The Fourth Commandment or be ‘SUPERIOR’

Jesus and Master

                                  No slave is greater than his master

Jn 15:18-21. –Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

Many of the Churches of today are sites not only of pilgrimage, but attract a lot of visitors from around the World. The Gift of God-given talents and the work of human hands come together in awesome testimony when people out of gratitude come as architects, sculptors, musicians etc. to leave their marks in the structure of the Building of a Church.

The Church is a place not just for meeting community, but as a community in Communion with Jesus to Hear the Word of God and come out of it, to live by that Word amongst the community. We do then know that Jesus lives amongst us daily as we go through life in the midst of families and communities. So why does then Jesus say – “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

Why should a community of members all going to the same Church, hate one another?The Churches are named after many Saints but we find that Our Lady Mother Mary particularly prominent among them. We were Blessed with a home opposite ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Succour’ in Mumbai in the growing years of my young daughters. We had the guidance of the Redemptorists Priests who are known for their skill in teaching the application of the Scriptures with regards to our daily lives.

Being in the suburbs of Mumbai, as a young housewife, it was rather shocking to hear the Parish Priest bring out issues publicly at the pulpit to address them, for it sure helped me as so my family. So when he admonished the Community for creating DIVIDE in the name of language and regions like being from Kerala, or Mangalore or Goa all parts of India and all come for worship in the common place of the Church in the name of Christ, it sure struck a deep chord in me. For then being new in the community, I didn’t belong to any of these committees or groups which were out to show off their ‘superiority’ in various ways, but our children and we did feel it’s impact.

The people from Kerala had the ‘Superior’ feeling that their land was where Saint Thomas first stepped into India…..The Christians from Goa are a very confused lot because I heard many say that they are ‘Portuguese’ and many do not relate to India, Hindi or other communities. The Anglo-Indians are different because they think that they do not belong to India and as such they ridicule openly all the others on account of the color of their skin or their cultures. And bewildered we saw them all look down on each other and the result does affect the Church because many committees which ought to come together and work for the Good of all, be it in the management of schools or the funds for Growth or the Needy, gets affected by the decisions of people.

When we have Elders in the community whom we often meet at the Church as we worship together, then walk past you outside without showing any recognition, it does rankle at first. But as Elders we learn to take it in our stride. The problems arises when we have to deal with answering the questions of young minds such as our children whom we teach to be polite and greet one another as ONE in the midst of community. They are bewildered and lost when they are rebuffed with silence or cold stares by Christian Elders in the name of languages…..or community, when we all have to CONFORM as teaches Jesus through the Church – for the Communion in Community.

Further when we then share regarding the Truth of the Church, it has been my ‘not so good’ experience that we become the object of ‘HATE’ as shares Jesus above. So questions I did have then, as I do today when Jesus teaches again and again in the Churches all over the World and I saw my family brought up lovingly by my Parents – disintegrate to such an extent that a sibling died – neglected and unloved, my Father died in sorrow and the Story of the plight of a Widow – my Mother Mercy’s battle with loneliness and despair ongoing even as we as a family are doing our best to help our child battle Cancer.

When it comes to family, I have some who are from other religion come into extended families and we welcome them as family in Christ…but it is sad to see Baptized Christians who came into our family have CUT UP because they think we are Inferior to them. So be it the Anglo Indians or the Mangaloreans or the Syro-Malabar from Kerala, we have them all as family except that we are all DIVIDED by such a big WALL put up by Hypocrisy that it is sad to see Worship in the name of Jesus every Sunday but His Words of Repentance and Reconciliation fall on deaf ears and stone hearts which does not yield to the pleas of an old Mother Mercy to see her children in Unity and Peace – with all as family.

When Jesus says that there is no Sin that is not worthy of being FORGIVEN if we repent, then how come we have just no common grounds to come together as a family in any Church..? How can we have common grounds if we even fail to come forth to communicate today with the advent and advantage of the Internet?

I cannot blame the Priests for they are doing their best in their capacity as I saw wherever in the World we have gone for Mass. I have to specially thank Fr. Tony, Fr. Franklin, Fr. Frankie, Fr. Gregory and Fr. Peter (God bless his Soul) for raising so many topics in the community as they stood in place of Jesus in the pulpit answering many of my queries as I was SEEKING then in the privacy of my heart…and was awestruck when Jesus answered through this third person standing at the pulpit….!! It was like He was talking just addressing my issues as I sat among the congregation, those SEEKING questions raised in contemplation in my home as I lived among family and community….

