By C V Joseph
Bengaluru, May 20, 2019: A visiting Salesian official says persecution is part of Christian vocation and that one should deal with the prevailing ‘culture of knife” in the world with patience and hope.
“Persecution is the salary to follow Jesus,” Father Guilliermo Basanas, General Counselor for Missions of the Society of Don Bosco, said at a Mass attended by Salesian cooperators and Don Bosco past pupils on May 19 in Bengaluru, southern India.
Father Basanas was on a visit to Salesian houses and centers under their Bangalore Province that covers Karnataka and Kerala states.
“We pray, ‘May your kingdom come,’ which is the kingdom of peace, justice and love. When we see incidents such as the killings of Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka, we think the kingdom is not coming,” the Salesian priest said in his homily.
He acknowledged that is not easy to maintain Christian hope when the earthly kingdom seems to prevail over the heavenly kingdom.
This was the reason their superior general recently wrote to his people not to lose heart and faith, especially after a few Salesians were among those killed in Africa in May, said Father Basanas, an Argentinian, who was attracted to Don Bosco when he was six.
The envoy of the Salesian chief reminded the gathering Jesus’s promise that those who left families, parents, brothers or sisters would get 100 fold reward. “However, Jesus said ‘I will give you 100 more in persecution’,” Father Basanas explained.
He said Jesus’s love was unconditional and it gave people hope.
“We should imbibe the ideals of patience, love and hope. [Apostles) Paul and Barnabas had to undergo tribulations and hardships and faced persecutions. Persecution is the salary to follow Jesus,” he added.
The Argentinian priest expressed happiness that those associated with the Salesians have imbibed the congregation’s spirit of love, service and sharing.
He recounted his recent visit to a Salesian hostel’s dormitory in Davangere, some 260 km northwest of Bengaluru, the Karnataka state capital.
A little boy opened his cupboard and showed him three oranges kept inside. He took one orange and it to Father Basanas.
“The little boy’s gesture indicated Salesians have joy, generosity and love. It is not true that the world is collapsing. All need to continue enjoying life with hope for men and women of good will,” Father Basanas added.
He found the Church in Karnataka and Kerala dynamic and with deep roots.