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August 15th, 2009

India celebrates 62nd Independence Day

Indias 62nd Independence Day

Today, we celebrate our 62nd Independence Day. Happy Independence Day to all of you.

We got this freedom by fighting hard against our suppressors, The British Rulers. I am sure all of you are well aware of the hardships endured by our forefathers so that we can have this wonderful freedom which we enjoy so much now.  Take a moment today to remember and salute them.

15th August gives us a great opportunity to celebrate India’s freedom as free sovereign political nation. There are various kinds of freedom. Do Indians enjoy true freedom? When we look at it from a national point of view, yes, we are free now as a nation. But we must also achieve freedom from something else also. The freedom which we failed to achieve all along, until now.

Types of Freedom :

Political Freedom India is enjoying political freedom. The democracy in India is successful that people have freedom choose their own representatives to Parliament and State Legislature. Peoples’ will is determined by peaceful elections.

Social Freedom India’s social freedom is not as good as political freedom. There is discrimination against women in all walks of life. The gender ratio is against women and is matter of concern in several districts. Deprivation of resources and opportunities on the basis of caste is also practiced in many parts of the country. In certain pockets of the country, the religious minorities are harassed or threatened.

Economic Freedom Economic freedom is available but still there is struggle for the poor to get their share. Poverty cycle seems to be perpetual. The poor Below Poverty Line do not have food security. The subsidized food meant for them do not reach them as it is looted by the rich traders. Their children do not go to school. With mid-day meals, more and more children from these families are going to school. Many children from poorer families are not able to pursue higher education, as they do not have money to pay fees. Poor do not have opportunity to become entrepreneurs.

Spiritual Freedom – Each and every Indian should enjoy spiritual freedom. Lord Jesus Christ taught: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) The phrase ‘set you free’ means a person is in bondage and requires deliverance. It is evident that human beings are held in bondage by Satan with his cunning traps or nets. There are five significant nets in Satan’s armour: 1. “Me Only” attitude, 2. Mindset, 3. Myths, 4. Memories and 5. Mammon.

The Main Problems :

“Me only” attitude/Selfishness The first bondage of men/women is selfishness, which is ‘me only’ attitude. Or, a life centered by a person’s ego. Adam sinned by opting to make decision that was rebellion and was satisfying his ego as confident, assertive decision maker. Instead of leading a life with God as centre, Adam opted for self-centered life.

Unless a person is delivered from being gravitated towards his/her self, the person cannot enjoy freedom. This is possible only having Lord Jesus Christ as the centre of life. Lord Jesus asked the foolish rational of human beings: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:25) Man can opt to forfeit his very self to Satan or gain freedom by surrendering to Lord Jesus Christ.

Mindset – governed my traditions and culture – People are governed by ideas in the culture. For example, people have ‘auspicious time’ on certain days. Good events like marriage or house warming ceremony is scheduled during this precise hours. But, even Christians schedule their programmes during auspicious time, which is sin. God, the Father is Sovereign and all time is good.

True freedom is deliverance from mindset governed by traditions and culture. Traditions, culture and media constantly communicate practices that are not biblical. Even social evils like domestic violence, caste practices, dowry…etc are examples of bondage in minds. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) The Word of God renews and transforms the mind, so that Christians are not enslaved by patterns of the world.

Myths – Freedom means no limits – The society today reinterprets freedom in a diabolic manner. They forget that freedom has always limitations. For example, a fish is free as long as it is within the water body. The minute it leaves the water, it begins to die. Morality is the freedom area for humanity, when human beings try to defy the boundary; they begin to die morally and spiritually. Then God’s wrath and judgment cannot be averted. “So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord -‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Jeremiah 34:17).

Another myth is: “Freedom means multiple choices”. With the economic boom, people get plenty of choices, whether it is food, clothes, footwear or any other products. Postmodern youngsters think that there are many choices in spiritual aspects of life also. But, to choose life there is only one option. Salvation is through Lord Jesus Christ. Many are deceived with the myth that there are many ways for forgiveness of sins.

Memories – Real and imagined – Memories are so powerful that a person could be controlled or manipulated for life. Some people are prisoners of past and are unable to break free from those memories. Human nature is to forget the good things and remember bad and bitter events. It gets imprinted in their minds and not erasable for years. Many of their present life is also spoiled due to such memories. Child abuse victims, people who experienced rejection, abandonment, divorce, failure, loss, grief, accident, bereavement; have bitter memories and are unable to shake free.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14) Paul was able to forget the past. Christians are called to be future oriented. Each day in a life of Christian is nearer to eternal glory. So, the future is always bright. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Cor 5: 17). When a person comes to Lord Jesus Christ his/her past is erased and newness comes as reality.

Money – The alternative god –  people worship, work and even die for. Money could be a good servant, but not bad master. In pursuit of money people lose focus, values and meaning in life. Rich become richer, poor become poorer. Rich are not satisfied with what they have, they like to have more. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (I Timothy 6:10)

What can we do?

