CHRIST – Yesterday, Today and Forever
Deliberations on the relevance of Jesus and his message in our challenging times
On the 25th and 26th of January, 2020 St. Pius X College (Archdiocesan Seminary of Bombay) organized a theological Seminar on the theme: CHRIST – Yesterday, Today and Forever. The seminar was part of the ongoing Diamond Jubilee Year celebrations in the Seminary said Fr Aniceto Pereira, the Rector, at the very outset. A diverse set of participants including seminarians from various dioceses and congregations, religious sisters from different congregations, lay faithful, priests and bishops were present for the seminar.
Bishop John Rodrigues in his inaugural message invited the participants to enter into the mind and heart of Christ with a spirit of openness to receive what the Lord wants to offer us. He stressed that our reflections on Christ should lead us to be witness to His Truth.
Dr Maria Arul Raja SJ in his session- Incarnate Word in and for the Broken World: Insights and Implications from the Second Testament – explained that the Incarnation enables vulnerable humanity to sprout from the divinity within, to break down evil structures, making it imperative for human beings to grow in holiness through solidarity with the marginalized.
Christology at the Cross roads: An Asian Perspective by Dr Jacob Parappally MSFS emphasized developing Christologies within the Asian context of religious pluralism and pervasive poverty, moving towards Christophany- when the mystery of Christ embraces the universe and each person is called to be a manifestation of Christ in the world. This perspective brings about inter-religious dialogue and harmony across cultures.
Sr. Joeyanna D’Souza FSP in her thought-provoking reflection on Christ in a Digital Age highlighted the relevance of Jesus Christ in digital space. His message and values should form the basis of interaction in such spaces, thus preventing the digital space to be abused and control human behaviour.
The firebrand Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ confronted the participants in his critical presentation on Is Democracy in India in peril and is the Church a mute spectator?! He categorically stated that the silence of the Church is making it complicit in the destructive forces targeting the secular fabric of the country. The Church must overcome the sin of fear and ignorance if it has to be a true witness of Christ in the country.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias, celebrated the Eucharist on the second day and was the Chief Guest for the Republic Day Flag Hoisting Ceremony. Celebrating, Proclaiming and Realizing Christ in the Sacraments by Dr Francis Gonsalves SJ, helped the participants understand how symbols could be used to unite or divide communities. Asserting that each one of us is a sacrament, he encouraged the assembly to reflect on how to devise symbols with universal significance that would foster greater unity across communities.
Communalism, Constitution and Christ: Christian Mission in India today by Fr. S.M. Michael SVD began with recitation of the Preamble of Our Constitution. He challenged us to examine our own social consciousness and commitment. Our engagement in civic society has to be modeled on Jesus who was a contemplative-activist, if we are to collaborate in nation building based on the vision enshrined in our Constitution.
Interspersed with group discussions and Q&A, the sessions were stimulating and engaging. This theological seminar was the contribution of the seminary to the ongoing reflection of the Church on the relevance of Christ in India today. The reflections in the seminar called for a Church modeled on the kenosis of Christ, which immerses itself in society with compassion and courage, to address the challenges in our country.