Saturday, December 29, 2012

Traditions and rituals

I belong to a rite called Syro Malabar rite. It is an indigenous Catholic Church in India established by St. Thomas the apostle in AD 52. We have about 30000 nuns, 6000 diocesan priests and 6000 religious priests and 700 brothers. It is a rich church and priests and religious are respected in the society. Whenever people meet priests and religious, they are greeted by saying "eesho mishihakku sthuthi aayirikkatte" which means praise be to Jesus Christ or I see Jesus in you and praise Jesus. In USA, the Indian community follow the same tradition. One day a grandma asked grand child to greet me with 'eesho mishihakku...' I know it is very difficult to speak malayalam for our English speaking kids. This 5year old girl was struggling to say this loud. I told her do not worry buddy, give me a hi five. The grandma was very angry and said this is your problem you forget our traditions and you are becoming more liberals. It really shocked me, yes, it is true I have become more liberal in thoughts. I reflected over her words.

The gospel of today Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus and fulfil the law of Moses. And I think that they both following the law of Moses, teach us the importance of traditions and rituals in the church. There is meaning and significance in rituals and traditions. Many times we loose this and we have stopped saying novenas, we have stopped saying grace before the food, we have stopped days of fasting and abstinence and we have stopped many traditions and rituals that our forefathers shared with us.

I remember when I read Cardinal Henry Newman he said Church is not people with opinions but it is the sharing of Truth. I do not remember the exact words. We have to remember Church doesn't mean opinions, We may have different opinions on the Creed, true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, confession and many other things, Church is not the place of this. It is the faith, if we have different opinions on what the church teaching about the Truth, I would say this is not the place for you. You may think I am an orthodox and rigid, no I am not but I think we shall not the rituals and traditions of the church. It is Protestantism to say only the bible.
Let us sleep over it and think whether we have lost the meaning of traditions and rituals in our lives.

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