As India celebrates Independence Day, we wish freedom for all Indians in all aspects of life. The superior freedom is in Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians we have privilege to enjoy the Freedom which is true and relevant. But, also Christians have a responsibility towards people around them. So, they should be channels of bringing True Freedom in the lives of people. Christians in India have a great contribution to make for making India a super power.

Independence Day Prayers

August 2nd, 2009

Jesus Fraternity

Jesus Fraternity Logo

Jesus Fraternity is a catholic voluntary organization under the All Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference. This was started in the year 1981 and was formally approved and registered as a voluntary and charitable organization in accordance to Govt. regulations as per the charitable institutions act of the Govt. Kerala, India. Jesus Fraternity as voluntary and charitable organization / society has its Head Office at Pastoral Orientation Centre, Palarivattom, Ernakulam, Cochin-25, Kerala, India.

“Come to me you who are blessed by my father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For… I was in prison and you came to visit me”(Matthew 25:34, 36). Here is an opportunity obtain manifold blessings by carrying out this mandate of Jesus Christ, through Jesus Fraternity.

Jesus Fraternity is a movement under the supervision the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference. It is a fellowship of prayer and fraternity serving the lost, least and last especially in the prisons of Kerala, by striving for the holistic (total integrated) rehabilitation of the prisoners, would be prisoners (criminals) and their families. Fraternity meets the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, familial, financial and social needs of these people.

It is estimated that before the advent of Jesus Fraternity and similar ministries, 75% of the prisoners (as in other parts of the world) who were released from prisons of Kerala, committed crime and were imprisoned again. It is reported that this rate has been reduced to 20% as the effect of the activities of Jesus Fraternity and similar ministries. Thus Jesus Fraternity helps the society a peaceful place to live for you and for your children.

Power of Prayer

The Fraternity is empowered by prayer. Hundreds of members of Jesus Fraternity are those who have had a Christ-experience and people of prayer. Their involvement in the Fraternity deepens their spiritual experiences. That is one of the reasons why more and more join the activities of Jesus Fraternity.

Fellowship of Fraternity

The principal aspect of Jesus Fraternity is its fraternal spirit of Christian brotherhood, where every participant is supported by prayers of hundreds of volunteers and beneficiaries of Fraternity in prisons, ashramams and families. The supporters / accomplices thus experience true Christian fellowship or koinonia.

Proclaimers of the Word

Jesus Fraternity proclaims the Gospel (Word) in word and deed, taking-the-unchanging but life-changing Gospel to people behind prison doors. The prisoners and their families thus come to know the love of God, the merciful and compassionate Father, the grace of Jesus Christ through whom all have obtained forgiveness of sins and reunited with God and man and the comforting fellowship of the Holy Spirit. They realize that Jesus extends his grace, free to every human, irrespective of caste, creed, ideology or belief background. Jesus Fraternity is thus committed to the kerygma.

Today, on this World Friendship Day, fraternity members will go to prisons to meet all prisoners, to make them feel more comfortable and close to God. Lets pray for all these prisoners and also for the fraternity members, so that God bless them abundantly to keep up the good work they are doing.

July 19th, 2009

Pearl Harbor bombing pics

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Given above are 18 pics taken when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941.

On Sunday, December 7th, 1941 the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By planning this attack on a Sunday, the Japanese commander Admiral Nagumo, hoped to catch the entire fleet in port. As luck would have it, the Aircraft Carriers and one of the Battleships were not in port. (The USS Enterprise was returning from Wake Island, where it had just delivered some aircraft. The USS Lexington was ferrying aircraft to Midway, and the USS Saratoga and USS Colorado were undergoing repairs in the United States.)

In spite of the latest intelligence reports about the missing aircraft carriers (his most important targets), Admiral Nagumo decided to continue the attack with his force of six carriers and 423 aircraft. At a range of 230 miles north of Oahu, he launched the first wave of a two-wave attack. Beginning at 06:00 hours his first wave consisted of 183 fighters and torpedo bombers which struck at the fleet in Pearl Harbor and the airfields in Hickam, Kaneohe and Ewa. The second strike, launched at 07:15 hours, consisted of 167 aircraft, which again struck at the same targets.

At 07:53 hours the first wave consisting of 40 Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” torpedo bombers, 51 Aichi D3A1 “Val” dive bombers, 50 high altitude bombers and 43 Zeros struck airfields and Pearl Harbor. Within the next hour, the second wave arrived and continued the attack.

When it was over, the casualties were very high. US lost many of its battleships and cruisers in this bombing. This brought the United States into World War II. And all of you are well aware of the aftermath of World War II.

War, in any form, is the greatest cruelty against human life. No war can bring peace. War only results in more war and war.

Lets remember these and the lessons that History teach us and strive to attain peace.

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