( Much can be said on Shri Jose Paul, hailing from North Paravoor and now settled in Delhi. He has been associated with multitudes of Church activities and has been instrumental in organizing a lot of workshops in India and abroad. He has authored many motivating books. The present Church and the rite fights is pinching him heavily and makes him sad in his 80s - Admin)
On a fine morning, a most beautiful rose flower bloomed. Along with the beauty of the flower, it had a wonderful fragrance. One of my friends came to my house and he saw the flower. He expressed his feelings of joy in Malayalam that the flower is beautiful and has a great fragrance using the Malayalam words that the flower has “Bhangy and Sourabyam” (beauty and fragrance). The same day another friend expressed the same thoughts using Malayalam words that the flower has “Sounnariam and Sugandham” (beauty and fragrance). When they met each other they spoke about the beautiful flower they saw in my garden. One spoke of the “Bhangy and Sourabyam” of the flower and the other spoke of the “Sounnariam and Sugandham” of the flower. They could not reconcile to the fact that they both saw the same flower.
After having some arguments about the words they both used to describe the flower, they decided that they both saw two different flowers.
This is what happened to the shepherds of our Catholic Church. Catholic Church is the same one and only one. Jesus is the same, the creed is the same. The sacraments are the same. The commandments are the same. The faith is the same.
Jesus was crucified and died for the salvation of the humanity. The legend says that St. Thomas the apostle converted some people into Christianity. Later on the global Church converted some people into Christianity. Is it a different Christianity? Is the essence of Christianity the same? Is not its beauty and fragrance the same? What are we fighting for or dividing ourselves for? Can’t we realise that these divisions are meaningless and fruitless. We are all talking about the Same Christ and the same Saviour and longing for the same salvation. In Eucharist, we are receiving the same Jesus. Believing in the same church, we are talking different languages as in the case of the rose flower above.
By using the different rituals in liturgy, by using different languages, by saying mass standing or facing in different directions, by changing the colour of the vestments on different days of the week, standing, sitting or kneeling at different times in a church service, using a curtain in front of the alter etc is not going to change the faith in one and only Catholic Church. Rituals cannot change the essence of faith. Ritual and rites are not part of the faith.
We find that these shepherds speak of one and only Catholic Church, speak of the unity of the members of the Catholic Church, speak every Sunday from the pulpits about the love of Jesus, exhorts the lay people to love one another as Jesus loved us.
We are waiting for these shepherds to celebrate together some Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter, the feast of the Eucharist and the Christ the king feast, in any one of the church in any one rite with all the shepherds of various rites participating as members of the same Catholic Church with the lay members.