4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we hold the Self Care Fair in our cafeteria. We have been promoting this event together with the “Empty Bowls Franklin” that takes place at the Double Tree hotel today. In this context, I think it is very fitting that we ask an important question: Should the church be concerned only with the spiritual health of the parishioners? Traditionally the answer we hear may be ‘YES.’ But the answer from the Bible is ‘NO!’ The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” There are many other references to show how the Bible is interested not only in our soul-health but also in the health of our body and mind. Here are just a few:

Genesis.” 1:29 “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.

You shall have them for food.”

   3 John 1:2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well”.

   1 Timothy 5:23: “Do not go on drinking only water, but also use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”

 Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”.

  Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’”

  Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”.

This inter-connectedness of mind, body and soul that the Bible teaches is corroborated by many researches. Look at some of their conclusions:

  1. Acidity is caused not only by diet errors, but more dominated because of stress.
  2. Hypertension is caused not only by too much consumption of salty foods, but mainly because of too much worries about future.
  3. Cholesterol is caused not only by fatty foods, but the excessive laziness or sedentary lifestyle is more responsible.
  4. Asthma not only because of the disruption of oxygen supply to lungs, but often sad feelings make lungs unstable.
  5. Diabetes not only because of too much consumption of glucose, but selfish & stubborn attitude disrupts the function of the pancreas.

Today’s Self Care Fair organized by our Youth Ministry/SMYLE – in collaboration with St. Augustine’s Kendall Park, Holy Family, New Brunswick, and St. Joseph, Bound Brook – is truly an effort to be holistic in our faith formation. The God of the Bible wants our growth in all life dimensions: physical or biological, mental or psychological, moral and social. The disciplines of medicine, psychology, even organizational development. Luke 2:52 captures in the life of Christ this holistic concept: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”  It is this holistic growth that we are promoting here in our parish through various events and activities. I invite us all to participate and be more holistic in our thinking and living.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal