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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Pastoral message of the month - December 2009


Holy Night, but a Silent Night?

    In the year 1818, on the eve of the Christmas day, a song heard for the first time in St. Nicholas church, a village church in Oberndorf, near Salzburg, Austria. The assistant priest Rev. Fr. Joseph Mohr and the choir director Franz Xaver Gruber composed a song and sung with the accompaniment of Fr. Mohr’s guitar. There comes into bloom an ever-green carol song, “Silent Night Holy Night” (Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht), which still stands the best amidst the test of the times.

    On that “Holy Night” the Son of God incarnated for the human liberation from clutches of bondages, however, was that night really “Silent Night”? On that night when Christ came down from heaven to earth, the soldiers were running to behead the young babes, while the shepherds were running to kneel down at the manger. On that night, the cries of mothers were echoing around the manger seeing the blood of their babes, on other side the king’s patience was running out due to the birth of the King of Kings.

    Today’s night too, not that silent still, as it was in 2000 years ago. The cries of natural world due to heavy misuse of resources are at its zenith, the cries of starving millions, including babes are too in its heights, due to lack of living avenues. Millions of people are still running, some to save their lives from the destructive forces and destructive weapons, others to meet their both ends and some to grab other’s fortunes to amass wealth. The “cries and runnings” are still flowing without any stubborn hindrance.

    We have come to a juncture, to re-think ourselves in order to qualify our Christian lives in the midst of life-threatening structures of today. The pertinent question I would like to ask in this context is: Can we pose for a moment to have a deliberate thinking over the “Cries and Running” which break the “Silence” amidst “Holiness”? Can we ponder over Christian values in order to bring its essence for wiping out “Cries and Running”?  Can we post Christian Praxis in our lives to transform “Cries and Running” to “Happiness and Peaceful Living”?

   Youth, a vibrant age in our life time, has the strength to act as a catalyst to bring positive changes among the negative forces. Let this year’s “Holy Night” gives an impetus to you all to promote “changes in attitudes” in order to labor for fullness of other’s life too, for Christ’s incarnation rooted in “… have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Let us strive hard in one accord to bring back that “Celebration of Life” in the Eden Gardens to this Earth Gardens. Let me conclude with Mor Ephrem’s prayer from Hymns on the Nativity 1:95. He sings,

On this day a gift came out to us without asking for it;
let us then give alms to those who cry out and beg from us.


With heartfelt wishes of a joyful and blessed “Holy Night”, let me sum up this “silent thought”.

Fr. Jomy Joseph, Switzerland

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