Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Great Lent-Week 2; Christian Persecution

Volume 5 No. 265 February 20, 2015

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Coptic Chrystian Martyrs Brutally Murdered by ISIS
Coptic Christian Martyrs Who Were Brutally Murdered by ISIS
Their only last words: "Jesus, help me!"

"They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. … The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. .. Their blood confesses Christ. The martyrs belong to all Christians."
- Pope Francis responding to the news that 21 Egyptian Christians have been beheaded by Islamic State militants.

Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered: and let them that hate him flee from before his face. As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
- Psalm 67:2–3

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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I. This Sunday in Church: Great Lent Week 2

1. Bible Readings for This Sunday (February 22)

Bible Readings For The Second Sunday of Great Lent

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_2nd_sunday_of_Great-Lent.htm

2. Sermons for This Sunday (February 22)

Sermons For The Second Sunday of Great Lent

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_2nd-sunday-in-Lent.htm

3. Lent Is a Season of Hope

Lent is a season of love. Our hope rests in the fact that Jesus has defeated sin. He has delivered us from the bondage of sin and He will continue to deliver us with ever-increasing power. How He longs to gather His children together in His embrace (Mark 10:16). ...

4. The Joy of Lent

Nothing brings us closer to Christ than walking alongside him and doing the things he did for love of God the Father. During Lent, God invites us to purify our hearts and minds and to turn our intentions back to him. Christ’s public ministry was lived each day in loving obedience to the Father’s will. Our Lenten program should reflect that same simple, yet demanding, obedience and love. ...

5. Lent Is The Time For Repentance

The word "repentance" is equally synonymous with "conversion". Lent calls upon us to put the spirit of repentance into practice, not according to its negative meaning of sadness and frustration but according to that of the uplifting of our minds, of freedom from evil, detachment from sin and all those influences that may hinder our progress towards fullness of life. Repentance as cure, reparation, change of mind, which disposes us for faith and grace but which presupposes will, effort and perseverance. ...

6. Lord Do Not Wish The Death of The Sinner But His Repentance

Let us fix our attention on the blood of Christ and recognize how precious it is to God his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world. If we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. ...

7. Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc. Read the articles about how to practice lent. Then do the reading for the day specified. We will guide you week by week. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Week 2 of Great Lent
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Lent_week2.htm

II. Featured Gospel: Garbo - Healing a Leper

8. The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Leper (Part One)

The Bible shows Christ healing people of leprosy twice during His ministry. The first case, in which a single man is healed, appears in Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; and Luke 5:12-16. The three parallel accounts provide a more complete witness by adding valuable details. The second healing of lepers, involving ten men, is found only in Luke 17:12-19. ...

9. The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Leper (Part Two)

His advanced disease had certainly put the leper who approached Jesus Christ in a bad way. His situation seemed hopeless - until God sent His Son as Healer and Savior. The man, having heard Jesus' message of hope, and realizing that this unique, godly Man was nearby, sought out His help. He would not be disappointed. ...

10. The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Leper (Part Three)

In performing the healing of the leper, "Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed'" (Mark 1:41). In this miracle, we receive a glimpse of how cleansing works to prepare us for salvation. The physical cleansing of the leper resulted from God's grace, power, and faithful word. Similarly, spiritual cleansing of sins and flaws results directly from God's grace, power, and word, preparing us spiritually for His work in us. ...

11. Healing of A Leper

The encounter with Jesus changed the leper's life forever. Rather than an encounter with love, it was an encounter of love. Every encounter requires someone's initiative. Although the leper is the one to approach Jesus, is it not Jesus who first makes himself accessible? In the same way, Jesus had initiated the encounter with his first disciples when he walked along the shores of Lake Tiberius, allowing Andrew and John to ask, "Rabbi, where are you staying?" ...

12. Jesus Heals The Leper

Like the leper we should rejoice in the Lord and spread the good news of His mercy. We should testify to our healing by living changed lives. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, we should do even the littlest things for the glory of God and that others may be saved. ...

III. Christian Persecution

13. Cardinal Dolan: ISIS Threatens Whole Civilization -- No One Can Be Silent

"Simply because these Christians make the sign of the cross, there is a price on their head," Cardinal Dolan observed, adding that "we cannot ignore their cries and cannot let their blood be spilled without moving us to tears and saying, 'this must stop.'" ...

14. Blood and Ecumenism - Pope Francis and the Copts

The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard...It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. ...

15. Should We Pray for the Defeat of ISIS, or Their Conversion?

A pastor friend told me last week that he had church members enraged with him when he suggested from the pulpit that we ought to pray for the salvation of Islamic State terrorists. The people in his church told him that he ought to be calling for justice against them, given their brutal murder of Christians, not for mercy. ...

IV. Regular Columns

16. Health: Depression in the Land of Happiness - A Chilling Reality

About 120 million people in India, enough to fill a state the size of Maharashtra, suffer from clinical depression. They navigate through jagged decades of health and work, tormented by troubled moods and disturbed brains, alternating between full-blown agitation and wakeful lucidity, causing heartbreak to their loved ones and challenges to their doctors...Every four minutes, someone commits suicide. If that's a young life, below 30, then it is the second most common way to die in India today. ...

17. Recipe: Garlic Mushroom

18. About Malankara World

I. This Sunday in Church: Great Lent Week 2
Bible Readings for This Sunday (February 22)
Sermons for This Sunday (February 22)
Lent Is a Season of Hope
We come to the season of Lent, our "springtime" of refreshing and hope. Think of what it's like to plant a garden. Would you till the soil, plant the seeds, and faithfully monitor the crops if you had no hope for any growth? Would you spend your time, money, and energy for nothing? Of course not. We plant because we expect some return, some fruit, for our labors. With this in mind, we can understand how deeply God our Father is committed to the Church. God loves His creation. He loves each and every person. His intention that His Church bear lasting fruit is unshakable and unending. Full of love, God looks for a fruitful return on all He has given us.

