Devil’s advocate for Church Reform - Jose Paul (Delhi)
The craze for building wonderful palaces for Jesus
Jesus as son of the omnipotent, omnipresent, all powerful God could have selected the best mansion or palace in the world or he could have created a magnificent palace for his royal entry into this world as the prince of peace and love. But He selected a manger in Bethlehem for his entry into this world as a man. He could have been living the life of an emperor and with all the luxury the world could not have imagined. But he lived and worked with his earthly father Joseph as a carpenter helping his father and mother in a humble abode. He could have been mixing with the wealthy and elite of the society. But he mixed with all classes of people. But His close friends were fishermen, tax collectors and the like.
We the Christians, who are his followers, have built massive churches for him to live. Every passing day we are building bigger and bigger mansions for him. More and more of modern buildings with great ornamentations are coming up one after the other. We are building shinning and ornamented altars for him. Does He like to stay there? Did we ask him? We believe that during the celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus is really present. We can believe that when we receive the communion, Jesus enters into our heart. But to believe that Jesus is there inside the host locked inside a gold or silver plated box, when all his people are away struggling to live their life is difficult. I do believe that Jesus is there among the farmers and workers in the field, He is present in all the factories and industries with the toiling people, He will be there in all the offices where people are working, He is there with the students and teachers in schools and colleges. He is in these people and with them helping them in their struggle for life. We can’t believe that he can be made a prisoner in a box in a massive building which you call the church, the cathedral, or the basilica.
We are frantically building more and more ornamental mansions in the name of Churches hoping that we are building a palace for Jesus to stay. Jesus is not looking for an architectural wonder to stay in. Can’t we realize the fact that Jesus will never stay there and we can never lock Him up? The one who can become Jesus alive in a host and in a cup of wine also knows how to get out of all these locks you put to imprison him. What we need is not a place for Jesus to stay. We need a place for all of us to pray together. This need not be a tourist attraction for the people who visit the town, city or village. If any of our catholic congregation of priests, sisters or brothers has a school and that school has big enough halls, building a new church near to that just to lock up Jesus is a crime to Jesus and the catholic community. It only adds to the property or wealth of the hierarchy. Any catholic congregation which is in a particular area of a Bishop has got an obligation to the catholic community to provide their facilities for the services for the sacraments and prayers. If they don’t do that, how can they be called a catholic institution? That congregation is only a commercial organization. They have no right to name their institutions either as catholic or with the names of any catholic saint. The first and foremost duty of these congregations is to serve Christ and then go for all the worldly activities.Building new churches where there is already a facility for prayers for the community is a crime to the Society. If there is money aplenty or people are willing to donate to the church, use it to build a better life for people who are in need of it. Jesus will definitely live with these people and the church, not the mansion, but in the hearts of people of the church, the real church, the mystical body of Christ which includes the laity as the most important part of it.