January 9th, 1986, Serial No. 00607

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He saw how his logos, his wisdom, which the Greek world had known, had become manifest in Jesus of Nazareth, had become flesh in him. So this was an interpretation of the Gospel in the light of the Hellenistic world, and it transformed the Church in a sense, because the Church moved out of Israel, out of Palestine, into the Greco-Roman world, and began to speak the Gospel in the language of that world, and celebrate the Eucharist in the manner of that world, the Hellenistic world. So that is how the Church grew. It grew out of Palestine and went into that Greco-Roman world and became a Greco-Roman Church, and we've inherited that Greco-Roman Church. The theology is still fundamentally Greek, from Plato and Aristotle, and our worship is basically Roman. Even this liturgy we're celebrating now is still basically the Roman rite, though with elements from India introduced.


And I think we all have to recognize that today the Church is moving out of that Greco-Roman world, and out of the European world, into the world of Asia. And just as St. John interpreted the Gospel in the light of that world, so we have to interpret the Gospel in the light of India, in the light of Asia. And this vast wisdom in India, as we all know, the Vedantic tradition, something greater than Plato and Aristotle, and the whole tradition of sannyasa, the spiritual wisdom, this is a great tradition in India, and the Gospel has to be seen in the light of that tradition. Swami Arishikta Ananda, whom we saw last night, was one pioneer who tried to see the Gospel in the context of this Vedanta or Advaitic philosophy. You know his book, Satyarananda, where he tries to interpret St. John's Gospel, particularly


in the light of this Advaitic experience. So that is our call of the Church in India. We're only beginning, it may take hundreds of years. It took hundreds of years for this Logos of St. John to be interpreted and understood and explained until we had the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas coming as a kind of culmination after twelve hundred years. And so I think in Asia we may expect a continuous growth. The same seed of the Gospel, the Word of God, has to come to Asia and be interpreted in the light of Asia, in the light of the whole wisdom and the culture of Asia, and a liturgy which will express the mystery of Christ in the context of Asian culture, Asian wisdom, Asian ways of life, you see. And that is what we're beginning to do. We have the beginnings of an Indian rite, which is only a beginning, and we're looking for a fuller Indian rite, and a Chinese rite, a Japanese rite.


We're looking for inculturation. So the way of the Church today is inculturation, and it's always been the way. When it came out of Palestine, spontaneously the Church began to express herself in the language of Greek, and in the symbolism of the Greeks, and in the philosophy of the Greeks, and then in the law of Rome. It was a gradual transformation of the Gospel, expressing the mystery of Christ in the context of that world. And the Church today, and for the next hundreds of years perhaps, will be called to translate the mystery of Christ, the Word of God, into the language, the symbols, the way of life of the people of Asia. And we're just at the beginning of that, and I think we should realize this calling, because today, all through the Church in India, this understanding is awakening. We have the Federation of Asian Bishops who are concerned with bringing this message of


Christ to Asia, and their whole orientation today is towards inculturation, how to express it in the language and the forms of Asiatic life and thought. So I think we all have to ask that the Church in India and the Church throughout the world may have this grace to discern, and it's great discernment, how to express the original mystery of Christ himself in this new situation, this new culture, this new world. And of course we can't neglect the other side of Asia, which is the new technology and science coming in from the West, which is transforming the life of Asia, and of course is affecting the poverty of Asia. Asia has two things, it has spirituality of immeasurable depth, and it has poverty of immeasurable depth. And somehow we have to find a spirituality which answers both those needs, which opens the Church to the spirituality of Asia, India and China and Japan and the whole of Asia,


and also answers the need of the people of Asia, this immeasurable poverty and suffering which they endure. So this is the call of the Church, and we all need to reflect on it and ask what we can do in our limited way to further that movement to bring Christ to Asia. That is our calling. We read this letter from the Galatians, and it says how God sent forth his Son, a woman born unto the Lord, to redeem those who are unto the Lord, that we might receive adoption of sons, and one of the consequences of Christmas, that Mary brings forth the Son of God, is that we all are called to share in that sonship, whereby she becomes the mother of the Church,


the mother of all those who are brought forth in Christ, and tomorrow we keep the memory of Mary as the mother of God. But I'd like to draw attention especially to the following verse. Because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, of our Father. To me that's one of the most beautiful expressions of the inner mystery of Christ, you see, that God the Father sends the spirit of his Son into our hearts. And this is the Trinitarian mystery. Our mystery of Christ cannot, can never be understood except in the context of the Trinity. And you know our Father Moshe and I had this tremendous devotion to the Trinity. It's a great obsession almost with his life. And they say in his last hours he was reflecting on it and speaking on it. And it's so important that it's not an abstract doctrine or dogma which we accept, but it's


a living reality, you see. God the Father sends his spirit into our hearts. And each one of us receives the spirit of God. We receive it in baptism, we receive it whenever we open our hearts in prayer. And that is the presence of God in us, you see. The Father is the source beyond, and the spirit is the presence of God in the world, in the heart. And in India particularly, as you know, the great center of religion is the presence of God in the heart. And the word spirit in Greek is the nearest equivalent we have to Atman in Sanskrit. And Atman is the spirit of God which is in each person, which is the ground of his being. So God the Father sends his spirit into the heart. And in and through the spirit we become sons, you see. We discover ourselves in this unique relationship.


And we share in the sonship of Christ. Jesus is the Son, who totally reflects the Father, who reveals the Father. And he calls each one of us to participate in his sonship. Through the spirit we become sons in the Son. Eckhart, very strong sometimes, he says, we are the Son. And again St. Augustine again and again mentions, you see, that there is only one Christ. And we are members of that one Christ. And Jesus himself says in St. John's Gospel, he prays that they may be one as I in thee and thou in me. Yes, the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son. So he prays that through the spirit we also may be one in him, one with the Father. And again we remember, we read in St. John's Epistle, our koinonia, our common life, you could translate it, is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And this is the Christian mystery, you see, that the spirit of God is given to us.


God himself comes into our heart. And in the spirit we know ourselves as sons of God and members of this body of Christ which embraces the whole of humanity. You see, the spirit is offered in some way to all humanity. A human being is made in the image of God and is offered this union with God. And so each person receives that spirit and can grow into the likeness, into this image of God growing into the likeness. So we are sons in the Son. And then we are able to say, Abba, Father. And as you know, Abba is the Aramaic word which Jesus always used, the Father. And apparently it was very particular to him. The Jews had a very deep sense of reverence for Yahweh. He was the infinite, holy one beyond. And they didn't like him to mention his name. But Jesus always spoke to him as Father, as Abba, which is a very, very intimate way of speaking. And we also are able to say Abba, Father. We are able to link to God as to a Father, one who loves us, cares for us.


And this is the very source of our being. So this, as I say, really is the Christian mystery. And I think perhaps at the end of the year it's good for us to sort of make that central in our lives. The aim of Christian life is to live from that center in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit. And we can't separate them, you see. You cannot be in Christ except through the Spirit. And you cannot experience the Spirit except from the Father, through the Son. But totally integrate it into that inner mystery of the Godhead. That is the real Christian calling. And in India, you know, that's very important because the genuine Hindu always wants this intimate oneness with God. But he doesn't see it quite in that context of interrelationship. You see, it's with communion of love. That is, this koinonia with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is communion of love. And that is the Christian understanding. Optimate reality is a communion of love.


