Hope you are all doing well.
You might have heard about the flood in Kerala, South India. That is my neighboring state. Due to incessant rain for few days, the whole state sank into the water. Hundreds and thousands of people lost their homes and their properties. At least according to the press report, 360 peo-ple have died because of the flood. They need tremendous help at this time. Help from everywhere in India and even from outside India, they have been receiving a lot. I would request you to pray for them. Now that the rain has stopped, the flood is subsiding and the people are trying to recover to the normal life slowly. Let us keep them in our prayers.
Another burning issue in the country is the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the United States and even outside the States. The problem in our country is bigger to us because we locally feel the pain of it. I am not trying to go into the details of it, because as persons called by God, it is up to Him to condemn the Called, and as civil citizen, it is up to the legal system to deal with the person. But there is something that I can tell you, to keep praying for the people of God in the first place, and more primarily for the victims who were preyed up on by the shep-herds themselves. The pain we cannot understand but we can be sure it is beyond measure. So, it is our duty to pray for them.
One thing for sure is that the devil is an untiring hard worker. Even from the beginning of the world he has been trying all his best to ruin the creation of God. He is wise and cunning. He knows how to attack and tackle the people of God. We need to be extremely cautious about him. As St. Peter says, "Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour". (1 Pet: 5:8b) He is like a roaring lion which means the lion is hungry (Psalm 104:21). The roaring lion metaphorically understood as the hungry devil, is really ferocious and anxious for the prey. The hunger of the devil is like the fire of hell which could never be quenched. That is why the devil needs to keep working with all his energy both of mind and his intellect. That is why the trouble is always creeping in the Church all the time in various ways. Better we beware!
Another thing I want to tell you is that, every Christian or Catholic is Christian not because of any human person, the fellow Christian, the priests, the Bishops, the Cardinals or even the Pope himself. Our being Christian is primarily because of our faith in the Lord Jesus and because of our relationship with Him, not because of any human person. These human persons, fellow Christians to the Pope are our companions in our Faith in the Lord. These priests, Bishops, Cardinals and Pope are people more primarily human beings called in a special way by God to help the people of God to travel in a better way towards God. So, our prime motive should be only our faith in Christ and our affiliation to His Church. Nothing should separate us from Christ and His love. As St. Paul says "What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will an-guish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans: 8:35-39) So, whatever might happen should not be a reason to separate us from Christ and His Church. At the end we will rise up victoriously.
I am not at all trying to justify any act of any cleric of the Church. But all I am saying is, that should not be a reason for any one of us to go astray from God and His Church. We also need to tell this to others that they need not consider this crisis to be a reason for going astray. Because Jesus Christ is our Lord and God, not these clerics, with all due respect to their vocation to be the men of God who called them not because they are qualified but are just men from among men.
Life has meaning only when we get through all these kinds of tough moments without which life can not be complete. The crisis we face now within and out of the Church may be a time planned by God to make Her more committed to Him and to make Her stronger in Her faith and serving Him more ardently. Let us take these moments of pain, shame and disappointment as a time of ordeal as that of Christ whose suffering ended up victoriously, also ours would end up gloriously. Because as Jesus says, "I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world". (Jn: 16:33). "Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanks-giving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen". (Rev: 7:12)
Waiting for that eternal glory,
Yours in Christ,
Fr. A. Antony