Lent is a season of love. Our hope rests in the fact that Jesus has defeated sin. He has delivered us from the bondage of sin and He will continue to deliver us with ever-increasing power. How He longs to gather His children together in His embrace (Mark 10:16). We have hope because God is for us, and no one can stand against us (Romans 8:31-32). He is on our side, eager to give us everything we need to grow more and more into the image of His Son, Jesus.

God will never abandon us. He will show us the way to our eternal home, and as we travel along the way, He will form us into His body. In His mercy, He has not left us helpless, but has given us wonderful gifts to help us follow Him – faith and grace, His body and blood in the Eucharist, sanctifying gifts, and spiritual gifts. How wonderful is our God, so wonderful that we can see our lives change to reflect His life more and more!

Every Lent, God, like a farmer, wants to plant seeds in the Church and watch them spring up. He eagerly waits to see new fruit, both in our own lives and in our neighborhoods and communities. He wants to see His people experience all the grace and power they received when they were baptized. He longs to see His Church shine as a light to the world as the people proclaim the Gospel in words and in acts of love.

May this Lent be a time of peace and comfort for you as you seek a deeper experience of God's presence in your life. May we all know God's abundant love more deeply.

Source: A Christian Pilgrim

The Joy of Lent

Jesus said to his disciples:

"Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your almsgiving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, they neglect their appearance so that they may appear to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."
-
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Introductory Prayer:

Lord, you know how much I need you and depend on you. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in your love and mercy in my daily actions. I hope to learn to trust more in your power, your promise, and your grace. Lord, I wish to start this season of Lent with a sincere desire to grow in love, preparing myself worthily to celebrate the mysteries of your passion, death and resurrection.

Petition:

Lord, help me learn to change what needs to change in my life.

1. Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving:

As we begin the Lenten season, we are reminded of the need to make reparation for our sins and be reconciled with God. Any attempt to build a spiritual life that neglects the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is building on sand. Prayer purifies our intentions and relates all we do to God. Fasting detaches us from our comfort and from ourselves. Almsgiving reflects our brotherhood with the poor of Jesus’ family and reminds us that our true wealth is not in things, but in the love of God. We all need to do a reality check on our spiritual lives to make sure we are committed to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

2. Lose the Show:

Jesus is severe in criticizing the hypocrites who parade their works before others to get attention. Such parades are of no use in pleasing God or making up for our sins; they only add to our sinfulness. He encourages us to pray in private, to fast and give alms in secret, without calling the attention of others to what we are doing. In this way we can be sure we are doing all for love of God and not for love of self. Those who make an outward show of piety or generosity "have already received their reward" in this world, and they store up no treasure in heaven. Let us work silently and discreetly, with no other intention but pleasing God alone.

3. Joyful Sacrifice:

Nothing brings us closer to Christ than walking alongside him and doing the things he did for love of God the Father. During Lent, God invites us to purify our hearts and minds and to turn our intentions back to him. Christ’s public ministry was lived each day in loving obedience to the Father’s will. Our Lenten program should reflect that same simple, yet demanding, obedience and love. What can I do for God today? What sacrifice can I offer that will be pleasing to him? Once I decide on it, I will carry it out with no one else knowing.

Conversation with Christ:

Jesus, give me the grace to begin this Lent with great enthusiasm and love. Help me live it with joy, knowing that I am living it in your presence to please you and you alone.

Resolution:

I will make a Lenten program of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Source: Regnum Christi

Lent Is The Time For Repentance

by Pope John-Paul II

"Come back to me with all your heart" (Joel 2,12)

This important time in the liturgical year is characterized by the biblical message that can be summed up in a word… : "Repent"… The evocative ceremony of the ashes raises our minds to the eternal reality that will never pass away, to God who is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega of our existence (Rv 21,6). For conversion is indeed nothing other than a return to God, a putting earthly realities into perspective against the unfailing light of his truth. It is an evaluation that leads us to have an ever greater consciousness of the fact that we are only passing through the midst of this world's toilsome vicissitudes and that prompts and encourages us to make every possible effort so that God's Kingdom may be established within ourselves and his justice triumph.

The word "repentance" is equally synonymous with "conversion". Lent calls upon us to put the spirit of repentance into practice, not according to its negative meaning of sadness and frustration but according to that of the uplifting of our minds, of freedom from evil, detachment from sin and all those influences that may hinder our progress towards fullness of life. Repentance as cure, reparation, change of mind, which disposes us for faith and grace but which presupposes will, effort and perseverance. It is repentance as an expression of our free and generous engagement in the following of Christ.

Source: Daily Gospel Commentary

Lord Do Not Wish The Death of The Sinner But His Repentance

by Pope Saint Clement of Rome

Let us fix our attention on the blood of Christ and recognize how precious it is to God his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world. If we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached God's message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed, but when they repented, their prayers gained God's forgiveness for their sins, and they were saved, even though they were not of God's people.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God's grace have spoken of repentance; indeed, the Master of the whole universe himself spoke of repentance with an oath: As I live, says the Lord, I do not wish the death of the sinner but his repentance. He added this evidence of his goodness: House of Israel, repent of your wickedness. Tell the sons of my people: If their sins should reach from earth to heaven, if they are brighter than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, you need only turn to me with your whole heart and say, "Father", and I will listen to you as a holy people.

In other words, God wanted all his beloved ones to have the opportunity to repent and he confirmed this desire by his own almighty will. That is why we should obey his sovereign and glorious will and prayerfully entreat his mercy and kindness. We should be suppliant before him and turn to his compassion, rejecting empty works and quarrelling and jealousy which only lead to death.

