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

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why have You forsaken me?

Today is the day when the crucifixion of Christ is celebrated in the Western Christian world.  I have too much sadness because of what is happening among Christians who profess to be servants of the Lord.  Christianity is under attack because Christ is being questioned like Pilate did with him almost 2000 years ago. Today the questioning is by Christians. Some of us, not in my community, doubt the divinity of Christ. More of us believe it but act as if they are the Anti-Christ. Look only at the unending questioning of everyone discussing his own troubles or envying his neighbour because the neighbour happens to be richer.

Look only at the murdering of many innocents and real humans in the name of liberation and freedom in the Middle East. We do not know anymore who is right in Syria as the media continue to favour the armed resistance.

Look at the huge economic problems driving governments in Europe, Canada and the U.S. to bow to excessive speculation and Capitalism. Look at the incredible looting of money by some corporate elites. Who is being disadvantaged but the weary poor and disabled! The poor of Africa included! And the unborn Children too!

One word comes to my thought: “Why have You forsaken me?” uttered by Christ on that cross when he had already trusted his Father. He was probably repeating words from the Psalmist in agony but that was real suffering to the last breath.  

He had already sweat blood on the night when he was to be betrayed by one of his disciples and left alone by the rest to confront Satanic powers. Generations of artists attempted to replicate the picture of his suffering but none was able to gaze into his bleeding heart, except probably his immaculate mother.

And here how can I imagine a young mother who is watching her son being beaten and crucified with such barbaric methods? Where was the Father when His only Son had already surrendered himself to His protection? The Father, I think subject to ecclesial approval,  could not have watched His own Son suffering without the Father himself suffering too with His Son. He was not the cruel judge but the loving Father who shared with His Son the cross of self-giving from eternity. The Gospel tells us that there was darkness over the earth when Jesus died. Nature itself seems to have protested the death of Christ, but something else happened according to received Tradition.  

When the Romans invented the cross as a tool of hanging their enemies and troublemakers, they knew it was a terrorist machine intended for slow killing and torture so that the perceived criminal’s flesh will be eaten by eagles alive if not already dead. The surprise which we sing tonight in the Christian Byzantine Tradition is the descent of Christ that defeated Hades when he visited it in his divine power as Hades expected to swallow him. Hades full of herself was surprised by the visitor and the power of Satan was crushed. How deep is the wisdom of God who does not stop from loving us!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Truth of Selfishness - My Real Story Today

A little event made me upset today. It should not have if I was dependent on God alone, but as a weak Christian when another Christian and preacher accused me of distorting the history of a certain event that I had published a few days ago, I immediately went on the defensive. I had always thought that he wanted to be at the centre in anything we do. However, he proved to me that he attributed to others the good things that he brought in. In both attitudes mine and his, I find egocentric tendencies which I attribute to Original Sin. First, he is guilty of reacting so aggressively and threatening me without thinking when I called him.  Under any circumstances, if he thought that I was guilty he should have given me the opportunity to explain my position. In Christian tradition, a Christian should first examine his conscience and his motivations and take time in silent prayer before accusing his brother.  Second, I am guilty of the act itself to which he was referring as a distortion of history. In all honesty, I wanted me to be in charge and, while focusing on what I do, I did not imagine that he, out of all men, would feel wounded.  I still have hidden feelings of revenge!

Egoism is at the heart of my thought here and I believe that all of us humans are still under the powerful temptation of sin except for the very few saints living and dead. I want me and my family and my church and my reputation and my country and my health and my wealth and my pleasure to be for me because they are my extension. I want my self-expansion and at least that history would recognize me and my contribution!  

Who does not want to be eternal? Is not this why the ancients wanted to have male offspring?  Is not this why barren women were considered a shame in ancient and, to-date, in most Eastern cultures? Is not this why Egyptian ancient kings built the Pyramids and why today we build skyscrapers? Is not that why most humans attempt to survive by adapting to the wishes of the powerful in this world including those who serve others?  

Who does not want to be loved? Who does not want to be appreciated regardless of his own malicious words and acts? And when he is loved, does not he want to still be loved by everyone and admired by everyone? It is in the heart of every heart that still lives with some wishful thinking that the earthly things can satisfy him.  This is why to answer the first question “Who does not want to be eternal?” we need to answer the second question “Who does not want to be loved?” To live eternally in happiness I must love but to love I must be loved by the One who can powerfully hold me eternally in himself.  This is the truth from the Resurrection of Christ which Ratzinger ably explained in his book “Introduction to Christianity.”  See  it here at:

From a logical perspective it makes sense that the vast majority of those who die in the grace of God will have to be purified before they can experience God’s glorious love in heaven. In Eastern Christian tradition, God is present everywhere, including heaven and hell. The Devil who hates God experiences his huge loss in hell and this is why he suffers most. The angels who love God experience their utter joy in heaven and this is why they enjoy love.  But I have another explanation of heaven and hell and purgatory which is subject to approval by ecclesial authorities. Hell is a state of total self-closed beings – Each of them hates everyone else and hates God who still loves everyone including the lost. Heaven is a state of utter openness to love and communion. The joy of being in heaven is that of self-giving which starts here on earth because God himself is self-giving of love or self-giving of Father to Son and Son to Father eternally by the power of the Holy Spirit who unites them. Purgatory is a state of temporary suffering for anyone who is longing and willing to give himself in love, and yet has not reached his potential of perfect love for the sake of love i.e. for the sake of God in whom Man can be eternally saved and find his resurrection.

I wish I can express my feeling of utter helplessness alone but at the same time I hope that God and people I know will forgive me and forgive my fellow Christian preacher and that each of us will forgive each other; for I think God uses our finite weakness to still get us closer to him and to each other which is the communion of the Church.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Behold, I stand at the door and knock

As we enter into the Holy Week of the Passion of Christ, I must recognize that we spend too much time on connecting with the world around each one of us than on contemplating God in his love to you and to me individually. Not only in entertainment or work, but also in service of the church and good causes we are drifting away from thinking of our Savior and God Jesus Christ.  The Internet is a good thing but how we use it makes a difference. 

Even in the Mass I attended on Sunday, I felt I was talking with others but not with God. The Mass is necessary for the community. The more we are in the habit of memorizing what we do, the more we do it without thinking or reflection. However, I am invited to focus on Christ more than merely a theatrical play. The Eucharist is the epitome of God's grace. How badly did  I misuse it! Christ himself becomes our food as the bread and wine are transformed to his real body and blood. He unites us all in this communion. In Catholic theology this is called the Real Presence.

Many years ago, before email and the Internet became possible, I read this magnificent word in a Christian publication. The priest was telling himself "How many years have I served the altar of the Lord rather than serving the Lord of the altar??" 

My life and yours will not be eternal here on earth.  "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. " says the Lord. 

Let us think again!

Today's Quote

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


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