Open-pit megamines, deforestation, eviction of families and whole communities. Indigenous peoples and traditional communities threatened by those interested in mining their territories. Pollution of the water, the land, and the air.

Mining transportation channels impact hundreds of communities living along the pipelines or railways that export the vast majority of our minerals.

Every day, Christians all around the world proclaim that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Every time we make the sign of the cross we are blessing ourselves or blessing others in the name of the Holy Trinity.

In 2011 the SVDs in Hungary celebrated the 10th anniversary of its mission summer camps. These camps which were started in 2001 have drawn hundreds of young people from across Hungary, both practicing and non-practicing Catholics, even those who are not so familiar with the Christian faith.

The summer camps had a very humble beginning. It started with one single camp, but later on, since more and more young people were interested in participating, it developed into three camps every summer. Each year 300 hundred children and youth attend these camps.

Since the beginning, these camps were called Mission Camps for a couple of reasons. First of all it is a means of mission animation. During the camps the participants are introduced to the mission realities. There are usually presentations on a particular mission country or mission experience given by a missionary. The SVD confreres who are from other countries contribute to the missionary atmosphere of the camps. Through their presence during the camps the participants are introduced to different cultures where the SVD confreres come from through songs, dance and even food.

Secondly, the camps are also aimed at bridging the gaps that exist within the Hungarian society, between the haves and have-nots, between the Hungarian majorities and the gypsy minorities, between those who come from peaceful family back grounds and those who come from broken homes. It is always heart-breaking to witness that although these disparities might be difficult to overcome at the beginning of the camps by the end of the camp differences are pushed to the background so much so that true friendships and mutual acceptance take place as the fruit of these camps.

Thirdly, mission awareness is given to the participants through mission oriented programs such as making handicrafts which will be sold to support a certain mission country or a particular mission project. The participants engage in visiting the nearby nursing homes and giving some faith-related presentations at the city centre.

The fruit of these camps can be seen not only in the growing interest for these camps, but also in those who had come to the previous camps would volunteer to be helpers; and some religious vocations and a couple good marriages have also emerged from these camps.

Fransiskus Magung SVD, Mission Secretary

At our parish in Nysa we have a group of 50 people who are involved in New Evangelization. They are well prepared for this work. Most of them finished special courses organized by various Schools of New Evangelization in Poland or abroad.

The catechists have been indeed a great support to the Church in the evangelization of the people. They accompany more closely the life of the communities, especially, where the priest cannot be present continuously.

It is worth noting that in the last trip to Central America, from the EVD we have placed a special focus on presenting the DOCAT. An evangelizing project which is aimed at making our young people to become aware of the social doctrines of the church and, above all to call them to live according to the basic principles of the Love, Justice and Truth as underlined in the doctrines.

The bible day was celebrated in the Divine Word Centre in Chennai on 9th December 2017. The participants spent the entire day with the living Word of God by means of various games, quiz, skit, etc. Each and every program was based on the bible organized in such a way that the participants were all inspired to read, to study and to be more familiar with the Word of God.

Hundreds of people attended a one day biblical seminar on ‘how to read the Bible’. The seminar was organized by Fr. Valan, SVD as the Biblical Apostolate Coordinator of India - Hyderabad Divine Word Missionaries Province (INH) and Fr. James, SVD as the speaker.

The new biblical project,, for Africa and Madagascar has been officially launched. The program aims at bringing people to experience God’s closeness through an encounter with His Word. As the name suggests, the project is intended primarily, but not exclusively, for the youth. The primary goal of Lectio Youth is to facilitate the encounter with the Word of God through Bible study groups. It is devoted to systematic and regular study and reflection on the Word of God, for young people to be guided and trans- formed by it on the personal and the local community level.

One of the criminals, who were hanged there railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” And he replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

God, be merciful to me, a sinner!

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector deals with two types of prayer (18:9-14) or two contrasting ways of relating to God. As we can note, this story is narrated soon after Jesus’ parable on the necessity of prayer (18:1-8), dealing with an unjust judge and a widow, who prays for justice persistently.

