It must have been exciting to be part of the early church. Yet, look how there was disagreement and discrimination at its very inception (Acts 6: 1-7). The Hellenists, Greek-speaking Jews who had returned from the Diaspora, felt discriminated against by the Hebrews, who were local, Aramaic-speaking Jews. Fortunately, to prevent mundane concerns from sapping their energy (in this case, Hellenic widows receiving second-class treatment in food distribution), the Apostles appointed seven helpers or deacons to take care of those worries. Of course, these seven were men of faith and filled with the Holy Spirit; while they helped safeguard social cohesion, the Apostles immersed themselves in the work of evangelisation.

Such wise principles have governed the church ever since. To illustrate it with something very familiar to us, the early church in Goa set up Fábricas to look after the temporal affairs of the parish, while the Confrarias or brotherhoods focussed on spiritual matters. It is not that Fábrica members were worldly-wise and only the confrades holy; faith and morality were essential to membership of either association. But, all in all, the arrangement brought balance to the individual and the community…. Have we strayed from those guiding principles, and consequently, are those bodies now a far cry from what they were meant to be?

Not those bodies alone – but our own bodies and souls are in need of d-e-l-i-v-e-r-a-n-c-e – deliverance – prayer to bring healing and wholeness to us who are struggling with bondage to sin and demonic influences. Haven’t many of us Christians – and, sadly, some of our leaders too – rejected the living stone that in God’s sight is “chosen and precious”? That living stone is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the world today, and Goa in particular, it is high time we realised our folly and decidedly turned back; before long the rug will be pulled out from under our feet by the very people that we had once blindly trusted. Alas, it will be a mighty fall, which only a mighty exercise in faith can prevent – deliver us from! The recent happenings in Manipur are a case in point; living stones are sought to be smashed and life snuffed out of the living church.[1]

St Peter (1 Pet 2: 4-9) calls us to be living stones and build ourselves into a spiritual temple. Well, one can lead the horse – er, the sheep – to the water but can one make it drink? We have built magnificent houses of God, but how many care to drink deep of the knowledge of God? The first Apostle reiterates that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation”, and our bounden duty, to “declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”! Once again, for us in Goa, it is important that we open our eyes to the gift of faith that our ancestors have handed down to us; and it is equally a matter of gratefully passing on that faith – in a pristine condition, that is – to the communities around us. Only then can we think of ourselves as ‘living stones’ of the local and the universal Church.

A proper reflection on our first Pope’s enduring call will not only make our (Sun)day, it will have a considerable bearing on our community life for generations to come. In the wake of that tragic update about Goan Catholics straying into forbidden territory,[2] the Gospel today couldn’t be more pertinent. In answer to Thomas, that courageous Apostle who travelled to India, Jesus, in his farewell discourse at the Last Supper, said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”!

How many times do our shepherds have to drum this message into us – seventy times seven? We the flock should not presume that it will always be possible for our shepherds to go in search of their sheep and bring them back to the fold, restore and heal them! Very often we will have to remember these lessons ourselves or learn them from our somudai or community, which have to rise to the occasion in prayer and a spirit of service.

The Gospel passage (14: 1-12) speaks so unambiguously to us that we almost hear Jesus’ say: “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me?” How come we still do not know the Master’s voice? Do we not believe that He is God, that He is in the Father and the Father in Him? Ever since He became Man, He is within our reach. Haven’t we in Goa had Jesus for the past half a millennium and more?  What is the use of declaring from the rooftops, “bhavarth amcho nhoi aicho kalcho, punn Sam Fransisk Xavieracho” (Our faith is not of recent origin; it goes back to the days of St Francis Xavier)[3] if we continue to set our eyes on the idols that the Apostle of the Indies had got out of our sight?

Today, let us reaffirm our resolve to follow Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Let us keep the faith; let no other, however exalted his position, destroy it for us by presenting pastures new. As Jesus has twice said in Jn 14, “Let not your hearts be troubled”! And, yes, let us not depend on our physical eyes to see Him; we can see Him with eyes of faith (below, a hymn to help us reinforce it). We ought only to root out misplaced customs and usages, and let the words of Jesus take root in our souls instead.

Tuka amim polleunk nam (1 Ped 1, 8)


Tuka amim polleunk nam,

punn Tujer amcho bhavart,

Jezu amchea Taroka!

Jezu, sorv utram Tujim

sasnnachea jivitachim:

konna-xim vochum ani!


Tuka amim polleunk nam,

punn Tujer visvas tthevtanv,

Jezu, amchea Taroka!

Jezu, Tum eklo amkam

bhasaitai sasnnik jivit:

bhasavnnen pett´ta visvas!


Tuka amim polleunk nam,

tori môg Tuzo kortanv,

Jezu, amchea Taroka!

Jezu, Tum chôdd-chôdd boro

sogllo môg Tuka favo:

amchem sukh Tujea mogan!

We have not seen You (1 Pet 1, 8)[4]


We have not seen You,

but our faith is in You,

Jesus our Saviour!

Jesus, precious words of Yours

of eternal life:

to whom can we go:


We have not seen You,

but we place our faith in You,

Jesus, our Saviour!

Jesus, You are the only one for us

You destine for us eternal life:

This command raises hope!

We have not seen You,

and yet we love You,

Jesus, our Saviour!

Jesus, You are so good

You deserve all our love

our happiness is in Your love!



[2] See

[3] Popular wisdom enshrined in the hymn “Dev amkam zai”, Gaionancho Jhelo, hymn F 3.

[4] Type: Hymn. Source: Gaionacho Jhelo, 1995 edition, R-40. Lyrics: Vasco do Rego, S.J. Music: Olavo V. Pereira. Publisher: Gõychi Sevadhormik Somoti (Pastoral Institute), Old Goa, Goa 403 402. Translated by: Alfred Noronha, Pandavaddo, Chorão, Goa 403 102. August 2005.