Source: Pope Saint Clement of Rome from his First Letter to the Corinthians

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement

Great Lent is the time for personal reflection, meditation, reconciliation, and prayer. Malankara World has a great resource that helps you accomplish that. We provide you daily reflections, meditations, prayer, bible readings etc.

If you only have a few minutes to spend a day, you can read short reflective articles and meditations. If you have more time, there is bible readings, and others to enrich your day.

Read the articles about how to practice lent. Then do the reading for the day specified. We will guide you week by week. You can find the resources here:

Malankara World Great Lent Supplement http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Week 2 of Great Lent
http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Lent/Lent_week2.htm

From The Malankara World Journal Archives:

Volume 4 No 201: March 7, 2014
Theme: Great Lent - Week 2

Volume 3 No 125: Feb 14 2013
Focus: Great Lent - Week 2)

Volume 2 No 58: February 25 2012
Special Edition: Great Lent Week 2

Volume 2 No 57: February 23 2012
Great Lent - Week 2

II. Featured Gospel: Garbo - Healing a Leper

The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Leper (Part One)

by Martin G. Collins

The Bible shows Christ healing people of leprosy twice during His ministry. The first case, in which a single man is healed, appears in Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; and Luke 5:12-16. The three parallel accounts provide a more complete witness by adding valuable details. The second healing of lepers, involving ten men, is found only in Luke 17:12-19.

Throughout history, few diseases have been as dreaded as the horrible affliction known as leprosy. It was so common and severe among ancient peoples that God gave Moses extensive instructions to deal with it (Leviticus 13 and 14). Biblically, leprosy refers to several skin diseases and even some kinds of fungus, such as those found in the walls of houses and in clothing. The leprosy that Christ healed was similar to what is today called Hansen's Disease, a detestable infection that can greatly disfigure and destroy the human body. Though not as contagious as scarlet fever, it can still be transmitted through an infected person's secretions. Dr. Richard H. Pousma, a missionary in Asia and a hospital superintendent in New Mexico, explains:

Leprosy was greatly feared by the Israelites, not only because of the physical damage done by the disease, but also because of the strict isolation laws applying to leprosy, making patients feel like feared outcasts of society. . . . Leprosy [in the Bible] appears in two principle forms. The first, and by far the more dangerous, is called lepromatous; and the other, more benign type is designated tuberculoid. Both start with discoloration of a patch of skin. . . . In the lepromatous type of leprosy, the patch may spread widely in all directions. Portions of the eyebrows may disappear. Spongy, tumor-like swellings grow on the face and body. The disease becomes systemic and involves the internal organs as well as the skin. Marked deformity of the hands and feet occur when the tissues between the bones deteriorate and disappear. . . . Untreated cases may be sick with lepromatous leprosy from ten to twenty years, death occurring from the disease itself. . . . The tuberculoid type is less severe. . . . [It] tends to be limited and even untreated cases heal completely in from one to three years. (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, "Leprosy.")

In biblical times, it was almost universally believed that only God could heal. Even the king of Israel, to whom the king of Syria sent his general, Naaman, for healing, remarks, "Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy?" (II Kings 5:7). The prophet Elisha intervenes, suggesting how Naaman could be healed. The belief that only God could heal leprosy is key to Christ's use of this miracle to prove who He was. Beyond that, in His healing of the leper are timeless spiritual truths applicable to our lives today.

1. What can we learn personally from leprosy in Scripture?

Comment: Leprosy vividly illustrates sin and it fruits. The disease's effects on the body demonstrate the effects of sin on the mind. Leprosy represents God's view of sin, as detestable, deforming, and unclean. Both leprosy and sin begin small then grow relentlessly until they infect the whole person. They also both cause heartrending social problems, as the quarantine laws suggest. Families are often split. Lepers suffer both the disease and ostracism from society. In the end, they both destroy their victims' lives.

Luke the physician, in describing the man as "full" of the dreadful disease (Luke 5:12), implies that he was about to die. In this advanced stage of leprosy, he was living apart from other people. According to Leviticus 13:45, he had to wear a cloth over his mouth and cry, "Unclean, unclean."

In this situation, as in others, Christ performs a miracle in which there can be no doubt that God alone healed him. God's healing power is most obviously seen when He provides deliverance in a "hopeless" situation. He often works this way with us, allowing trials to become increasingly worse before He works His will. Though He seems deaf to our prayers as the situation deteriorates, He may simply be letting the situation progress so that we have no doubt about who has come to our aid and whose power solved the crisis. In persevering, we grow spiritually, and He receives greater glory.

2. What national lesson can we learn from leprosy in Scripture?

Comment: The condition of the leper parallels the spiritual condition of today's sinful society, which is reminiscent of ancient Israel as Isaiah the prophet describes it in Isaiah 1:6-7:

From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate. . . .

America today wallows in immorality and deals treacherously with other nations, while thumbing its nose at the merciful God who has given it abundant blessings. Like men, nations reap what they sow (Galatians 6:7). We have, and still are, sowing curses, and we are beginning to suffer loss - of freedoms, sovereignty, land, culture, and many other long-cherished things. The loathsome signs that this country is spiritually sick are easily seen. It is leprous!

Source: Forerunner, "Bible Study," June 2007 © 2007 CGG

The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Leper (Part Two)

by Martin G. Collins

His advanced disease had certainly put the leper who approached Jesus Christ in a bad way. His situation seemed hopeless - until God sent His Son as Healer and Savior. The man, having heard Jesus' message of hope, and realizing that this unique, godly Man was nearby, sought out His help. He would not be disappointed. Jesus' kindly answer to him, "I will," showed His willingness to cleanse him quickly. In an instant, the leprosy disappeared; he was restored to full health (Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-15).

The humble leper exhibits at least five notable virtues—sincerity, reverence, faithfulness, truthfulness, and wisdom—that provide insight into how we should approach Christ for healing. We will consider each of these in turn.

