Bob Dozes as Thomas Doubts

April 12, 2015 at 10:49 am

Which is worse a Doubting Thomas or a Dozing Bob? As I found myself nodding off during a good, but didactic homily, I wondered if I should just leave Mass. My upper torso was literally leaning into the aisle, I am sure, to the amusement of some. I decided to stay and I was glad I did.  I was pleased to be reminded of our weekend in Chennai where we visited both the tomb of the Apostle Thomas as well as the Mount where he was slain.   But it was during communion when my spirit was captured as the congregation of 250 filled our little church with inspiration by singing wholeheartedly:

As the deer pants for water,

So my soul longs after you

You alone are my heart’s desire

And I long to worship you


You alone are my strength and shield

To you alone may my Spirit yield

You alone are my heart’s desire

And I long to worship you


I want you more than gold or silver

Only you can satisfy

You alone are the real joy giver

And the apple of my eye


I will truly miss this little congregation that is so great in its devotion.

What’s Happening This Week

April 12, 2015 at 10:47 am

Our departure from India looms on the horizon.  When I first arrived, I shared some of the wild, weird, bizarre, cultural and political snippets from the local papers.  As we come full circle, here is what is going on this past week as recorded in the Times of India.  Much of what is below are excerpts while I include my observations parenthetically.

Air India grounds two pilots for cockpit fight

Goa gov’t minister defends wife’s western culture-rape link……(he) endorses his wife’s public statement that western culture’s influence has increased rapes in India…and her call to Hindus not to send their children to convent schools.  “What’s wrong with my wife’s statement?  If Hindu dharma has to survive then someone has to take responsibility and create awareness….”   ( Seriously?)

Rave party at resort raided…..Most of the arrested are business men.  Police conducting raid found several scantily clad girls dancing in the party.  82 people including 16 women were arrested.  ( nothing in today’s papers about protests being held where couples kiss in public…and get arrested).

Will Maharashtra go meat-free?  Govt Tells High Court that Beef Ban Just the Beginning, May Stop Slaughter of Other Animals Too.   ( Mumbai/Bombay is in state of Maharastra.  Modi came out of a conservative group that is trying to impose Hindu practices on general public).

Bodies in trunks raise honour killing spectre.   (Likely a  young couple that married out of love across castes that may have been murdered by order of village elders).

Church attack figures under Sonya Gandhi match those under Modi….Even as Narendra Modi government faces criticism for the attacks on churches and Christian institutions……

Enraged ex-royal runs SUV over man….he has been infamous for his behavior.  He was accused of keeping two minors – a girl and boy—as slaves

Will address your woes  Modi assures Muslims…..Modi has promised to address grievances of all sections of the Muslim society with special focus on ameliorating their social conditions and meeting educational requirements

Lots of articles on the environment:

  • Choking India gets air quality index   ( result of Obama visit…India’s pollution much worse than China).
  • Turn off street lights on full moon nights….Calling for lifestyle changes to counter climate change,  Modi referred to tradition in villages where grandmothers would teach grandchildren how to thread a needle on full moon nights.   He admits westerners will ridicule.
  • Cooking fires poison air we breathe says gov’t study….780,000,000 Indians cook on open fires using traditional chulhas  from which fumes trigger up to 30% of fine-particulate ambient pollution and are a major source of black carbon.  One million people die prematurely in India each year because of the simple act of cooking.
  • Picture with caption that describes photo of burning dry leaves, plastic and other forms of waste.
  • Ahead of Paris talks, Modi demands access to N-fuels….”the world gives lecture on climate but if we tell them that we want to go on the nuclear energy path …and ask them to provide necessary  fuel but they refuse…”
  • Modi also “ laments India’s culture of respecting nature has not been sufficiently projected on the global arena.”   ( Hard for me to swallow…given garbage everywhere, burning garbage, visible black or white exhaust fumes from trucks and autorickshaws, not to mention that cow dung is used for fuel and cooking by hundreds of millions.  Since cows are gods, people do not believe that burning dung could possibly be harmful.   Also, one of the states is harvesting the lumber of endangered trees that are supposedly protected.   I see no respect for nature.  He went on talk about how Indians worship nature as a God).

30 farmers dead in 4 days as rain, hail hit north India….Farm distress has peaked as crops are hit by unseasonal showers.    (  Farmers borrow to plant.  This is harvest time and when a crop is wiped out, they cannot pay back loans.  The loans are not from banks but from wealthy individuals and families who charge interest rates of 25 percent.   Already at subsistence level,  they feel no recourse but to commit suicide.  Very commonplace).

And lastly…

Protesters halt traffic after road rage murder….a car brushed a motorcycle and the five occupants of the car bludgeoned to death the 38 year old driver of the motorcycle in front of his 11 and 13 year old sons.

Violence uncalled for…Delhi has poor record when it comes to spur of the moment violence and road rage.   (8 examples given that have occurred over the past 8 months along these lines) :  A biker was brutally beaten up by a man and woman outside a temple after his bike touched their car.  (  Driving is unbelievably chaotic and it is not unusual to have little bumps occur…I frequently see folks outside of their vehicles screaming at each other.  Fortunately, there are no guns here….).

I do not read the papers as much as I did in the past.

Easter Is A Verb

April 5, 2015 at 6:36 am

Happy Resurrection Day.  I recently read in an Indian newspaper that the word Easter was the name of a pagan festival  that was baptized by the early Christians and turned into a Christian celebration.   The author may be waging a one-person campaign to change this day’s name to Resurrection Day.

Kathleen and I went to Mass this morning and discovered that the congregation was only a quarter to  a third of its normal size.  Most Indians go to the Easter vigil Mass on Saturday evening.  In line with India’s culture of functioning chaos,  there were no scheduled lectors, Eucharistic ministers, or ushers.  Soon after I was seated, a gentleman asked me if I would be willing to the read the first reading and responsorial psalm.  It was a blessing to read and to look out at my Indian brothers and sisters as they listened carefully to Peter’s proclamation in the Acts of the Apostles that  “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.”

Fr Packiaraj began his homily with this phrase and described Jesus as the finger of God.  He then also emphasized how we too are anointed.  Christ is alive in us and in our world.  He quoted a verse from  a fellow Jesuit who wrote poetry in the late 19th century, Gerard Manley Hopkins :  “Let him easter in us , be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east…”   As yeast leavens dough,  may Jesus eastering within us cause us to be transformed so that we may be the loving and forgiving presence of God for others.

Easter Blessings