They're asked to share in that communion, to be one with Him. So we ask for the grace of this insight and the sharing in the inner life of God. It's rather an acute problem how we think of God. And He says, you know, who is the liar? But he who denies that Jesus is the Christ, this is the Antichrist. He who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. And as I say, it raises a problem. You see, in Judaism, you have this very exalted conception of God, absolutely transcendent, the Holy One beyond all measure.


And man is a sinner and has to prostrate himself before Yahweh, this Holy God. And the same in Islam. You see, Allah is this great, mysterious power. And both Yahweh and Allah are merciful and compassionate, but at the same time they are infinitely transcendent. Man is a measure of this. There's always great gulf between man and God. And the meaning of the Incarnation was that gulf was bridged. In Jesus, God reveals Himself in man or becomes present. And I think we were mentioning it's significant that Jesus spoke of God as Abbas, His Father, in a very intimate sense. And this changes our understanding of God. He's not the remote, inaccessible, infinite Holy One, though He is that. God is remote and holy and inaccessible. But at the same time, He becomes accessible. He becomes one of us, enters into our life, and opens human life to the Divine.


You see, it's the mediator who opens this human to the Divine. And that is the particular Christian revelation. And it has a very particular meaning because it means that in God Himself there is relationship. You see, Father and Son signifies relationship. And in the Father there is this love, this knowledge of the Son. The Son is the knowledge and love of the Father. And so the Godhead is this mystery of love, of communion, of relationship. Whereas in the pure Judaism or pure Islam, God is simply the Holy One, the God beyond everyone and everything. And you have the same contrast in Hinduism. You see, pure Advaita, Brahman, the Argonaut Brahman, is the absolute reality. Satchitananda, totally beyond the creative world.


Everything else is maya, is avidya, is an appearance, an illusion. And the one reality alone is and is real and is final. And on the other hand, you see, you have the bhakti tradition in India. In the Bhagavad Gita, where this infinite mystery of Brahman manifests itself in an avatar, in a form of God. These people are formless, God with form, God without form. And this Brahman reveals Himself in Krishna, in Rama, in these forms, you see. And through the form we come to the formless. And the same in Christianity. Through the humanity of Christ we come to the divinity. And I feel that these are more complete. The other is perfectly valid. There is an infinite holiness, transcendence, mystery of the Godhead and you can never forget it. But it's bridged.


There is an openness to the creation, to humanity, to the human life. And Jesus is that bridge. And for a Hindu, the avatar is the bridge. And so there are two different ways, you see, in which we perceive God and His relation to the world. And in India particularly, there have been so many different schools all trying to answer this question. What is the relation between Brahman, the supreme, and the created reality, the samsara, the world coming and change? And so we all have to sort of discover that for ourselves, you see. And I think there's a sense in which one can combine them. There are times in prayer and meditation when you want to leave all images, all thoughts behind, humanity of Christ or any form. And you try to become aware of the formless reality, the one truth, the one word. And on the other hand, what's more common than the other way, you want to have some access to God.


You want a form, the form of Christ. If you're a Hindu or Krishna or Rama, Buddhist or Buddha, you have a form through which you come to the formless. It opens you up and it gives you a focus. And I think we all have to reflect on that. And we shouldn't try to divide it so one is right and the other is wrong, you see. And that is perhaps the danger of St. John. He was fighting for this beef in Christ and he had to sort of defend it against people who rejected it. But we have to be careful not simply to reject one and favour the other. You see, there are two different ways of approaching this infinite mystery which nothing can comprehend, you see. No human understanding can ever comprehend the divine mystery. But these are two ways in which we approach it, each of which has its own validity. But each of which isolated could be misleading. We give an insight into this, we still give to the same extent.


And here we see this John the Baptist comparing the way for Christ. And the people ask who he is. And the expectation, you see, are you the Christ, are you Elijah or are you the prophet? And the expectation was that a prophet would come like Moses was promised. A prophet like Andromache would come, you must listen to him. But you expected that prophet. And then also the saying that before the great and terrible day of the Lord, I will send Elijah the prophet. Elijah the prophet. And so they expected Elijah. And then of course finally they expected the Messiah, they expected the Christ. And Jesus comes to fulfil these prophecies, these expectations, to take them beyond. And he challenges us to try to understand this mystery of Christ. How do we understand Christ? And it's not at all easy because today we recognize that God has been revealing himself in many different ways.


And we read in the Bhagavad Gita that Krishna speaks in the name of God and you can't reject it. Millions of Hindus have found God through faith in Krishna and others in Rama and so on. So God is revealing himself in many ways. And then in Islam, Muhammad speaks in the name of God. The word comes to him and he speaks this word. And millions of Muslims have certainly found God through the Quran, through the prophecy of the prophet Muhammad. And even today, you know, such as Sai Baba claims to be God. His followers say, and I think you would agree, that he is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. And those are all attributes of God. And he shows it by his omnipotence, by creating things day by day. He creates, he produces material objects and so on, apparently out of nothing, a sign of his omnipotence.


And then he knows the thoughts of people when they come to him. He'll tell them their past, he'll tell them their future, he'll tell them what they were doing at certain time in the past and so on. So they say he's omniscient. And then he's omnipresent. He appears to people at a distance. People who are from South America or any part of the world are drawn to him. They have a vision of him and he reveals himself to them. So they claim that Sai Baba is God. And no doubt many people are drawn to God through him. I had a letter from a young Christian just recently who came to Sai Baba and felt convinced that God was there. And at his birthday this month, or last month, there were over a million people present. And he has followers all over the world. So you see, we're being challenged all the time.


People are finding God in all different ways. And what is the distinct way in which we find God, Jesus Christ? And I think Saint John really helps more than anything else in this. When he says Jesus is the Son of God, of course it does appear in the other Gospels as well. It's the essential Christian message. Jesus is the Son of God. And son implies relationship, you see. It's not simply that Jesus is God. That would be much more commonplace. Krishna is God, Rama is God. And Jesus never says that he is God. He says he's the Son. The Son is with the Father, is in the Father, who sees him sees the Father. He's one with God, but he's God in relationship, the Son. And this also relates Jesus to us. Because if I would say I am God, it would be foolish.


But if I say I am the Son, he calls us to be sons of God, you see. And there's a wonderful saying both in Matthew and Luke. No one knows the Son but the Father. No one knows the Father but the Son. And he to whom the Son will reveal him. The Son reveals the Father to us and makes us sons of God. He's the bridge, the mediator. And we also share in that sonship. And we share in the sonship through the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is this, what St. John calls, this anointing. You've been anointed with the Holy Spirit. And we receive this anointing at baptism, confirmation. And we share in the Spirit which is in Jesus. And in the Spirit we know Jesus as the Son. And in Jesus the Son we know God as Father. And that is the Christian revelation. And there's nothing comparable to it in any other religion. As I say, God reveals himself in many ways.


