have been raised, and the hungry have been filled. God remembers not only those of old but also the present generation. He is a God not only of the past, but also a God of the present, the now.
The stress on God as a God primarily of the poor stands out in Mary’s hymn of praise. In a world where the rich seem to be getting richer and the poor, poorer, one wonders whether the Magnificat is a hymn that can make sense to the poor, to those of low degree. Yet, it is important to remember that God’s ways are not our ways and so, the poor must, in confidence, sing this song as their song. The confidence with which Mary sings this song runs through the entire hymn. She uses past tense to denote God’s future actions, thus expressing that God will indeed accomplish his will, and the poor will be vindicated. What is important for the poor to realize is that they, like Mary, need to continue to open themselves to all that God wants to do in them. They need to continue to acknowledge their dependence on God by doing all that is required of them and then, leaving the rest in his capable and strong hands.
Even as we do celebrate these events, we need to ask ourselves serious questions both as Indians and Christians. Can we be really free when in Delhi a woman is raped and dehumanized? Can we be really free when officials stand by and watch and even participate in these dastardly acts? Can we be free when female foeticide is so high in our country and where in many places the girl child is seen as a liability and burden rather than a blessing? Can we be really free when we are so intent on destroying our natural resources for selfish ends and then have to wonder whether we will have enough rain to see us through the year? Can we call ourselves Christians when we will not do anything about these atrocities and continue with our lives as if it does not concern us?
Are we really free? Are we truly Christian?
Let the celebrations of Independence Day and the Assumption of our Blessed Mother be wake-up calls for us to rouse ourselves from our slumber and do something tangible to right the wrongs.
Thanks for contextualizing the Feast, and raising serious concernsReplyDelete
Dear Fr. ErrolReplyDelete
Wishing you a very happy feast and may we have the courage to right the wrongs in this world, especially India as the poor and the downtrodden are easily by far are made scape goats and victims of injustice and they keep suffering from the so called rulers(rich, selfish, greedy personalities)
I share a link of Goa Su-raj party(whose I am a life member and Floriano Lobo is my friend) against the famous outspoken tiatrist Francis De Tuem. This is what is happenning for speaking the truth, being bold. Is this democracy, we keep thinking. Is this freedom, we keep asking.
Best Regards and have a great day
MEN ARE NOT SAVED BECAUSE OF WORKSReplyDelete
1. Meritorious works cannot save you.
2. Works of the Law of Moses cannot save you.
3. Works of righteousness (good deeds) cannot save you.
Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, (NKJV)
Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (NASB)
Titus 3:5 then he saved us---not because we were good enough to be saved, but because of his kindness and pity--- by washing away our sins and giving us the new joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit(The Living Bible ---Paraphrased)
Ephesians 2:8-9....you have been saved...9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV)
Ephesians 2:8-9 ...have been saved...9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (NASB)
Ephesians 2:8-9 ...you have been saved...9 Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take credit for it.(The Living Bible---Paraphrased)
Galatians 2:16 "knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law..... (NKJV)
Galatians 2:16 and yet we Jewish Christian know very well thatwe cannot become right with God by obeying our Jewish law,...(The Living Bible--Paraphrased)
WATER BAPTISM IS NOT A WORK.
1.It is not a work of righteousness.
2. It is not a good deed.
3. Men are not baptized because they are good enough.
4. Water baptism is not administered as a reward for good deeds.
5. Baptism is not a work of the Law of Moses.
Water baptism is so men can be saved. (Marl 16:16)
Water baptism is so men can have their sins forgiven. (Acts 2:38)
FAITH, REPENTANCE, AND CONFESSION ARE NOT WORKS.
1. They are not works of righteousness.
2. They are not good deeds.
3. Men do not believe, repentant, and confess because they are good enough.
4. Faith, repentance, and confession are not works of the Law of Moses.
Faith, repentance, and confession are so men can have their sins forgiven and be saved. (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10)
SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD. But men have to accept that gift through faith, repentance, confession and water baptism.THERE IS NO WORK REQUIRED.
Men can be saved in the time it takes to believe, repent, confess, and be immersed in water.
(Note: Repentance in Acts 2:38 means to change from unbelief and to make the commitment to turn from sin and to turn toward God)
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