Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Death in Egypt - An Opportunity for True Love

Just about the end of a mid-night Mass at Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, an explosion horrified the people in the Church and brought death to those who have just left the Church. Twenty one Christian died in the aftermath of the explosion and many more were wounded. It is thought that the explosion was the result of a deliberate violent attack by fundamentalist extremist Muslims. Although there is no evidence for the reason of the violent act, a recent news article in the Globe and Mail may or may not help: But the question that begs an answer is this:

Did those persons who worshipped and were just leaving expect they will die? Were they ready for their death? They were killed because they are Christian - Does this make them martyrs for Christ? And if they are martyrs, would not that increase the seed of the blessings of Christ in the land of Egypt? They have just finished participating in the Eucharist which is an act of "Thanksgiving" to God. This leads me to the second question: What is Thanksgiving in the memory of the Church? Thanksgiving is par excellence the act of the elect in heaven (Revelation). In the words of the Eucharistic prayers, the priest asks the participants "Let's lift up our hearts to the Lord" and the people respond "Here they are in the presence of the Lord." We lift up our hearts/ourselves to praise the One who created us ex nihilo (out of nothing) and whose creation was an act of utter love. We praise Him who was born for our salvation and who made us his own in spite of our weakness and our faults. We praise Him who sustains us in this life and brings us to repent and hope for the eternal life. The entire prayers become an act of thanksgiving to the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus the community anticipates the heavenly kingdom. See "The Richness of the Divine Liturgy" at

This raises other questions too: If death is seen as an opening to eternal life, why do we continue to mourn? Why do we allow fundamentalism to creep into our emotions? Before we preach to others, should not we preach to ourselves that joy of which the angels spoke to the shepherds in Bethlehem? Hitchens was not wrong when he accused religious people that they lack the joy they preach. Let's recall one more time the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10): The Samaritan was the enemy of the Jews, yet "moved with compassion" he dared to care for the Jewish victim his enemy who had been robbed and left half-dead. This parable of Christ was meant for the priests and the Levites who did not care about the enemy. And it still applies to us who hardly care about anyone of our enemies. The word of Christ will still ring in my ears "Love Your Enemies" for this is how we can be perfect like our Father who is in heaven. How about justice for the families who lost their dear individuals? The more I think of the word "justice" the more I find it suitable for this world due to the human weakness, but in God's judgment, I hope justice will turn into compassion and love. If our Judge is our Advocate, how can we hope for less than eternal joy?

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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