1. How does the leper show sincerity?

Comment: The three accounts tell us that a leper "came and worshipped Him" (Matthew 8:2), "imploring Him, kneeling down to Him" (Mark 1:40), and "fell on his face and implored Him" (Luke 5:12). That the leper "came" and "implored" shows his sincerity in seeking and pleading with Christ. He earnestly determined to reach Him, despite the obstacle of the crowd and the spectacle of his horrid disease. Coming before Christ was the great challenge of his life, so he did what was necessary to overcome his disadvantages.

"Implored" suggests the leper's sincerity in pleading with Him, implying that he pled earnestly, desperate for a resolution to his condition. Sadly, few of us can see the true devastation that sin has caused in our lives and how much we need spiritual healing.

2. How does the leper exemplify reverence?

Comment: All three Gospels record the leper's reverence for Christ, though each reports it a bit differently: Matthew says that the leper "worshipped Him" (Matthew 8:2); Mark, that he came "kneeling down to Him" (Mark 1:40); and Luke, that he "fell on his face" (Luke 5:12) before Him. Each account describes him bowing down before Him—even Matthew's worshipped means "prostrated before." The leper's humble approach conspicuously honored Him, for, unlike many today, the leper did not hide his respect for Christ out of fear of other's opinions.

In contrast, the arrogant will not gain His favor. This society dishonors Christ at every turn with its repeated profanity, its banning of God from public venues, and its rejection of truth and acceptance of the flawed reasonings of men. Such dishonoring of Christ is bringing on our nations an avalanche of curses rather than blessings, and it will not stop until the people repent.

3. How does the leper demonstrate faithfulness?

Comment: The leper says, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean" (Matthew 8:2), indicating confidence and trust in Christ. True faith always honors both Christ's power and person. Never doubting His power to heal, the leper submits himself to His will. Some prayers we know God will answer positively, as when we ask in faith for forgiveness. However, when we ask for healing or other physical needs, we must faithfully respect God's decision, whatever it may be. By faith, we must acknowledge His superior wisdom in granting our request or not. The leper, in his humility and faith, would never demand God's healing, as though God owed him. It is not our right to be healed, and truly, we deserve death as the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23). Yet, God heals us according to His mercy and will. A faithful person realizes that reverence should not stop him from asking God for blessings, but he submits to the wise will of God.

4. How does the leper manifest truthfulness?

Comment: The leper does not downplay his condition, making it sound less offensive or serious than it was. He is truthful about his case, confessing his uncleanness, as the Bible considers leprosy (Leviticus 13:45). Interestingly, the leper asks to be cleansed, not to be healed. Of course, the cleansing is a healing, but "cleansing" is the more proper term. Christ makes the distinction between cleansing and healing when commissioning the apostles: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers" (Matthew 10:8).

The filthiness of sin can be removed only by the cleansing blood of Christ (I John 1:7). Isaiah writes, "We are all as an unclean thing" (Isaiah 64:6), and David, recognizing that his immorality and murder had polluted him, prays, "Create in me a clean heart, O God" (Psalm 51:10). We all must be cleansed of sin. Even so, until we are truthful about our sinfulness, shown in sincere repentance, we will not be cleansed.

5. How does the leper exhibit wisdom?

Comment: Mark 1:40 refers to Christ six times: "Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, 'If You are willing, You can make me clean.'" The leper wisely chose the right Person to go to for help, for Christ was the only One who could cleanse him. Proverbs 1:5 says, "A wise man will hear and increase learning," and the leper, hearing what Jesus taught and learning what He could do, made a wise choice.

Similarly, Christ is the only One who can cleanse us from sin and lead us to salvation. Peter says in Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Paul writes, "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 3:11). If anyone comes to Christ for salvation, he is acting wisely. Seeking it from anyone or anything else is foolish because no one else can truly deliver us.

Source: Forerunner, "Bible Study," July 2007; © 2007 CGG

The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Leper (Part Three)

by Martin G. Collins

In performing the healing of the leper, "Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed'" (Mark 1:41). In this miracle, we receive a glimpse of how cleansing works to prepare us for salvation. The physical cleansing of the leper resulted from God's grace, power, and faithful word. Similarly, spiritual cleansing of sins and flaws results directly from God's grace, power, and word, preparing us spiritually for His work in us. We see Christ's love and mercy in cleansing the leper in the words "compassion," revealing his tenderness of heart, and "touched," showing His power near at hand.

1. Does Christ show compassion to just anyone? Mark 1:41.

Comment: Christ moved with compassion on behalf of a person who, from the world's viewpoint, was repulsive and undesirable, totally unappealing in any situation. Jesus did not cleanse him because he was nice-looking or wealthy. Similarly, God does not choose to call us into His church due to our good works, beauty, or money; in us is nothing spiritually appealing. Spiritually, we are like the leper was physically—repulsive and undesirable in terms of holiness. We can thank God that His grace "brings salvation" (Titus 2:11) and "by grace we are saved" (Ephesians 2:8). God does not call us to salvation because of what we are but because of what He is. According to His mercy, God decides on whom to have compassion (Psalm 86:15; Romans 9:15-16).

2. Why is Jesus not defiled in touching the leper? How does His touching of him show God's power in the healing? Matthew 8:3; Mark 1:41; Luke 5:13.

Comment: Under the Old Covenant, touching the unclean defiled a person (Leviticus 5:3), but Christ showed that under the New Covenant, this was not so. Instead, evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies are what defile a person (Matthew 15:18-20). Jesus never did any of these evil acts, and contrary to what the Jews thought about touching a leper, He could never be defiled. However, when we view His touching the leper as a defiling act according to the Old Covenant, it reveals a realistic picture of the distinction between man and God. God put the filthy sins of the world on Christ so that we may be cleansed and forgiven. Christ "who knew no sin [took sin on Himself] that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).