And we ought not to deny it. Even if we found God in this wonderful way. But nowhere do you find this revelation of this relationship of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. That God is this mystery of personal relationship which he shares with us. He opens up this mystery of relationship to us. We also are related to God as sons of the Father sharing in this life of the Spirit. I think we all need to reflect on that. Because today it's very challenging, you see. People are finding God in all sorts of ways. And one can't deny it. People have a wonderful experience of infinite greatness and holiness and so many other things. But this is the unique relationship which Jesus reveals. And in him we find the Father in this particular unique way. So we can ask for insight into this great mystery which we know. ...the dawn of this season and then, I think, this is the heart of the history of Christ.


And the lesson we read this evening particularly reveals the history. See what love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God and so we are. And that, of course, is the heart of the Christian mystery. That God, with love, gives his love to us. And makes us children. And a child is one who shares the nature of his father. And we share the nature of God. And we share that the love of God is not something external to God. It is God himself communicating himself to us, making us his children. And so we are. This is a mystery which is in us. And then he says, the reason why the world does not know us, it did not know him. And the reason is, of course, this is a hidden mystery. You can't see the love of God in a person. It comes out sometimes in a saint, you see, manifesting itself.


But normally it doesn't come out. It's not evident at all. Some people have marvelous love in their hearts. And for those who are discerning, you can see that love. But for those who are not, they just appear to be ordinary people, impossible to find. And so it's a hidden mystery. That is why the world doesn't understand it. And we all recognize that. Then he says, beloved, we are God's children now. It does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, or we shall see him as he is. And this is the culmination of the Christian mystery. We receive the love of God here and now. And it grows in us. But we don't see a fulfillment in it, because it has to transform the whole nature totally. And that is what it will be. It does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him. And that is the Christian calling, you see.


It is through this love which is given to us to grow into the likeness of Christ and to alike him. We share in his own very sonship, his own being with the Father. And that is the promise given to us, that we shall see him as he is. The Hebrew always speaks of seeing God in that way. But it's not obviously an external vision. It's the interior vision. It's the inner eye of love, as they call it. The inner eye of love. And when we put the kunguma on earth for its midday, always remember that. It's the inner eye. The eye that sees the inner light, the inner truth. And so that's what it is to see him as he is. It's to have the eye of love opened so that we experience God. And people today speak a great deal of the experience of God. And that is really what we mean. It's not an emotional experience or an imaginative one. It takes place in the heart or the inner center of the person.


And it's an awakening of this love in the heart which leads to knowledge. See, love leads to knowledge or gnosis or jnana. This is the knowledge of God which is created in us by God. It doesn't achieve by human power. It's the knowledge created by God. It's the wisdom which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. So that is the calling. And I think it's important to remember it. I mean, Christianity is recognized as a religion of love. Here in India, people know what the church has done to people, orphans and widows and their children and the sick and the poor and so on. But we should always remember that it's not simply love in that sense. It's also a love which is wisdom, a love which is knowledge. It's to know God, know him by love. And St. Paul puts the culmination of it all, that we should know the love of Christ which passes knowledge. That exactly explains it. To know the love. See, the love is this hidden mystery in us.


And we reflect on it, we come to know it in a way that passes knowledge. It's not a human way, but the divine way of knowing. So that is the goal which is set before us. And then he says, everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. And that is, to be pure is to be free from any impediments. It's to be reflecting the divine light, you see. They often say the example of a mirror with dust on it, you call it shine when it's cleansed, and the divine light shines in it. And that is a puring heart. This is not a puring heart, for they shall see God, you see. When the heart is pure, then the divine love and divine light shines in it. And then he goes on to speak of sin in a way which could be misleading. It says, everyone who has sinned is guilty of lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. I would put it slightly differently, really. Sin is simply a failure to love.


You see, love is our calling. We are created out of love and we are called to love. And sin is falling away from love into ourselves, to self-centeredness. And grace is going out of ourselves, responding to love. I think that really sums it up. Sin is self-centered at one point. We are centered in God, in love, and we are never centered in anything else. The Baptist recognizes Jesus by this Holy Spirit descending as a dove. The story of the wise man coming to Jesus, his birth, is intended to reveal how Jesus came not only for Israel, but for the whole world, all the nations.


And it's surprising to us sometimes to reflect how the gospel was originally preached to Israel. Jesus said, I came to speak to the lost tribes of the house of Israel. And he never opened himself beyond Israel. And for the disciples at first, the gospel was seen simply as fulfillment of all the prophets to Israel. And the kingdom was now to be restored and Jesus was the Messiah. And it took them quite a long time before they realized that others than Jews would enter the church. And it was St. Paul, really, who opened the church to the Gentiles. And at a critical moment, the Jews refused his messages and he said, I turn to the Gentiles. And so the gospel came to be preached to the world. But as I say, this took a long time.


And when the St. Matthew's gospel was written towards the end of the first century, already the Gentiles formed a greater part of the church. And so this story was written to show that even from the beginning, this was implicit in the whole message of the gospel. And we know in the, we read the Old Testament, particularly the prophecies of Isaiah, which we read at this time, how it's always been seen that this revelation was given to Israel for the whole world, all the Gentiles were to be called. And so this was a real fulfillment of that prophecy. And then the gospel spread, spread through the Roman Empire, spread to Europe, and went to America, and it came in the course of time to India. But largely the church has remained European, American, Western, and only fringes in Asia, about 2% in the whole of Asia.


And it brought us to reflect, you see, what is the place of the nations, of the Gentiles, of the people in the church? And today we have a broader vision of the mystery of Christ, that it was revealed to Israel, first of all, a little tiny people, and then it went out into the Roman Empire, still a very small part of the world, and then it went into Europe, still a small part of the world. And really it's only today that the gospel is being opened to the wider sphere of humanity. And we now have this call to open the gospel, the mystery of Christ, to the whole world. And today we're much more aware that we belong to one world, and that this gospel is not something for Europeans or for people who call themselves Christians, it's for the whole of humanity. And we have to reflect on this, particularly here in India, where, as I say, we're 2%. And today we see this message in terms of dialogue, that the message of the gospel has to grow through the world,


but then it encounters other religions, other ways of faith and worship, and we have to relate to these other religions, these other ways. And dialogue is now the way in which we understand the gospel. It's something which we share with others. And when we put it in that way, people understand it fully. To say that you come to share with others is deeply meaningful. And today we recognize that. Many of you have been at this meeting organized by Tezi in Madras, and as you know, the whole message of Tezi is be one of sharing. When you come to meet people and let them share with you, something wonderful happens. But when you simply go to give something to other people, it may be valuable, it may be helpful, but it's so limited. It's only when you open yourself to others that you find the full meaning of what you're trying to say. And that surely is how the gospel is preached today. It's a sharing with others.


