Preach respectfully, avoid persecution: Guwahati Archbishop
Opposition to Christian preaching is not against Christ or his message, but against the preacher’s failure to be respectful and attentive to the audience, says the Salesian prelate.
Archbishop Emeritus Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati has advised evangelists and other Christians in India not to provoke others or invite persecution through indiscretion, at a meeting in Rome last Thursday. The Salesian prelate was in Rome to accept an honorary doctorate in Missiology from the Urbaniana University.
“If we are persecuted because of our own imprudence, institutional arrogance, lack of cultural insertion, we should not consider ourselves martyrs,” the prelate, who has taken his peace mission to areas where Christians faced persecution in India, asserted.
Opposition to Christian preaching is not against Christ or his message, but against the preacher’s failure to be respectful and attentive to the audience, a veteran missionary from north-eastern India told the gathering.
“There is opposition, but it is not against Jesus or his message, but against the negative impression that people have developed about those associated with the message,” Archbishop Menamparampil said.
Archbishop Menamparampil stressed the importance of healing collective memories in this era of inter-community tensions on a global scale, while calling for the revival of missionary enthusiasm in modern times.
The bishop, who has spent more than half a century in a mission region, asserted the need for sharing the Good News with great self-confidence, despite opposition.
However, this is possible only by building relationships and removing prejudices. “While intellectual bridges will have to be built in communicating the message of the Gospel,” the emotional bridges are of greater importance,” he added.
Archbishop Menamparampil recommended a spirituality which included taking upon oneself a part of the agony of humanity as Jesus did in Gethsemane. The missionary should be a person of deep spirituality and intense labour. His intimacy with Christ should be of such a nature that his compassion flows over.
“The Christian message can be communicated meaningfully only if we reveal the ‘human face’ of Christ continuously,” he asserted.
Source: Vatican Radio