Advent in Kandhamal
By: Purushottam Nayak.
Advent signifies coming or arrival of something or someone that is important or worthy of note.
Kandhamal which faced the anti-Christian Persecutions in 2007 and 2008, the Advent Season brings new Impetus and renewed motivations to journey with stronger determinations in building up better relationship with our God and our neighbors.
The persecution could not deter nor destroy our faith in Jesus Christ, people in Kandhamal proclaim. We are convinced that “With God on our side who can be against us” (Rom 8: 31)? “Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked” (Rom 8: 35). We might be lost, least and the last in the sight of people. But in the eyes of God, “you are precious in my eyes, because you are honored and I love you” (Is 43: 4).
The words of Saint John Bosco, “All past persecutors of the Church are now no more, but the Church still lives on. The same fate awaits modern persecutors; they, too, will pass on, but the Church of Jesus Christ will always remain, for God has pledged His Word to protect Her and be with Her forever, until the end of time”.
After having faced the persecutions for faith, the Church in Kandhamal is growing into a vibrant Church, with increasing number participants in the liturgical celebrations and growing number of vocations to priesthood and religious life.
As Archbishop of the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar to which Kandhamal belongs, I can testify that the faith of my people of Kandhamal in Jesus Christ is becoming still stronger, convincing and efficacious. “For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8: 39). “Our loved ones were brutally killed, property looted, our houses were burnt and destroyed, but the persecutors could not destroy our Faith and could not separate us from the love of GOD, said the prelate
If Christ has to come more fully into our lives during the forthcoming Christmas, if God has to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Let us use this Advent with our prayer and solidarity to make Kandhamal a place of unity and peace.
“Clothe yourselves in joy, which always is agreeable and acceptable to God, and rejoice in it. For all who are joyful do what is good, acceptable to God, and rejoice in it. For all who are joyful do what is good, think what is good, and despise sadness … All who put aside sadness and put on joy will live in God. The experience of MERCY brings joy. May we never allow this joy to be robbed from us by our troubles and concerns. May it remain rooted in our hearts and enable us to approach with serenity the events of daily lives” (Misericordia et Miseria).
May we become JOY filled persons during the Advent 2016 to transform Kandhamal into a land of JOY AND PEACE.