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Time to revive missionary enthusiasm: Indian Archbishop

Rome, 16 Nov 2013: 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 northeastern India told a gathering in Rome.

“No doubt 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 Emeritus Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati explained.

The Salesian prelate was in Rome to accept an honorary doctorate in Missiology from the Urbaniana University on Thursday.

Also honored was Professor Gerald Anderson of the Methodist Church from the United States, who had earlier been heading a theological institute in the Philippines and was responsible for many missiological publications.

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.

He advised Christians not to provoke anger or invite persecution through their own indiscretion. “If we are persecuted because of our own imprudence, institutional arrogance, lack of cultural insertion, we should not consider ourselves martyrs,” asserted the prelate who has taken his peace mission to areas where Christians faced persecution in India.

Archbishop Menamparampil wants Christians to follow Christ’s advice of being cautious as serpents, but quickly clarified prudence ought not to mean timidity or lack of daring.

He 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 labor. 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,” asserted Archbishop Menamparampil.
Source. Mattersindia


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