God's power to intervene is apparent in this healing, as the cleansing of the leprosy occurred immediately, instantaneously, upon touching him. If the healing had taken a prolonged time, the world would have had an opportunity to deny that Christ had healed the leper. They would likely have claimed that the natural healing process of the body made him well. Following Jesus' example, the apostles also laid hands on the sick, by which the power of God's Holy Spirit healed them (see Acts 10:38; I Corinthians 12:9).

3. How is the Word of God important to cleansing? Matthew 8:3; Mark 1:41-42; Luke 5:13.

Comment: God's Word is obvious in this miracle. If something requires cleansing, "the washing of water by the word" must be actively present (Ephesians 5:26). God does not work apart from His Word. From the creation of the world to the present, the place of God's Word in His work has been essential: "In the beginning was the Word [the One who became Jesus Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1-3). In addition, the phrase "God said" is found ten times in the creation account (Genesis 1).

The Bible is God's written Word, as the Father had the Word (Jesus Christ, the Spokesman) inspire and reveal it. Many professing Christian churches have pushed Scripture to the back burner, into irrelevance, taking an a la carte spiritual meal from it as if they have the authority to choose which doctrines to swallow and which to refuse. If the true church is to do a work for God, it must be established and built on God's Word rather than on tradition.

4. Why does Christ command the healed leper to say nothing? Matthew 8:4; Mark 1:43-45; Luke 5:14-15.

Comment: Mark says Christ strictly warned the healed leper: "Say nothing to anyone." He was to show himself to the priest and offer the proscribed gift as a witness of what Jesus had done. By showing himself to the priest, the healed leper fulfilled the requirement of the law as to his fitness to return to social life (Leviticus 13:17). As far as we know, this was the first case of an Israelite leper being cleansed since the instructions given nearly 1,500 years before (Leviticus 13:34). The appearance of a cleansed leper at the altar with his gift in his hand testified that God had come to His people and totally satisfied priestly requirements and ordinances.

Yet, this man allowed his zeal to overrule good judgment and obedience to his Healer's command. In fact, his self-absorption in broadcasting his healing seriously impeded Christ's work. Due to the leper's spreading of his news, large numbers of lepers in the region pursued Jesus relentlessly for healing. Thus, "Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction" (Mark 1:45; Luke 5:15-16). However, it was not His purpose to heal all of Israel then but to reveal the Father and His relationship with Him. Being sensational does not mean we make a better testimony for Christ. Rather, this incident illustrates that, generally, the obedient person whom only a few know about makes the better-quality witness.

Source: Forerunner, "Bible Study," August 2007; © 2007 Church of the Great God

Healing of A Leper

by Fr. Mark

Gospel: Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean." The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them." The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Introductory Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for letting me begin this week contemplating your infinite mercy and love for me. I need your healing touch to become the saint you created me to be. I know you want to heal me because you gave me the gift of my faith: to know and love you and experience the intense joy in following you.

Petition:

Lord, I want to be made clean. Touch my heart and heal me with your merciful love.

1. In Need of Healing:

Like the leper in this Gospel, I, too, am in need of healing. He came humbly, as a beggar, for he had no way of repaying Jesus for such a great act of kindness. But his humility was founded on faith. Confident in the scriptural passage, "Do not reject a suppliant in distress, or turn your face away from the poor" (Sirach 4:4), he insisted reverently. He had no doubt that Jesus could cure him, that Jesus would take interest in an insignificant and anonymous leper. He was asking Our Lord for a miracle, and he knew Jesus would grant it. He also knew that he did not deserve or merit such a gesture of mercy. Even if Jesus refused his plea, he was ready to accept it.

2. Moved with Pity:

Jesus was moved with pity. He stretched out his hand to touch the leper, revealing God the Father's will in a tender way: "I do will it. Be made clean." Jesus was moved more by the leper's humble faith than by his leprosy. The leper's plea struck at the very core of the mission of the Redeemer. Jesus desires nothing more than to remove sin and its effect in us. Jesus "came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15) and said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). The gesture of charity towards the leper foreshadows Christ's redemptive death for all mankind. Jesus wants to reach out to touch our heart and heal us, too. We believe this to be true. All we need to do is let him, approaching him with humility and exercising our faith.

3. Changed Forever:

The encounter with Jesus changed the leper's life forever. Rather than an encounter with love, it was an encounter of love. Every encounter requires someone's initiative. Although the leper is the one to approach Jesus, is it not Jesus who first makes himself accessible? In the same way, Jesus had initiated the encounter with his first disciples when he walked along the shores of Lake Tiberius, allowing Andrew and John to ask, "Rabbi, where are you staying?" (John 1:38). Lord Jesus, you enter into my life because you want to show me the way to everlasting life with you. Is it not you, kind and gentle Lord, who invites me: "Come to me, all you that are weary and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)?

Conversation with Christ:

Lord Jesus, you are so merciful to me! Thank you for loving me so much. How anxiously you wait to fill me with your love, to heal me from the leprosy of my sins. Help me to be open to your embrace of healing love, confident that each time I kneel before you to beg your forgiveness, you will be moved with pity to touch me and make me clean.

Resolution:

Today, I will imitate God's merciful love in my own life with everyone with whom I enter into contact: family, fellow employees, friends.

Source: Regnum Christi

Jesus Heals The Leper

by Scott Hahn

Gospel: Mark 1:40-45

In the Old Testament, leprosy is depicted as punishment for disobedience of God's commands (see Numbers 12:12-15; 2 Kings 5:27; 15:5).

Considered "unclean" - unfit to worship or live with the Israelites, lepers are considered "stillborn," the living dead (see Numbers 12:12). Indeed, the requirements imposed on lepers in today's First Reading - rent garments, shaven head, covered beard - are signs of death, penance, and mourning (see Leviticus 10:6; Ezekiel 24:17).