The episode of the healing of the ten lepers in Lk 17:11-19 is part of Lucan Travel Narrative (Lk 9:51-19:44) that describes Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem with his disciples. The episode of the encounter between Jesus and ten lepers begins with the following verse: “On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee.” In the light of the journey that began in Lk 9:51, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face toward Jerusalem”, we understand that Jesus is resolutely moving toward his passion and will meet the fate of a prophet in the holy city.

In the Gospel according to Luke, there are two attitudes of wealthy people that endanger them to experience the divine blessings of God’s kingdom: a) godlessness and b) heartlessness. Firstly, the parable of the rich fool in Lk 12:13-21 is certainly the best example for rich man’s tendency to substitute God with wealth, and his failure to look beyond the material treasures.

Chapter 15 of Luke can be considered the ‘gospel within the Gospel’. Uninterruptedly, Lk narrates three parables of Jesus, all three dealing with the theme of God’s limitless mercy.

1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep (vv.3-7) - the shepherd, who ‘lost’ a sheep and ‘found’ it.
2. The Parable of the Lost Coin (vv.8-10) - the woman, who ‘lost’ a coin and ‘found’ it.
3. The Parable of the Lost Son (vv.11-32) - the Father, who ‘lost’ a son and ‘found’ him back.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead” (v.30). During my studies in the Holy Land (at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem) in 2013, I had the opportunity to go down this perilous road from Jerusalem to Jericho many times with my NT history teacher and classmates. The road connecting the two cities is approximately sixteen miles long and it passes through Wadi Qelt. Geographically, Wadi Qelt is a valley that runs west to east across the Judean desert. Every time, we passed by this road, either our teacher or my classmates reminded one another of how Jesus and his disciples could have walked this part of the desert, and how the parable would have come alive to Jesus’ audience, who were exposed to the imminent risk on this hazardous path.

Jesus experienced God as unconditional love. This profound personal experience of God as love, probably occurred during his baptism, in contrast to the prevalent Jewish understanding of God as lawgiver, led him to proclaim a ‘scandalous gospel’ that was manifested in his liberative ministry of healing and exorcism; the provocative events of dining with tax-collectors, outcasts and sinners; touching lepers; declaring the ritual purity obsolete; allowing women to be his followers and affirming the poor as the beneficiaries of God’s blessings.

“Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mk 10,46-52)

Jesus not only reveals God’s mercy by his teachings, but also by his concrete actions—healings and miracles. All he said and all he did illustrate his Father’s tender mercy. Every act of Jesus in the Gospels, filled with compassion and moved by pity was directed to the sinners and the needy and thus, became an expression of divine mercy. He ministered to the sick and liberated those who were tormented by the evil spirits. He not only restored the sick people to physical wholeness, but also restored them to a filial relationship with the Father. These acts of mercy manifested by Jesus and experienced by people enabled them to recognize that the reign of God is truly an existential reality. In this direction, Cardinal Walter Kasper writes, “Jesus’ existence was totally for others.”

Mt 18,23-35 – Parable of the Unforgiving Servant or the Merciful King?

Why did Jesus use parables in his teachings? It is to help people understand who God is and what his reign or kingdom is like. To Jesus, such parables were the preferred means for communicating the message of the reign of God and its values. So, the parable would begin with, “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to…” Synoptic Gospels contain many parables of God’s mercy that invite the hearers and readers to be merciful like the Father. One such example is Mt 18,23-35 that focuses on how we must show mercy to our fellow human being. Though the original story ends by v.34, the Matthean addition in v.35 transforms this parable into a story on ‘forgiveness’. Moreover, in the context, the parable is preceeded by Peter’s famous question about the limits of forgiveness. Applying this message to his community, the evangelist has beautifully crafted the story on the ‘reciprocity of mercy’ told by Jesus and placed it in the ecclesial context (Community Discourse 18,1-35) to focus on the need for forgiveness in the community.

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