Thoughts for the Upper Room
(Released in January 2005 by St. Paul Publications, Mumbai, Pages: 334; Price; INR125/-)
( Brief description)
‘Thoughts for the Upper Room’ is a collection of reflections for all and sundry. They are a ready-to-use comprehensive collection written in simple and conversational style. Though they are not arranged day-wise and cycle-wise the topics cover almost everyday of the liturgical year. For between the two-year weekday and among the three-year Sunday cycles there are some overlapping of themes. They can almost be improvised and used for any occasion in the life of the community. The reflections on the lives of the saints are by no means exhaustive. Besides, the focus is on the readings for the feast day and not on the life itself. Of course, the indexes (alphabetical and scriptural) at the end of the book will be of great practical help to the everyday preacher to locate a topic/theme he/she needs.
‘Upper Room’ is the place where Jesus celebrated the first Eucharist with his beloved disciples on the eve of his passion and death. Therefore ‘Thoughts’ are primarily meant for the Eucharistic celebrations, wherever we choose to have them. In fact in the early Christian community the Eucharist or the Breaking of the Bread was done in rooms (homes) of people. Gradually the Eucharist was moved away from homes to chapels, churches to big Cathedrals and Basilicas. Today there is a trend in the opposite direction especially with the emphasis on Small Christian Community, in imitation of the early Christian community.
The Upper Room, situated in the city of Jerusalem, is also the place where Mary the Mother of Jesus along with the eleven disciples prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 12-14). Mary is the queen of the Apostles and in effect of all disciples of Jesus. The Thoughts therefore is an attempt to meditate and ponder upon the Word of God along with Mary and like Mary.
Most reflections do end with the application of the Word of God to life situations. In other words, the emphasis throughout the ‘Thoughts’ has been on Eucharist flowing into life. The Eucharist celebrated on the altar in the midst of the community has to be celebrated on the altar of the world in the midst of the society. Religion, in its true sense, should have integral link with life and hence Eucharist should have a relation with life out there.
While the Eucharist is the centre of Christian Life, still as a Sacrament, it is only a means towards the end. The end certainly is the establishing of the Kingdom of God for which Christ came into this world. Now the Kingdom is not a place or ‘locus’ rather it stands for the values – Truth, Love, Justice and Peace. These values are primarily in our hearts. When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is within you,” he meant exactly that. Each of us needs only to discover these values within us. Eucharist is the means first of all to strengthen and experience these values personally and then bring them forth into the world.
What is the sign that the Kingdom has come? When the blind see, the deaf hear and the goodnews is preached to the poor; when the ‘Goodnews’ has become ‘really good’ for the poor. To put it bluntly, when the values are slowly and gradually being established in the midst of the world. Wherever these values are established the Kingdom has come. There it is happiness and bliss and there we meet God face to face, which is the ultimate end of all human beings. Ultimately, it is the fulfillment of the vision of Jesus to usher a new heaven and new earth.