I always recall years ago we had a meeting at the Ramakrishna Ashram in Trivandrum, and at first they were very hesitant about having the meeting. But when we came to the point, we explained that we come to share with one another, then it was totally open, and it was a wonderful sharing. And that surely is what we have to learn, how we can share the message of Christ and the gospel with others and listen to the others. You see, it's not only one-sided. It's always the listening, the sharing. If we want them to listen to us, we must be prepared to listen to them. And when that happens, then, as I say, something wonderful happens. That is the future of the world. When we all learn to listen to one another, to share with one another, then the conversion of the world will take place. Then this transformation which we seek will begin. So I think we all need to reflect on that at this time of epiphany. Because Jesus came to the whole world, the whole of humanity, and he has a message for all.


But that message has to be proclaimed in a language which the others understand, has to be related to their world, to their experience, to their faith. And when that happens, then the Church herself grows. You see, the Church grows by this contact with others, and we're all looking forward to this growth of the Church, when the Gentiles, when the Asians, the peoples of Asia, who are, isn't it, one-third of the world, I think, are gathered into the unity of God in Christ, which is the revelation of God to the world. So this is the message of epiphany. This letter of St. John, and it's a very special spirituality, a very special community which John, the disciple, lived with. And they had their own very special understanding of the Gospel, especially, as you know, St. John's Gospel is a spiritual Gospel, and this was a spiritual community.


And I was saying a few days ago that I found it difficult to understand his saying, who is born of God does not sin, anyone who sins is of the devil. But I think the explanation really is this, that just insofar as you're born of God, as you have the grace of God in you, you do not sin. Sin is falling away from grace, falling away from God. And insofar as you remain in that grace and the life of the Spirit, you do not sin. So I think I made unnecessary trouble about it. And now we go on with the further statement. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and we assure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us. It's because we have this spirit. You see, the community of John was one which recognized the anointing with the Spirit, that every Christian, through his baptism and through his communion in the Church, is living in the Spirit.


The Spirit of God is given, and he's called to live in that Spirit. And that Spirit is truth. And when we're living in the Spirit, we're in the truth, and then our hearts don't condemn us. You see, the heart is a conscience, an inner person. And when we're living in the truth, we're not condemned. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. A very striking saying, and I think it means, you see, that when you're living in the Spirit, you're aware of the presence of God, or something greater than yourself is in you, and you're in that. And that is what justifies you, that's what makes you holy, what gives you grace. It's not in you, it's coming from God who's in you, the Spirit in you. If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and we receive from him whatever we ask. And that again, remember, Jesus said, ask whatever you will, it shall be given you. And if the heart is pure, if you're really open to God, there's no doubt you do receive what you ask.


And of course, most of us are not. There are many attachments, many things that hold us back. And so our prayer is never fully effective. But when the heart is totally open, as Jesus said with the message of the pure in heart, they shall see God, and when the heart is pure, then God is in you, and you are in God. And so, you receive whatever you ask. And because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him, and this keeping the commandments, you can take it in a more general sense, the only command is love. And that is the great message of St. John's Gospel where we see that God is love, and to keep his commandments is to live in love, and particularly with love of your neighbor. And this is the command, we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us. And to believe in the name of Christ is also to love your neighbor, he who does not love his neighbor whom he has seen.


How can he love God whom he has not seen? Always the test, you see, of being in Christ, being in the Spirit, is the love we have for one another. And that's very important to keep that in mind, because there are all sorts of illusions of religion that are very holy and very spiritual, that you meditate a lot, but you have to test it all the time by your attitude to other people. That is the ascetest religion. Then he goes on, all who keep his commandments abide in him and he in them. See, when you abide in love, you abide in God and he in you. And by this we know that he abides in us by the Spirit which he has given us. And that is a very special message of St. John, that we receive this gift of the Spirit and the Spirit teaches us its own witness. You don't have to have witness from others. When the Holy Spirit is present, he bears witness to himself. You recognize God in you and yourself in God, and that is your inner light, your inner guide.


And I think today people more and more seek that kind of inner witness of the Spirit. You have to find the inner truth in yourself, you see. You can make use of all the means of religion, but they all have to lead to discovering yourself. Who am I? How do I relate to others? How do I relate to God? What is my inner reality? And that is what St. John means by the Spirit, which is truth. See, truth and love. So that's really the message of the Gospel. St. Matthew places this quotation from Isaiah at the beginning of Jesus' preaching, because he wants to show how Jesus was concerned with the Gentiles. And as you know, the great crisis of the Church after the Ascension was this relation of the Christ to the Jews and the Gentiles. And at first the disciples thought of Christ as a Messiah, fulfillment of Jewish expectation,


and they did not realize how it was to be extended to the nations, to the world. And gradually the understanding grew, and it was the Gentiles who came into the Church, the Jews on the whole rejected it. And that was the situation in Matthew's time with this Gentile world. And he shows here how implicit in Jesus' teaching from the beginning was that it was to preach to the world, not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, to the whole world. And so the Gospel came out of Palestine and went into the world, but it was the Roman world, it went into the Roman Empire, and in the course of history it went beyond. But it's never extended, really, into Asia. We have pockets of Christians in Asia, but as we know, 2% of Asia is Christian, 98% is not. And that is about two-thirds of the world, I think, at least 2,000 million people.


And so we ask ourselves, what is the relation of the Church and of Christ to all these people? And I think the great insight which the Vatican Council has given us is that Christ is present in some way to all humanity. He dies for all men, and His grace of Christ in the resurrection extends in some way to all humanity from the beginning. However far we take it back, maybe hundreds or thousands of years, there's always a presence of God to humanity, and that is a presence in Christ. There is God's revelation, the coming of God to the world. And so from the very beginning there is a presence of Christ. And in every religion of the world, from the primitive tribal religion to the most advanced, there's already a presence of Christ, a presence of the Spirit. And we're all deeply aware of this. In India, we look back to the history of India for thousands of years, and we see this wonderful presence of God, a great awakening to the presence of God in the whole world around.


Hinduism is a cosmic religion. It's a recognition of God's presence in the whole cosmos, in the earth, the air, the sun, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars. God is present everywhere, present in every human being. And that is the cosmic revelation. And this is the way that Christ becomes present in India. He's present to people in their recognition of that wonderful presence of God in the world around them, and above all, present in the heart. The center of Hinduism is the belief that God is present in the heart, in the inner self. When you open yourself to your inmost being, you discover God dwelling in you, the presence of God. And that is this great cosmic revelation. Christ comes to India in the cosmic revelation. And we believe that there's a further fullness to come, that in the gospel, in the church, there's a greater fullness of revelation. And particularly, it's a revelation of love.


There's a revelation of God in creation, of sat-chit-ananda, God is being, knowledge and bliss. And there is also in Hinduism a certain revelation of love. But the fullness of divine love was revealed in Christ. It was revealed in his sacrifice, his giving his life for the world. There's no man than this, a man laid down his life for his friends. And Jesus gives his life for the world. It's a sign of this love of God, which teaches us that that love of God is present in some way to humanity, everywhere and at all times. And that, I think, is what we need to realize when we look around the world. We see the terrible disasters, tragedies, human misery of everything. We have Christianity, we have religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and all our great spiritual traditions, trying to distinguish what is specific in each, and each has its own unique gift.


