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Joseph PUTHENPURAKAL, Guwahati says,
FAMILIARITY WITH THE WORD OF GOD
By jputhen@gmail.com
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Guwahati, Apr. 4. Following up the report on Fr. Frank Moloney`s Good Night to the members of GC26

FAMILIARITY WITH THE WORD OF GOD

``... in a church and congregation where enthusiasm for the Word of God was slowing down significantly.``

The above line is from a report on Fr. Frank Moloney`s  good night talk to the Chapter Members as reported by www.donboscoindia.com  today (April 04-2008). I would like to link the above-mentioned quote to a discussion we had just this morning [even before I had read the report in donboscoindia. Let me give a title to our discussion in the form of a question:
`` How`s that  so many are no more missionary minded?``

The first disciples of Jesus and those who followed them could not but share with others their experience of Him. In the strength of that experience and the personal attachment to Jesus Christ, Christians have succeeded in overcoming their difficulties and be of service to their people, the best service being to share their faith in their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Today we too are called to share our faith in the Lord in the midst of difficulties. John Paul II speaks of some of these difficulties both within the Church and outside her (cf. Redemptoris Missio 36). However, all of them have something to do with a diminishing missionary spirit.

The desire to spread the faith which characterized the early Christians was put on the back-burner for the vast majority of ``Christians`` by the time it reached the Second Vatican Council. In fact, the concept of ``missionary`` shrunk so badly that only some bishops were called ``missionary`` bishops, and a few priests were ``missionary`` priests, the vast majority of ``Christians`` helping them with their ``prayers`` and financial support! All were ``busy``, of course! Most of the bishops and priests being ``busy`` with their ``pastoral`` duties. The Council woke up to this undesirable dichotomy and said in no uncertain terms that the Church is missionary by nature (cf. AG 2), a theologically revolutionary insight that should have made all theology ``missionary`` theology, and all ``pastoral`` work turning out enthusiastic missionary-minded laity to serve the spread of the faith. But that is still on the way to happen. Many are busy with their ``specialization`` unable to see its relevance for the spread of the faith and the growth of the Church. ``Yes, indirectly we too are at the service of the Church, some may retort!`` But our missionary obligation cannot be direct or indirect. It is always our very ``nature``. It may explicit or implicit, depending on the circumstance. One may not be able to share the faith ``explicitly`` in Afghanistan, but may be able to do so in Northeast India. But all of us are ``missionaries`` - doing one`s best to share the Good News in whatever circumstances or specializations we are in.

This will be more possible when we are able to reverse the process hinted at by Fr. Frank Molony, `` ... enthusiasm for the Word of God was slowing down significantly ...`` Familiarity with the Word of God is bound to ensure our missionary spirit at all levels.
(J. Puthenpurakal SDB)
[IND-ING]
                       

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