• 1
  • 2
  • 3
11 22 33

Most Rev. Oswald Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

2018 Easter Message By Most Rev. Oswald Lewis
Holy Week Services in the City Parishes

Shepherd’s Voice : SEPTEMBER 2018

Come September, all eyes are on 8th September. Hurriedly all mark their diaries, for it is a day of celebration, a day of commemoration. Who can forget his/her mother’s birthday? Yes, none will forget. Children surround their mother on her birthday, expressing their utmost love with flowers and gifts. They appreciate the sacrifice made by their mother and they remember suffering she has undergone for their sake. The mother in turn plants a sweet kiss on their cheek.

There is much more joy and devotion while celebrating the birthday of Mother Mary. Preceded by a Novena, preparation for nine days, all children of Mary gather around her with great devotion, for she is the Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church, Mother of all of us. On 3rd March 2018, Pope Francis declared Mary, as the Mother of the Church. He just endorsed what was declared earlier by Pope Paul VI, at the end of the third session of the Second Vatican Council. It was Vatican II that discovered the title “Mary, the Mother of the Church.” The last chapter of its Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, was devoted to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Mother of the Church. It is the crowing chapter of Lumen Gentium as Pope Paul VI said. “As we all know, the Council dedicated to Our Lady the whole of the eighth chapter of the great Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Thus placing at the summit, as it were, of this stupendous doctrinal edifice the sweet and luminous figure of Mary.”

It was after much hesitation and debate that the Council decided to place its doctrine on Mary as part of this document and not separately. In fact, 1114 Fathers of the Council considered that it is advisable to have it as part of the document on the Church and 1074 were in favour of a separate treatment. Fears of exalting Mary beyond limits or of lessening due reverence, were behind this division in the Council, which finally decided for the inclusion of its doctrine on Mary within the document on the Church. And wisely too, for Mary is the perfect model and crown of the living Church and its spiritual mother, as all generations have held her to be. Vatican II said “Taught by the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother. In fact the Council called her the Mother of all men and particularly of the faithful.”

So it is this mother that we are honoring by celebrating her birthday. Lighting a few candles and offering floral tributes is just an external expression of what is within. Our filial love and prayerful devotion should flow from within. It should be like that of Jesus, who though God, considered himself the son of Mary and loved, respected and obeyed her. It is often repeated “Ad Jesum per Mariam” (To Jesus through Mary). We, who want to be like Jesus, abide with him, and live in him, can succeed only if Mary leads us to Jesus. Let the feast of the Nativity of Mary be an occasion to rededicate ourselves as sons and daughters of Mary that she may intercede for us and lead us to Jesus.

Girl Child Day is also celebrated on the day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because Mary stands as a model for all girls and women and a great example for the rest of us as to how we need to respect girls and women. Accepting the will of God, and later on seeking the will of God in everything she did, Mary proved to be the perfect daughter of the Father. In the company of Joseph, the just and chaste husband, she lived her virginity to the full as a wife. By bringing forth the Saviour and through her tender care of the Infant, Mary was the Mother, par excellence. Being the “Woman of the Gospel,” Mary accompanied Jesus in his ministry. She walked the path of Calvary suffered the pain and anguish of her Son to become the co-redeemer. She joined the Apostles in the cenacle and received the Holy Spirit to become the Mother of the Church. We see every aspect of perfect womanhood in her.

In the wake of the shameful incidents happening in our country, it becomes imperative to celebrate the Day of the Girl Child. I for one do not understand why such things are happening. Why have men become so disrespectful, so immoral, so violent and so inhuman? From dawn to dusk, we hear and read through social media, the different types of atrocities towards female infants, children, teenage girls, adults and women. There was a hue and cry recently in our country, when Thomson Reuters Foundation announced that India is the worst country for women. The survey conducted by this Foundation indicated that India has been ranked as the most dangerous country out of the World’s ten worst countries for women, behind Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. The worst areas of violence are sexual assault, harassment against women, human trafficking, domestic violence, sex slavery, child labour, dowry system and child marriage.

All of us, boys and girls, men and women, must learn to respect one self. I respect myself; I am a child of God, created in His image. I am a human being an individual, a person. I have my identity as a boy, girl, man or woman. I have my personality; I have a beautiful body, a gift of God, which I respect. Once I respect myself and my body, I will learn to respect others. Among others are girls and women whom I should respect and welcome the birth of a girl child. Respect for life and give a chance to children to be born, both male and female, is the need of the hour. Then the girl child should be given every facility and good care to grow; educate the girl child, treat her as you treat a boy. There should be no discrimination between boys and girls. Both should be treated equally. There are some social evils, such as dowry system, child marriage, wife is a slave of the husband, denial of right to property, narrow mentality of considering girl child as ‘property of some other family’ etc. It is time that we begin to be conscious of the evils and make others aware of the same.

+ Rt. Rev. Dr. Oswald Joseph Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

© 2019 -Diocese Of Jaipur