New Year – New Life – Right to Life
Happy New Year: At the outset, I wish you all, dear Friends, a very happy new year. This New Year (2023) shall be a promising year for us to renew our friendship with each other and the Lord, and to rejuvenate ourselves to serve the Lord and His people with new energy and new hope. I feel that years swiftly pass by and if we are not aware, many changes would go unnoticed. We shall pause for a while to recall the graces that we received from His goodness and refocus on to the right path
that the Lord wants us to take.
New Life: Dear Friends, we read in Revelation 21:5, And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” This is the New Year message for us that the Lord invites all of us to understand that He is making all
things new in our life-mission. The disposition that we need to have is to be open to His invitation and live according to His plan. Let us implore the Lord to give us new eyes, new perspectives, new mind-sets so that we can see Him working in new ways in and through the marginalised people and the needy.
Right to Life: We have been continually reflecting on the Indian Constitution every month. I believe such a practice will not only help us the citizens to comprehend the weightage that our Constitution holds but also inspire our stake-holders to realise that the Constitution guarantees all of us the right to
life. ‘The right to life’ is enshrined in the Constitution. Art.21 reads, ‘No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law’. The same is beautifully presented as the Art. 2 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Right to Dignified Life: It was so heart-breaking to hear at the close of year 2022, about the shameful incident of caste atrocity, in the form of human excrement was discovered in the lone overhead tank supplying potable water to the Dalit village which took place at Vengaivayal in Muttukkadu Panchayat, Pudukkottai District. In such context of outrageous caste oppression, how do we understand the
Constitutional Value of ‘right to dignified life’? Life is a special gift of God. No one has the right to deny the dignity to anyone in this world. No family member, friend, foe, caste or Government has the right to repudiate or end the life of anyone. The assurance to have a good life is a basic right of all human beings.
More than a good life, everyone has the right to have a dignified life which is intrinsic to every human because she or he is ‘created in the image of God’ (Gen 1:27). The caste atrocity like what occurred at Vengaivayal village is the outright denial of such human dignity of the persons and against the image of God. When we speak of right to life, we also mean that there should be a mechanism in the world to safeguard every human being from the denial of right for to dignified life. Every human person is responsible the dignified life of the other human persons. Do I have a mechanism created within myself to safeguard the lives of my neighbour? And, do we have a social and communitarian mechanism to protect the life of everyone and more especially of those around us? Do I take efforts to make things new in my life and that of the other?
Pope Benedict XVI: At this moment, I remember the great soul, former Pope Benedict XVI who
surrendered himself to the Lord after 95 fruitful years on earth. In his eulogy on the Pope Emeritus,
Fr. General expresses that his personal love for Jesus Christ remains an invitation to all of us Jesuits ‘to
preserve and cultivate a living relationship with the person of Jesus, without which our life would lose its
deepest meaning’. We shall continue to implore the support of the Pope emeritus to bless our life- mission and to make all things new. We shall continue to reflect and act towards conservation of the dignified life to all as we gloriously begin the New Year. God bless all our endeavours and
wish you all a meaningful New Year 2023!
Provincial – Chennai Jesuits