So there's more to the story in today's Gospel than a miraculous healing.

When Elisha, invoking God's name, healed the leper, Naaman, it proved there was a prophet in Israel (see 2 Kings 5:8). Today's healing reveals Jesus as far more than a great prophet - He is God visiting His people (see Luke 7:16).

Only God can cure leprosy and cleanse from sin (see 2 Kings 5:7); and only God has the power to bring about what He wills (see Isaiah 55:11; Wisdom 12:18).

The Gospel scene has an almost sacramental quality about it.

Jesus stretches out His hand - as God, by His outstretched arm, performed mighty deeds to save the Israelites (see Exodus 14:6; Acts 4:30). His ritual sign is accompanied by a divine word ("Be made clean"). And, like God's word in creation ("Let there be"), Jesus' word "does" what He commands (see Psalm 33:9).

The same thing happens when we show ourselves to the priest in the sacrament of penance. On our knees like the leper, we confess our sins to the Lord, as we sing in Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 11. And through the outstretched arm and divine word spoken by His priest, the Lord takes away the guilt of our sin.

Like the leper we should rejoice in the Lord and spread the good news of His mercy. We should testify to our healing by living changed lives. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, we should do even the littlest things for the glory of God and that others may be saved.

III. Christian Persecution

Cardinal Dolan: ISIS Threatens Whole Civilization -- No One Can Be Silent
The ISIS militants who are perpetrating these acts of violence in the name of Islam "threaten civilization, everything that is decent and noble about humanity," Cardinal Dolan warned, shttp://www.Malankaraworld.coming that their vicious acts are creating a worldwide crisis that cannot – and must not – be ignored.

"These aren't sporadic attacks. This is part of an orchestrated fanaticism, and ideology that sees Christianity, Judaism, and any religion of peace as the enemy," he said Feb. 17 in the New York Post.

The cardinal responded to a graphic video that was released on Feb. 15 showing the execution of 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS militants in Libya.

"How much worse can it get?" the cardinal said, explaining that he was "deeply saddened to learn of the latest violence by fanatics who see anybody who disagrees with them as their enemy."

Voicing distress at the recent acts of violence perpetrated by ISIS militants, Cardinal Dolan said he was moved to tears and prayer because the Coptic Christians were killed for "nothing less than their religious convictions."

In addition to killing Christians and other religious minorities, the cardinal also believes that the Islamic State is orchestrating "a phobia of Christianity" throughout the world in an effort to stifle religious freedom until it is completed wiped out.

He pointed to "a coordinated effort on behalf of fanatics to see that true religion which stands for friendship, peace, and the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of human life, is stamped out."

"We need Islamic religious leaders to stand up and say, 'This is not Islam. This is a perversion of our faith,'" he continued.

Pointing to the civil unrest within Ireland over 40 years ago, Cardinal Dolan highlighted the Catholic bishops who stood up against the car bombings and violence committed by the Irish Republican Army, which "perversely identified itself as 'Catholic.'"

These bishops should be seen as role models for the majority Islamic leaders who don't identify with the Islamic State, Cardinal Dolan said, calling them to stand up against the extremist group and condemn their acts of terror.

"Fanatics want to take over, and we can't let that happen," he stressed.

Though many Christians have a price on their heads for their religious beliefs, Cardinal Dolan urged "men and women of all true creeds – Jewish, Christian and Islamic" to stand together and oppose the disordered system of the Islamic State.

"Simply because these Christians make the sign of the cross, there is a price on their head," he observed, adding that "we cannot ignore their cries and cannot let their blood be spilled without moving us to tears and saying, 'this must stop.'"

Lent, he continued, is a season of deep prayer, penance, and solidarity with the oppressed and suffering, offering people everywhere an opportunity to unite with the persecuted Christians around the world.

"This massacre leaves us not only with ashes on our foreheads, but with tears in our eyes, a lump in our throat and a burning in our heart."

Source: The Pilot
Copyright © 2006-2014, Pilot Media Group All rights reserved

Blood and Ecumenism - Pope Francis and the Copts
It is an almost provocative way of looking at things, but one that the pope has adopted several times. It came up recently when he was speaking to a delegation from Scotland about the 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt who were recently murdered by Islamist terrorists. According to Vatican Radio, he said:

The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard...It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.

Today the pope followed this by praying, as he began Mass, for "our brother Copts, whose throats were slit for the sole reason of being Christian, that the Lord welcome them as martyrs...." He also prayed for the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, "my brother Tawadros, who is suffering greatly..."

This was a passionate reaffirmation of an argument which the pope had laid out, a bit more hypothetically, in an interview with an Italian newspaper in December 2013. He said then:

For me, ecumenism is a priority. Today, we have the ecumenism of blood. In some countries they kill Christians because they wear a cross or have a Bible, and before killing them they don't ask if they're Anglicans, Lutherans, Catholics or Orthodox. The blood is mixed.

It takes a moment to explain why the pope is pushing boundaries by using this language. After a century of mostly well-intentioned dialogue between the world's Christian communities, they are still far from unity. Unresolved doctrinal differences make it impossible for, say, Catholic and Coptic Christians to share routinely in their faith's most important rite which, for believers, involves "making present" the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ by consecrating bread and wine. When Pope Francis met the Coptic Patriarch, the pontiff yearned for the time when the two of them "will be able to drink together from the one cup" - with the clear implication that the time had not arrived yet.

Then recall that the very word "ecumenism" is both ambivalent and controversial. At its loosest, the term simply refers to emollient interactions between Christian communities. But it can also refer to the specific project of uniting all Christians in a single organization; an idea that is viewed with extreme wariness by doctrinally conservative Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox. All these groups fear a watering down of dogmas which they hold dear. Such people see the very word "ecumenical" as a negative.

