My dear Sisters, Brothers and Children, my dear parishioners, in Christ Jesus,
I am extremely thankful to you for entering into this web-site and I do earnestly request the pleasure of your company in it by being a member of this Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica parish, Fort Cochin. I extend a
warm welcome to you to this faith-loving community. Your presence in this community as ministers and hearers of the Word of God has a paramount significance. I am confident by the grace of God and with your valuable presence and sincere cooperation in this faith-community that we shall develop a close and ever-lasting friendship in the Lord Jesus and experience him in a bond of intimacy and unity in diversity, as we all form one Mystical Body of Christ, with our diversity of heritage, education, formation, culture and language. In other words, let us all become one united community of faith - a Eucharistic-Christ centered Church.
Liturgy is a living reality, ready and easier to experience if we have living faith. Liturgy is the very heart of Christian living. Liturgy means the work that we the baptized Christians/Catholics do collectively and individually to make our tradition, our beliefs, and our faith, work in our lives and in the world around us. It is very same work that Jesus did for his own people in Israel and for the totality of humanity. What we do today in liturgy is only a continuation of what Jesus did while he was alive in this world. What we do symbolically and sacramentally in the church shall continue doing it during the day in all our activities.
Liturgy, according to Vatican Council II, "is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed. It is also the fount from which all her power flows. For the goal of Apostolic endeavour is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism, should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice and to eat the Lord’s supper."
"The Liturgy in its turn moves the faithful filled with the Paschal sacraments to be one in holiness. It prays that they hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith. The renewal in the Eucharist, of the covenant between the Lord and man, draws the faithful and sets them aflame with Christ’s insistent love." [Dei Verbum Nos. 00-00]
Yet it is a sad fact that, practically, we don't conversant with the nature, the meaning, the history, and the rites and the duties of the liturgy. Perhaps this lack of interest in liturgy is connected with the steady decline in the faith of the people. Faith alone can open one’s eyes to the values and the treasures of Christian liturgy. A living faith and Christian love alone can make one participate and share in the liturgy and meaningfully live it daily. This is the reason why some of us thought that the faithful would be greatly helped if we could present to them the meaning of the liturgy;have especially in the context of the liturgical year. Liturgy, as we have learned in the Sunday catechism classes and as we know, is a divine human drama, a living God-man story. God in Jesus Christ invites us to enter into this drama, into this story, and live it out in faith in our daily lives. The history of the liturgy is also very instructive. Without some historical details and without an insight into the evolution of liturgical ideas and rituals, no one can understand the present state of Christian worship. Yet, we know that unless the practical aspects and the appealing character of liturgy are understood, no one will take much interest in it.
Liturgy is a symbol as long as it goes beyond and it does something in our daily life - building a mature, disciplined and civilized society. If we are satisfied merely doing certain actions in the church and forget about life in the world it loses its real meaning. Symbols are objects, behaviors or words that help us grasp realities that would otherwise be unknowable. They are medium we have for communicating the reality we know. Ritual takes many such symbols and puts them in a pattern in such a way that they tell about human life in relation to God. Symbols help us grasp the reality of God, who would otherwise be unknowable. Symbols also have multiple meanings. If we take water it can mean life as well as death depending upon the circumstances.
What water tells us about God is that God can mean life or death. That is the essence of the paschal mystery. Christ died and rose. When many symbols of our faith are organized into ritual patterns, they tell the story of our faith. Since symbols are the way in which we communicate the reality of our faith, it is important that our symbols be of high quality and be full and rich in meaning. Liturgies are also prayers. Prayer does not mean merely becoming quiet and talking to God. Instead, listening to and being heard and obedient to God.
Sometimes we need to be quiet to listen to God. In the Liturgy, we proclaim, sing, move, share, bless etc. All these actions are ways of being in the world. By doing these things in a particular way, they carry particular meaning. Those meanings communicate to us and to others our beliefs. By fully participating in these actions, we more fully understand their meanings and more deeply immerse ourselves in faith. It is in this way that we “Listen to God and pray to him”. Jesus’ prayer was an experience of a new vision, a new way of looking at things. It directed him to be with people and among the people. In the same way our prayer life has to direct us to be with the people and among the people.
We need to meet Jesus first of all in our prayer. After meeting him in prayer, have to meet him in the suffering people by opening the door of our hearts when he knocks and asks: ‘Will you not share in my redemptive work?’ He offered his life on the cross for the redemption of the whole world. He invites us to share in his work of being with people and among the people, to grow in the love of God.
Dear friends, therefore, kindly post your valuable writings and good wishes here. Kindly read the guidelines and take a good look at the content of these notes. Your postings will go to the General Message Board and that will include Discussions added under any specified topic. It just makes it easier for you if you specify the relevant topic when you post. We shall focus our attention mainly on the Sunday’s Liturgical Celebrations.
You are welcome to write "Liturgy and Christian Life" of the Sundays Readings. If you have any queries or comments, please do not hesitate to post them on the board or Email me.
May God bless you!
With all good wishes and prayers,
Fr. Joppan Andysseril, Parish Priest & Rector
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Fort Cochin,