And I would think that this concept of love, of agape, is a very specific Christian understanding. Of course, there is love in all religions, but it's a question of what is the quality of the love. And first of all, he says, let us love one another. For love is of God, who loves is born of God and knows God. This idea that you come to God by loving your neighbor is rather specifically Christian. You see, I think in all the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, it's rather to separate yourself from the world, from other people, to enter into the heart, to discover the indwelling mystery in the heart. And that's obviously completely valid. But this idea that you discover God by going out to others, it's very Christian, I think. A Muslim would have it, certainly. It's in the Jewish tradition. But it's something very distinctive, you see,


that we find the love of God by loving somebody else. I think I mentioned this morning or last night, that the test of one's love of God is this love of other people, because it's not difficult to love God in your heart and to sing hymns and be joyful, but to love other people is very difficult, to do it daily and regularly. And that is the test, you see. The two have to come together. And he who does not love does not know God, for God is love. And that is also, you see, very interesting. Now, it's quite true. The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna, Come to me, give everything to me, for you are dear to me. And the idea that there is love between God and man and woman and humanity is true. But this idea that God is love in himself, you see,


love demands relationship, love is relationship, and if God is a pure unity, a pure simplicity, you can't say he's love. God can love human beings and human beings can love God, but you can't say God is love in himself. And I think the Christian mystery of the Trinity is precisely that in God there is relationship, and therefore there is love in God himself. Apart from everybody or anything, God is love in himself. So I think that is a very unique insight. Because again and again one comes to the Trinity is the unique Christian insight. Nowhere else do you find that understanding of the ultimate mystery of God, of creation, of truth, as relationship in God, you see. And of course it has a bearing on our whole life. And then in this the love of God was made manifest, that God sent his only son so that we might live through him. That obviously, of course, is specific Christian revelation, that God reveals himself in Jesus in this relation of sonship.


There again God reveals himself in Krishna and Rama in many ways, but not in this specific relationship of son to a father. Jesus always relates himself to God as father. No one knows the father of the son, no one knows the son of the father, he who loves me loves my father, and so on. It's always this relationship, you see. It's a revelation of God's love in relationship for the father and the son. And he sent his son that we might live through him, and in Jesus we see it manifested, this love of God, and we're able to participate in it, he communicates it, you see. The father reveals his love in the son, and the son communicates it in the spirit. And so the Trinity again, you see, is the center of Christian life. And then a very important point is this is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us. And for many people that's really been an overwhelming experience,


because often you think you're loving God and you do a lot of things, you maybe use some discipline and some yoga, and you practice meditation and so on, you're trying to get to God. Most of us, many people, are striving to get to God. But a tremendous difference comes when you realize that it's not you who are getting to God, it's God who's calling to you, calling you out. And all your efforts actually come from him. And a complete reversal takes place. You think, I'm making my way to God, struggling up the hill. But then you realize that God is coming to you and pulling you up all the time, and everything you do actually comes from him, and you find yourself in him. And love is, you see, in a deep sense, it's been said, you know, that God loves us into existence. We exist because God called us into existence, and we go on living because God is pulling us towards himself. And we're putting ourselves away from him very often, of course. And it's a struggle, you see, when the ego, the self, pulls away from love and then centers on itself.


But the pull is always there, drawing you back to love, drawing you back to itself. So that God loves us and sent his son to be the expiation for our sins. And that, again, is a very specific Christian, Jewish, Muslim also, understanding that we are in sin and that we're called out of this sin. And sin is this falling away from God, from truth, from love, you see. Sin is failure to love. It's the essence of sin is falling into egoism. And that God shows his love to us by giving his life in Jesus and freeing us from sin through this gift of love, you see. It's what love would set you free from sin. And I think Hindus find that a bit difficult. Somebody told me at the Fentesi, some of the Hindus found this kind of Christian expression of forgiveness of sin and so on a bit difficult to take.


Hindus have the idea of karma, which is very deep, that you're bound by the action of the past and you're enslaved to all this past karma. And the grace of God can lift you out of it. But they don't think of sin as a personal failure before God, you see, a failure of love to God. And again, that's somewhat specifically Christian. And in all this, I'm not trying to say one is better than the other. It's to learn to discern, you see, what is specifically Christian, what is specifically Hindu. As we were reflecting this afternoon, you see, many of these ways of meditation are specifically Hindu or Buddhist, and they've got a unique value. We've not got these methods in the Christian tradition. We learn them from the Buddhist and the Hindu. But there are other things which the Christian tradition has. No one has ever seen God. But if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfect in us. No one has ever seen God.


And it is true that it's the end of Christian life. We shall see him as he is, John says. But in Hinduism and in a different way in Buddhism, they're much more conscious of this need to see God. You see, Hinduism and Buddhism are more concerned with consciousness than with love. It's to raise your consciousness from the present mental level to a deeper level until you become aware of the mystery beyond the Godhead, you see, and that is to see God. The Buddhists would think of it more simply of dying to yourself, of losing this ego, this sapsaric self, and opening to the... Buddha didn't name the mystery, you see. The mystery is there in Buddhism just as much as in Hinduism or Christianity. So if we love one another, God abides in us. I think the Christian, you see, is less concerned with raising his consciousness


to get his awareness of God. We're learning it through Hinduism and Buddhism. But much more concerned that we find God by loving one another. And as I said, it goes back to the beginning, that does seem very distinctive. And that's why the Christians do a tremendous work of charity. In India, Mother Teresa, of course, is a great example. She's only one among thousands, you know, of people who dedicate their lives to the poor and people in need and show real love, you see. And I think it was interesting, there was a sort of government made some study of why Mother Teresa was so successful in that way. I forget the exact details of it, but I think they did feel, you see, what really distinguishes her work, and as I say, it's only typical of all that is going on in hundreds of other places, that it's giving love, you see. It's not merely that you care for people, you give them medicine and you do all you can for them, but you give them love. You give specifically the love of Christ.


When you hear Mother Teresa, I only heard her once, actually, in Bombay, you feel in her this tremendous, almost incarnate love, really, when she speaks of the poor and the children and people, you see such a compassion and such a, you know, concrete love in her, which is quite wonderful. And that is what it all means. And you find God in that love, you see. And if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. And the Christian understanding, you know, is again a little different. The Hindu speaks of a jiva-mukta, you've reached perfection in this life. Many would say Ramana Maharshi, for instance, who ran him alive, was a realized soul. He got to the end, he's perfect, perfected in knowledge and wisdom. He's a jnani, totally perfected, you see, and it's nothing beyond that. But the Christian would say you never reach perfection in this world, because you never reach the perfection of love. You always have more, I think, still further to go.


And for us, therefore, perfection remains for the world to come. And in this world, we can always grow in love, but they will never reach perfect knowledge. Whereas the Hindu would say even in this world you reach perfect knowledge. The jnani is one who knows. But we would say the perfect knowledge only comes when love is perfected, and that is also finally the vision of God. So these are distinctions which I think are important, you know, to try to understand the different traditions and relate them to one another and see what is distinctive in each. And each has its own special gift and something for us to learn. This story of the pleading of the 5,000, there's a great many meanings in it. First of all, Jesus has his compassion on these people. They've been a long time with him. Nowhere to go, it's late at night, and they need food.