Pope Francis is himself conservative enough to see that those problems, baffling as they may be to outsiders, run too deep to be solved overnight. But he is throwing out a challenge. People who cannot come together for a ritual of sacrifice in a church are being cast by circumstances into a single, dire community of fate. In one sense, that very fact renders their differences irrelevant. It also challenges people living in safer circumstances to work harder on tearing barriers down.

Should We Pray for the Defeat of ISIS, or Their Conversion?

by Dr. Russell Moore

A pastor friend told me last week that he had church members enraged with him when he suggested from the pulpit that we ought to pray for the salvation of Islamic State terrorists. The people in his church told him that he ought to be calling for justice against them, given their brutal murder of Christians, not for mercy.

I thought about my friend a few days ago when these murderous fiends beheaded 21 of our brothers and sisters in Christ because they refused to renounce the name of Jesus. I was not just angry; I was furious. Can such fury co-exist, though, with the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5-7)? When we pray about such evil, how should we pray?

The complexity of the Christian calling in the world was seen even in social media. One friend of mine posted that the slaughter of Christians overseas calls for the world's only remaining superpower to take action. Another said, quoting singer Toby Keith, that it was time to "light up their world like the Fourth of July." To that, I say, "Amen." Another friend, a former student of mine posted, "Oh, that there might be an ISIS Saul standing there now, holding the cloaks, whose salvation might turn the Arab world upside down with the gospel!" To that I say "Amen," too.

These are not contradictory prayers.

Jesus says to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us (Mat. 5:44). The Spirit of Jesus in the prophets and in the apostles also tells us that those who turn a blind eye to the killing of others are wrong. The fact that we feel contradictory praying both for justice against the Islamic State and for salvation for Islamic State terrorists is partly because we fail to distinguish between the mission of the state in the use of the temporal sword against evildoers (Rom. 13:4) and the mission of the church in the use of the sword of the Spirit against sin and death and the devil (Eph. 6). But that's not, I think, the main problem.

The main problem is that we sometimes forget that we are called to be a people of both justice and justification, and that these two are not contradictory.

It sounds awfully spiritual, at first blush, to say that we should not pray for the defeat of our enemies on the field of battle. But that's only the case if these enemies are not actually doing anything. This terrorist group is raping, enslaving, beheading, crucifying our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as other innocent people. To not pray for swift action against them is to not care about what Jesus said we should seek, what we should hunger and thirst for, for justice. A world in which murderous gangs commit genocide without penalty is not a "merciful" world but an unjust horror show.

As Christians, we ought to be, above all people, concerned with such justice. We not only have the common grace standing of caring about stopping murder and injustice, rooted in the image of God and the law written on the heart. We also have the personal implication here. It's our household being wiped out in the Middle East, the very place where our church started. For us, this isn't a matter of "they;" it's a matter of "us."

At the same time, praying for the salvation of our enemies, even those committing the most horrific of crimes, is not a call to stop praying for justice against them. The cross, after all, is not forgiveness in a contemporary therapeutic sense - in which one is merely absolved of wrongdoing as though it were all a misunderstanding. No, that's precisely the Apostle Paul's point in the Book of Romans.

The gospel does not say, "Don't worry about it; it's okay." The gospel points us to the cross where sin is absorbed in a substitute. God's righteous condemnation of sin is there. He does not, and cannot, enable wickedness. And God's mercy is there in that he is the One who sends his Son as the propitiation for sin. He is both "just and the justifier of the One who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). The gospel doesn't leave sin unpunished. Every sin is punished, either a the Place of the Skull, in Christ, or in the judgment of hell, on one's own.

The thief on the cross - a Middle Eastern terrorist by Rome's standards - in his act of faith did not believe that his salvation exempted him from justice. He confessed that his sentence was justice, and that he was receiving "the due reward for our deeds" (Lk. 23:41) even as he cried out to Jesus for merciful entrance into the kingdom of Christ (Lk. 23:42).

We ought, indeed, to pray for the gospel to go forward, and that there might be a new Saul of Tarsus turned away from murdering to gospel witness. At the same time, we ought to pray, with the martyrs in heaven, for justice against those who do such wickedness. Praying for the military defeat of our enemies, and that they might turn to Christ, these are not contradictory prayers because salvation doesn't mean turning an eye away from justice. We can pray for gospel rootedness in the Middle East, and we can pray to light up their world like the Fourth of July, at the same time.

We are, after all, the people of the cross.

About The Author:

Russell Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He formerly served as Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore is the author of several books including Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway).

Source: Christianity.com Daily Update

IV. Regular Columns

Health: Depression in the Land of Happiness - A Chilling Reality
An upbeat nation hides a terrible secret: the disease of loneliness, that hijacks the brain, eats away at personality and snuffs out lives.

She didn't speak for four years. Four grim years, when she lost all. Her marriage broke up. Her friends disappeared. Her PhD was cancelled. Her writing and her music stopped. Doctors came and went, befuddling everyone with conflicting opinions. Tough medicines with unpronounceable names filled up the home: some medicines made her sleep like the dead, some played terrifying tricks with her mind and body. Could she interpret sensations, reason or feel the full range of emotions? No one knows. She just clung to her bed: gaunt, silent, vacant. She had just turned 30.

Does the nation know her? She is one out of every four women, and every 10 men, the nation loses to depression. Yet another wasted life, stripped of personality, struck down in the most productive years. A face among at least 120 million others, enough to fill a state the size of Maharashtra. They navigate through jagged decades of health and work, tormented by troubled moods and disturbed brains, alternating between full-blown agitation and wakeful lucidity, causing heartbreak to their loved ones and challenges to their doctors. Does the nation care?

Yet they are at the tip of a depression iceberg, a tiny speck within a much larger universe. "Depression is hugely under-recognized. Just 10 per cent people come to us, 90 per cent suffer without ever getting the help they need," says Dr Rajesh Sagar, professor of psychiatry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, and secretary, Central Mental Health Authority. "Many are misdiagnosed," he explains. "A lot of patients come with fat files full of reports and prescriptions," he adds. "They move from doctor to doctor, looking for answers. And many others are clueless about their condition."