So even as after 13 years we left Chembur for Abu Dhabi, I was consoled when an enlightened Mind guided me not to despair leaving this Church, for Jesus will be there everywhere and I am thankful for this and share it because it is the absolute truth of my life since then. Wherever we have gone in this World, we do have Churches and it is with utmost humility I share this awesome truth of Jesus answering our many SEEKING of Truth in the context of it arising in our lives….And now we have the DGO through the Internet to guide as even when we are busy with our lives be it anywhere on the planet.

So when as a family, we 4 children were Blessed to avail of many Blessings through the hard Christian work of our Parents, it is heartbreaking to see the sufferings of this Mother Mercy or know the utter sorrow of a younger sibling in pain and affliction at the tragedy unfolding in front of his eyes of his family being intentionally divided by Elders and this cost him his life and his children abandoned by many, when they all should have been thriving in this land of dreams of my father as he dreamt and shared with us. I remember as I was the eldest and since the age of 5 saw the hard work of my Parents as they struggled to raise a family on honest hard-worked income.

Their lives in their old age should have been good and fruitful…but the decision of living alone far away from her children …….is unfortunately brought about by the decisions of another Christian family from the same Parish in Chembur. This story has been aired publicly by our daughter in her blog – as she is now old enough to feel and act as she sees the helplessness of this Grandmother who helped raise her – being subjected to neglect and abuse….yes, emotional and physical abuse.

So why shouldn’t this family be available to talk and help reconcile issues between their daughter and my brother’s family? These family members are prominent members in the Community as they are Counselor and Preacher to other families and youth groups.

But we have been made aware that there is another factor among us Christians which apparently was not a ‘factor’ when the families got united in this  OLPS Church, Chembur in the midst of community as Witness..! Yes, I am told that they are SUPERIOR Christians from Kerala from the SyroMalabar community and that they look down on all the other Latin Christians be it in Kerala or Mumbai or elsewhere….

So while this SyroMalabar factor had entered painfully very early in my life when growing up with people of many faiths in Mumbai which is a metropolitan city, I was shocked to the core at the age of 12 when common Christian friends from Kerala told our help, the maid that we are all Christians but that they were ‘SUPERIOR’..!! Young as I was, I was revolted and indignation was the outcome but our Parents were calm and told us of the ugly truth back in Kerala, the land where Saint Thomas set foot in India 2000 years ago to bring Christ in our midst…but the CONVERSION which He asks from the past is not accepted for it does suit to be ‘Superiors’ for then knees do not bow down to SERVE not will any effort made to RESOLVE or RECONCILE…………

But the Church teaches me and so as the eldest sibling I got up to ask relevant questions in the family….and is now not shocked to be rebuffed or CUT off for nearly two decades from my siblings or our nephews and nieces as family. When we cannot live as teaches Jesus, then we lay claim to so many falsehood as being SUPERIORS, for how can we lay claim to ‘ignorance’ as SUPERIORITY? It is just arrogance. Can we just pretend a blind eye to these problems? Most certainly, I do not want my children following this path of disobedience nor that it should spread to our grandchildren or their communities.

Every Christian is essentially a CONVERT from their past. So if one has a fairer skin or one’s ancestors were from Syria or they were Hindu Brahmins, Jews or Whites or Blacks in the US or Australia….or their ancestors were kings or even a Pope, does that mean we do not have to get up each day to seek, obey and SERVE – to be found WORTHY ? We then see the significance of why Pope Francis goes down on his knees to wash the feet of – be they Women, juvenile prison inmates or Muslims…all are the sisters and brothers of Christ. So if Jesus was persecuted for bringing out this Great Truth, many who willingly followed Him in their Actions of the Faith, were similarly persecuted.

So while I will continue more on the Teachings of OLPS Church in Chembur which laid the foundation for my journey with Christ… is also a revelation as to why then the Church is kept away from the lives of people back home in their Domestic Church – our families and home as I see from my sorrowful experiences as my family expanded.

“..The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude.23    

Saint Cyprian (c.200-258), Bishop of Carthage and martyr – What Christ did and taught was the will of God: humility of behavior, firmness of faith, restraint in speech, righteousness of action, compassion in deed, uprightness in attitude; being incapable of wrongdoing oneself but able to support being its victim; maintaining peace with the brethren; caring for the Lord with all one’s heart, loving the Father in him and fearing the God; preferring absolutely nothing to Christ since he prefers nothing to us; cleaving inseparably to his love; standing by his cross with determination and trust; showing steadfastness in our confession of faith when we have to fight for his name and honor; demonstrating that confidence under torture that upholds us in combat and the perseverance in death that wins for us the crown. This is what it means to desire to be heir with Christ. This is what it is to obey God’s precepts, to carry out the Father’s will ………..“No slave is greater than his master”