But then there is this reckless feeding. And Jesus is not only feeding them with their bread, he's offering something more. And to the disciples, certainly, it would have reminded them of God feeding the Israelites in the desert. He fed them with his bread from heaven, a sign of God's providence, God caring for his people. And then again, it would remind them of the Messianic banquet at the end of time. God was to feed his people in the great banquet. And the Eucharist was always seen in the church as a sign of this Messianic banquet, God feeding his people, not merely with the daily bread, but with the bread of life, giving them this eternal life. So there are all these deep meanings. And I think when we reflect on it, we need to see all these meanings.


You see, people today feel the tremendous need of starving people all over the world and this terrible situation in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. And we know in India, there are millions of people who have insufficient to eat. And therefore, there's great concern to bring about some change, maybe political, social change, economic change, in order to feed the poor. And that is obviously a great need. But it's much more the need of the state than of the church. But Yves Candé was saying a few days ago that he thought by the end of this century, we would be able to overcome poverty in India. Maybe so, but certainly it's something which the state can do much more easily than the church. But when we feed people, we don't merely give them bread. When you share some food with somebody, you share your life with them. We meet together and we share food.


It's not just food for our belly that we take, it's a sharing together. In every meal, it's sharing. And so there's always that aspect. When we want to share, we help others. We don't merely give food, we give our love, we give our concern, we give our communion with them. And so every meal should have that other character. It's not merely taking food for this life, it's taking a love which we share with one another. And then beyond that human love, there is something in every meal when we share with people. We open to them a deeper love, the love which St. John speaks of in that letter. When we love somebody else, it's the love of God in us. It's through that love that we're able to love them. And we communicate something of that love to them. We make them realize that they're not living just for this world, for the present. They're living for eternal life. And God is giving them something of eternal life when we eat up, take that food.


And that, of course, is the deep meaning of the Eucharist. We share a meal together. We don't just take the food, we're not particularly interested in that. We take the love which we share with one another. And that love is the love of Christ who is giving himself for us, giving himself as our food and drink, communicating his life to us. So all these deep meanings are there. And I think when we think of social justice, we must keep all those meanings in mind. There's a great danger, because the need is so great, I think the primary need and the essential thing is to give people food. As I say, that's more a concern of the state than of the church. And it's very limited. Give people food for a day, they're hungry the next day. But even feed them for a year or two, or even for this life, they're still going to be hungry for the future life, for the life of eternity. And so what people want is more than food and drink. They want love, they want care, they want a sharing.


And then that love and that sharing is not merely for this world. It's a sharing in the love of God, of the eternal truth and love, and the eternal life. So all these meanings are there, and all these dimensions. And I think we have to bring them into everything we do. Never do something merely on a physical level. When we eat a meal, we're not simply taking food into our bellies. We're sharing with one another, and that food comes from God. It's the life which God has given to the world. And every meal is a sacrament in that sense. And when we celebrate the Eucharist, it's a kind of consolation of these different levels. You see, there is the physical food there, very limited obviously. And then there is the sharing with one another, which is a deep communion with one another. And then that communion is not merely with one another, it's with Christ, with God. As St. John says, our communion, our koinonia, is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And we come to celebrate this great mystery, this banquet together,


which is a sign of that banquet at the end of time. And we all share together the love of God and the life of God. So all these deep meanings are there, and we need to bring them into our lives, and to make every action we do meaningful in that way. So that we are always living not merely in this world, but realizing how God is in the midst of everything, in everything we do. And we thank God in each person, in each thing. ...the heart of the Gospel, the heart of Christ. In the Gospels generally, especially the first three, we see Jesus more in His relation to the world around Him, His action. And in this we see the heart, the inner mystery of Christ.


And I think here in India it's particularly important that Hindus are always interested in the inner life, the inner mystery of the heart. And this is a great revelation of this inner mystery. He says... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has seen God if we love one another. God abides in us. We did that yesterday. And it's the great principle of St. John, you see, the love of God is tested by your love of your neighbor. And as I said, it's very fundamental, it's one way we can test it. And actually, you know, when the church tries to judge sanctity or revelations and so on, they always test it by the life. For instance, Bernadette, you know, had these visions of Our Lady,


and nobody believed them, they kept questioning her. But when they saw her integrity and her goodness and essential love, then they were able to recognize that they were true. So it's always a test. Then he says, by this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us his own spirit. And this is very important, you see, that this love of God is not come from man. It is the presence of God in man. And the Christian mystery is precise, that God, who is love, communicates that love itself to us. The spirit is the love of God, communicated to man, and we experience it in our spirit. The spirit of man experiences the presence of the spirit of God. And this is how we know that we abide in him and he in us, because we've been given that spirit. And we've seen and testified, the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.


And this is a point which many people today find difficult. Many people say they can't face Christ in their prayer, their meditation, and so on. And it's not easy always. And the way I like to approach it is this, that God himself is incomprehensible. He is the eternal, infinite, transcendent mystery beyond, of course, no word, no thought can express or describe him. So God has to make himself known, and he makes himself known through symbols. You see, a symbol is a sign in which reality is present. The sun is a symbol of light and warmth, and there is light and warmth in the sun. So we use symbols to make God known to us and to experience his presence. But there are always signs which point beyond themselves, you see. And all religions consist of symbols of God, an infinite variety of symbols. Some are very elementary, some of the tribal religions, for instance.


Others are much more profound. And the Christian belief would be that Jesus is the supreme symbol in which the total reality is present. God is manifested in Rama and Krishna and so many other symbols of God, you see. But he's manifested in Jesus in this totality. St. Paul says in him, well, the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And so to recognize Jesus as the sun is to recognize him as the supreme symbol by which we know the Father. You see, through that sign we come to the reality. So he makes God the Father known and communicates him to us in the spirit of love. I don't know whether that makes it more intelligible, but many people find a problem there. How do we place Jesus in relation to God himself and to other forms in which God reveals himself in other religions?


So he says, whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God abides in him and he in God. You see, when you recognize the presence of God in Jesus, then you abide in God and God in him. And it's an experience in the spirit. It's not simply an intellectual acceptance. Your mind says Jesus is God. That's fairly easy. But to experience the presence of God in Jesus, you see, that is the test. And when that takes place, then we abide in God and God in us. So we know and be the love God has for us. God is love and he who abides in love abides in God. So it's the further test, you see. You become aware of the presence of God in Jesus and you experience that presence of God and you know it through love. Your love for God, God's love for you, which again is tested by your love for others. So there's a whole sort of hierarchy in it, you see. And this is love perfected in us, that we may have confidence in the Day of Judgment,


because as he is, so are we in this world. And this is this question of the Day of Judgment, you see, that there's imperfection in every person and we all experience it in ourselves and we're all being judged all the time and we're judged by love. You see, the last judgment is the judgment of love. How have I responded to love? And if we fail totally in love, we fail totally in the judgments. And if we've succeeded somewhat in love, then we open ourselves to that love and gradually we're transformed. So that is, there's no other judgment except the judgment of absolute love. That is the test. And then he says, there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. And that's very important too, because many people begin with a fear of God. And there's a great danger in that. For some people, God is extremely remote from their childhood. They've been taught that God is just and they are sinful and there's a great gulf between them and Him.