Wake-up call

It's a wake-up call for the land of happy. India routinely scores high on happiness surveys. In the 2014 Happy Planet Index, it ranks fourth out of 151 countries for delivering long and happy lives to its citizens. The economy is looking up: balance of payments is improving, current account and fiscal deficits are shrinking and inflation is coming down. Over 64 per cent Indians are happy with their jobs and work-life balance, reports a 2014 Monster Salary Index.

Yet the upbeat nation hides a terrible secret: the malady of melancholy, that happens for no apparent reason, hijacks the brain, eats away at personality and snuffs out lives. "For clinical depression, one must have five or more of the 10 symptoms laid down by the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) for over two weeks," says Dr Y.C. Janardhan Reddy, professor of psychiatry at NIMHANS in Bengaluru. These can range from depressed mood to recurrent negative thoughts to significant changes in sleep, behavior, weight or appetite. A major symptom is anhedonia or losing interest in hobbies, people, work- even food and sex. Measured in 'DALY' (Disability Adjusted Life Year or years of healthy life lost to premature death or disability) depression was the fourth leading cause of disease burden in 1990. By 2020, it will be the second most prevalent medical condition in the world, says the WHO.
 

No one is immune

"Money, youth, success, talent, nothing safeguards against depression's grip," says Dr Ashit Sheth, consultant psychiatrist with Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Mumbai. Every day in his chamber in Marine Drive, 15-20 people of varying age and background seek treatment. On a given day, the range is astonishing: a wealthy young man caught in family conflict, distressed and unable to function in his business ("I try to be nice to everyone. Nobody understands me"); an elderly man who tried to jump from the 11th floor, and saved by his son in the nick of time; a bright student of 10th standard, brought in for her mind-wracking fear of exams; a young MNC executive, who worked relentlessly hard, without a break, for three years, listless and fatigued now, unable to enjoy anything in life; a young divorcee, with a child, who finds it hard to drag herself out of bed and sustain any job beyond six months; a young law student, who has come back from her university in Canada, unable to bear the alienation and solitude of a new environment. "People from affluent sections of society have very low threshold," Dr Sheth says. "They haven't suffered too much and can't cope when faced with the realities of life."

Depression, like its victims, is not one entity but a spectrum. Consider this: about 10-20 per cent Indians are found to have clinical depression. Let's include the wide range of other mental disorders that enhance the risk of depression-bipolar disorder, dementia to schizophrenia-and afflicts 2-3 per cent Indians. Add to it untreated emotional distress in the community at large: up to 10 per cent. Then there are the "medically ill"-with heart disease, cancer, diabetes or arthritis-up to 50 per cent of whom go through profound grief and depression (heart disease and diabetes raise depression risk three-fold). There is also "chronic low-grade depression" or dysthymia, that according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, stands for "depressed mood" that lasts through the day for at least two years. It's one of the most commonly encountered psychiatric ailments in day-to-day practice, affecting one in 20 people. Sometimes, dysthymic disorder exists along with major depression in three per cent of the population as "double depression".

I give up

There is more to the story. Every four minutes, someone commits suicide. If that's a young life, below 30, then it is the second most common way to die in India today, four times more typical than it was a decade earlier. "Out of a hundred who take their own lives, 90 would have had a mental disorder at the time of death and 75 little reason other than depression," says Dr Samir Parikh, director, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare, Delhi. The burgeoning numbers point to the coming scourge. And tragic stories of people who succumb to their inner demons haunt every city.

Mumbai, the Maximum City, has one eye always cocked on the next big thing. And South Mumbai is the jewel in its crown: the richest parliamentary constituency of the country, with the highest concentration of millionaires. Exactly a year ago, 800 people gathered for a funeral in one of its tony localities, causing a major traffic gridlock. They had come to celebrate the memory of Dipti, 32. A vibrant and charismatic woman, in the grip of a mind-numbing depression she had believed she was all alone. They had loved her for her quick smile and bright eyes. And she had thought she was fat and ugly, eternally starving herself on cucumber and olive oil. They had valued her exuberance. And she had plumbed the depths of despair in her alone-time. They had never understood why someone could be miserable despite having it all. She had called it quits to escape the torment of her flawed brain-the neuro-chemical storm of malfunctioning chemicals-that subsumed her in waves of inexplicable sadness, without warning or alert.

If suicide is one way of estimating depression's spread, consumption of medicine is another. One of the biggest markets for pharmaceuticals is the antidepressant market, globally as well as in India, thanks to the explosion it has witnessed since the 1990s when Prozac came into the global market. The US accounts for three-quarters of the world's $16-billion antidepressant market. In India, antidepressant use has been rising steadily over the past decade: from a market size of Rs. 136 crore in 2001, it is now worth Rs. 855 crore, and growing at 12 per cent a year, according to AIOCD AWACS, a pharmaceutical market research organization. ...

Continue reading the full article in Malankara World

Source: India Today

Recipe: Garlic Mushroom

by Dr. Shila Mathew, MD., Food and Living Editor, Malankara World

Ingredients

1 Packet Mushroom
6 Garlic Cloves Finely Chopped
2 Green Chilies Finely Chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Parsley
½ tbsp Red Chili Flakes
½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
Salt to taste

Directions:

1. Wash and cut the mushrooms either in slices or in any shape

2. Boil the mushrooms for 8 minutes and keep it aside

3. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add garlic, green chilies to it and fry them. Add black pepper, salt, then parsley and mushrooms

4. Fry this mixture until mushrooms are browned and shrunk in size

5. Sprinkle chili flakes on it and serve hot

Yield: 3 - 4 Servings

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