It's very disastrous for some people, that sense of a gulf between them and God. And that's why I think this presence of the Spirit is so important. You see, if you think of God as the Father above, you could be afraid of Him and your child is afraid of the Father. But when you know that God is the Spirit in you, that His love is present in you and that is the mode of His being in you, then it makes a tremendous difference. So there's no fear in that, you see. As long as God is outside you, you can be afraid of Him. But when you know God within, in the heart, and alone in our being, as love, then there is no fear anymore. For fear has to do with punishment, and who fears is not perfected in love. We love because He first loved us, as we saw that last time. And that, as you know, is the great revelation, as I said last night. We think we're loving God all the time. We're trying to love Him and meditating and praying and so on. But we discover that all the time God is praying in us.


God is urging us, moving us, and helping us to experience His love. And any love we have for God is God's love in us. There's no loving for ourselves. It's totally His gift, His being in us. So, as I said, this is really the Christian mystery of the Gospel. I think we should pray very much. These so-called nature miracles have disturbed critics today very much. Many refuse to believe them. As I was saying, the understanding of matter and life today is very different from what it was. Most of us have grown up in this view that matter is a solid substance outside of us, which obeys mechanical laws. And you can't walk on water, you can't walk on fire, and so on. And gradually we're discovering that this is an illusion.


Let's say science today knows that matter is not a solid substance at all. It's a field of energies. And further, that field of energies is not separated from mind. You can't separate the mind from the matter, which the observer is always involved in what he's observing. This is now accepted in general. So the Western mind is gradually rediscovering what the ancient mind knew perfectly well, that mind and matter are interdependent and interrelated. And we live in a world in which matter is constantly under the direction of mind. It's being transformed by mind. And the miracles of Jesus are one of these signs of the transformation of matter by mind. The final fulfillment of it all was the resurrection. The material body was transfigured from the mind by the spirit. And a new creation came into being.


And so these miracles really have a very significant importance for us because we have to get rid of this illusion, you see, that we're living in this material world which is simply conditioning us. And most of us have grown up with that illusion. And particularly in regard to medicine, of course. People think that sickness is simply a physical disease. Some germs have got into you. And you can get some other germs and chemicals and you can change the situation. But more and more we're realizing that all disease is psychosomatic. That mind and matter are never separated. Body and mind act on each other. The body acts on the mind and the mind acts on the body. And when you're diseased, it's because of some imbalance between your body and your mind. And you have to be restored to wholeness. And when Jesus healed people, he was restoring the body-mind to its wholeness.


And so we're gradually discovering that the material universe around us is not simply a solid matter which we can't change at all. It's subject to the activity of the mind. And in India, for centuries, we've had this knowledge of siddhis. Siddhis are powers of mind over matter. And they've been illustrated again and again throughout the ages and still are being demonstrated today. I mentioned that to Sai Baba. He's an extreme example of it, who has this control over matter. He can produce things from the air. And there was a Swami who came to our ashram not long ago, who lives in British, Swami Premaranda. And he has these siddhis, these gifts. If you want to visit him, you'll see. And he will produce things out of the air. And so it's simply a fact that the mind can control matter in this way.


And that, you see, influences our attitude to life. We all tend to think that, as I say, particularly in medicine, that we're under control of disease. We get a disease, something comes from outside, and therefore you put some chemicals in and you can change it. But it's never from outside merely. It's because you're open to those germs and things that you suffer from it. Some people get a cold and some don't, because some are subject and some are not. And so we have to recognize, you see, that the world around us is not this material substance, but is a living reality, you see. We're all involved in it. Our bodies are part of this whole physical universe, and our minds are part of the whole. And they're all interacting all the time. And as we begin to realize this, we begin to realize that the Spirit, God Himself, is in that matter and in that mind. And we've got the illusion God is something up there,


and here is this world here, and sometimes He acts upon it, but normally He leaves it alone. But this is a pure illusion. God is in the matter and in the mind. And the matter and the mind only work because God is in them. Without Him, they would not exist at all. And so in ourselves we have a body and we have a mind, but beyond and within the body and within the mind is the Spirit of God, and we only live by the Spirit. We don't live by the body and we don't live by the mind. We live by the Spirit. And in prayer and in meditation, we try to open ourselves to the presence of the Spirit within, to realize that it can control the body and control the mind. Many people have experienced miracles in their life, in the charismatic movement, among others. As you know, immediate healings take place. There's nothing extraordinary in that. It's simply that the Spirit within has been allowed to act more perfectly on the mind than on the body,


and so the healing can take place. So we all have to ask for this deeper awareness, and it's mainly through meditation that we become aware of something beyond the body and beyond the mind. So often you see prayer stops with the mind. We think about God and we ask Him to do things and so on, but it's all in the mind. It hasn't gone beyond the mind to the point of the Spirit, and God is immediately present. God is present everywhere, but He's immediately present in the Spirit, and when we open our hearts and minds to the Spirit, then the action of God begins to work in us, and all these miracles can take place. These physical miracles are not particularly important. Jesus did some of them occasionally, partly to wake people up, but they're not the important things. He healed also their bodies, but that equally is not the most important thing. But then He healed the person. He made the person whole. You'll be made whole, He would say, and that's what they're asking for, to be made whole.


And when we come together in the Eucharist, as I said, we have the same mystery. The matter of the bread and the wine is part of this physical universe, which is subject to the powers of the mind and to the power of the Spirit, which is in all matter. And in the Holy Eucharist, that matter, that bread and wine, becomes informed by the Spirit. So the Spirit of God is in that bread and that wine, transforming it, making it into the Body of God and Christ, communicating His life to us. And this is normal, in a sense. We call it a miracle of the life, but it's normal. It's the way the universe is made. That matter should be subject to mind, and matter and mind should be servants of the Spirit. So we try to enter into this mystery, which is really becoming much more real, I think, to us. And when we reflect on it, we can live it more intensely. If we simply think the Eucharist is a miracle,


absolutely without any relation to anything else, then it may be very difficult to believe it. But when you realize it's part of a whole world which God has created, where Spirit is always active in matter and in mind, and this is a particular example where that part of God is at work. So we take that as an example, and God is working many other ways to make Himself present to us. So we ask for the insight into the mystery to share in this power of the Spirit, which is at work in the Eucharist, but also at work in the world as a whole. Saint John, this is a crucial matter of loving one's brother. If anyone says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar.


For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, he does not love God whom he has not seen. It is very crucial, really, and very challenging, because it's only too easy to love God and not to love one's brother. That is almost universal. And, of course, it depends on who you think your brother is. And most religious people think their brother is their fellow religious, whether you're a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim, whatever. Your brother is your fellow religious, and outside are other people. It's very strong among the Jews. Anybody who is not a Jew is a sinner, sinners of the Gentiles. And the same attitude is prevailed among Christians. If you're a Christian or a Catholic, then you have no brothers, but outside there are people rejected. And it's extremely difficult to get beyond this and to ask yourself, who is my brother, you see?


It's the point that Jesus, as you know, told the story of the Good Samaritan. And the Jews went by, the priest went by, and the Levite went by, and he wasn't his brother, you see. And then a Samaritan came and saw this man lying there, and he showed his brother. And the answer is that every man is our brother, and it's extremely difficult to love every man. Love is not the same as liking or approving. You don't have to like everybody or approve everybody. But to love is to will the good of another, total will of good for that person, whatever his character or his behavior or whatever he does, if he's a Hitler or a Stalin or whoever you like to choose, you can't give up love for that person. And you seek their good, you seek their salvation, you seek the grace of God for them, and so on. And it's terribly easy, as I say, to do the opposite, and it's only too common in the church, you see. Certain people are rejected. If you're a homosexual or if you've got some particular bias,


then you're rejected, you're a bad person, and you don't love that person anymore. And this has terrible consequences, so we all need to reflect on it, and it's pretty easy, because our natural reaction for certain people we dislike, and again, you see, you get all these conflicts with the Tamils, you see, and the Singhalese, or with the Christians in the Lebanon and the Muslims, or the Israelis and the Palestinians, and you hate your enemy. And unfortunately, I ought to mention this, you see, the Psalms are full of this hatred of your enemies, and I think it's terribly dangerous when we read them. I was just looking today, you see, when reading the 80th Psalm, and it says... "...that my people would heed me," and so on, "'I would subdue their foes, "'turn my hand against their enemies.' "'The Lord's enemies would cringe at their feet, "'and their subjection would last forever.'"


See, people who don't agree with you or agree with your religion are your enemies, and you're asking God to crush them forever. That's disastrous, you see. And the consequence of all these terrible wars of religion, you see, with Christians and Muslims and Jews, they're all fighting, and this comes from this false attitude towards God and your neighbour. And Jesus really did come to change that, you see. The Good Samaritan is a classic example of this, where your brother is the person who's in need there. Maybe you're a foreigner or whatever you like. So, as I say, we really ought to reflect on it, because it's the great abuse of religion, and because people see that, you see, among Christians and Muslims and others, they reject religion altogether, you see, and people today are very sensitive to that. This concern for your neighbour is... It's a very... It's a very religious in the world, like humanists and others,


and when they see religious people doing the opposite, they reject religion. So we all need to reflect. And it's very striking, you see. It's the heart of the Gospel, as St John sees it. And this command we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also. It's really the central doctrine. And then he says, everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ, is a child of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. And if you really believe in Jesus and his teaching and so on, then you'll recognise all men as your brothers, and as you love the parent of God, so you love the child, the child of God, and you have love to others. And by this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. And the commandments all really come to one, you see. The very one commandment, you love the Lord your God with heart and soul and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself,


is the commandment. And by doing that, we show love to God. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commands are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is a victory that overcomes the world. So, you see, the commandment is love, and that commandment is not burdensome, though it's difficult. It's extremely difficult when a person attacks you, and you per se, but your family, your people, your nation, whatever, then they become your enemies, and then you begin to hate them, and you call God's vengeance on them, and so on. But the love when you're attacked, when you're hated, when you're persecuted, and so on, that's the test. And yet that is what overcomes the world, you see. It's that power of love which Jesus showed to the end by dying on behalf of his enemies in love, that overcomes the world. And that is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.


The faith that God is love, and that love can overcome all hostility or evil in the world. And it's very difficult to believe, because you see such terrible things happening, and love is apparently despised and rejected, and that doesn't apparently succeed, because often you simply get killed if you love, as Jesus himself was. But that is the truth, that love is the strongest thing in the world. It may not show in this life, but its final reality is love, and that is the only law there is. So, as I say, I think this letter of St. John is so profoundly ready, shows what the gospel is. This sermon of Jesus at Nazareth has become a kind of theme of the preaching of the gospel today. People are much aware of all the poverty and suffering, oppression in the world,


in India and elsewhere. And the church has made this option for the poor, and people feel this great call to go out and preach this gospel for the poor, and not merely to preach it, but to share the life and the problems of the poor, and to help them, and to share with them, and also to heal in every way that is possible, the sick and the crippled and so on. There is this great movement, and it's not only in the church, but throughout the world there is a great movement towards concern for the handicapped in every way. And obviously this is a great movement with grace. But on the other hand, we have to try to see it in its context, because after all, as I was saying, Jesus says, oh, this has been fulfilled, but we don't see it fulfilled. And when we see the immensity of the problems,


and also how slow and difficult progress is, one could easily despair. I think if you put all your hope that you're going to see all this coming to pass, you're under an illusion, and you'll get disillusioned and cynical about it. And therefore we always have to see this in the context of the resurrection. And Jesus was really, everything he said and did was in the context of the resurrection, of the new world. And we have to recover that perspective. See, the danger today is people see the great need of the world, and they see this call of the gospel, and then they go all out to relieve suffering and oppression and so on. And then they forget this other dimension. And this is a reaction, in a sense, against the opposite. For a very long time, people saw so much misery in the world, they didn't see how you could change it,


and their whole hope was set on the world to come. And we have the same in India, the sense that this world is maya, that's simply a vast mess of misery and illusion, and you've got to get beyond the world. And I think we have to reconcile these two. You see, if either by itself is false, if you simply think that the gospel is changing the lives of people in this world, you will end with disillusionment. And on the other hand, if you think that this world is simply an illusion and the world to come is all that matters, you will be deceiving yourself also. And really our problem is how to keep those two perspectives in balance, in harmony. See, there is a work to do in the world to change the life of the world, and day by day we have to work that, and yet at the same time we have to recognize there's no fulfillment in this world. Whatever you do is always limited and inadequate, and it never answers the problem finally,


and therefore we always look to a final fulfillment. My kingdom is not of this world. Jesus is preaching a kingdom which goes beyond this world and is beyond space and time, you see. This world is a world of space and time, and as long as we're in space and time, we'll always be limited, we'll always never reach any final satisfaction, but we're called to something beyond space and time. Our whole being is in space and in time. We have a physical body, and we have soul and thoughts and me moving in time. But beyond the body and beyond the soul, beyond space and time, there is a hidden mystery of eternity, the eternal reality which is always there, in a sense. You see, eternity is not simply beyond time, it's in time. That eternal reality is here and now. And so we live in this sort of dual universe, and that is the problem of human life, this duality.


We live in this world of space and time, and yet we're being called to something beyond space and time, which transcends and yet is present. You see, eternity is in time, and time is in eternity. There are two dimensions, and we have always to be aware of the eternal dimension in the midst of time and the infinite in the midst of space and limitation. So we live a mystery, you see, and we have to keep two sides of the mystery always in mind. And when we celebrate the Eucharist, I think, it's a very good example of it, you see. We see the bread and the wine, and we share with one another in a normal way, and yet we try to realize that in that bread and wine, which is here in space and in time, the eternal mystery is present. God is present in this eternal mystery, in this bread and wine, in this space and time, which we're celebrating now. So we live in time and eternity, and we have to learn to see how they come together,


time in eternity and eternity in time. And that is the mystery we celebrate.