Saturday, June 29, 2013
In his lecture to a full-house last Friday at Jesus the King Church, the Jesuit theologian Henri Boulad, who is also a Melkite Catholic priest working in Egypt, spoke about injustice around us. He reminded his audience that we are all interconnected.
The globe is one village today, yet injustice is found in every society, whether advanced or primitive. The rich in the North are unwilling or unable to assist the poor in the South. Everyone is responsible for contributing to the welfare of everyone else. The basis of society is being eroded because of greed and selfishness. We live as independent individuals, yet cooperation is needed to advance social networking and civilization.
As Carl Jung observed in his research in psychology, the archetype, and the collective unconscious of human psyche remain intrinsically religious by nature. In our everyday lives, we are all moral animals. At work, your boss and coworkers need to communicate with you and you need to communicate with them according to the natural moral law. At home, you and your spouse raise your children according to the natural moral law. The respect you have for the elderly is also based on the natural moral law. When you buy and sell things you are bound too by the natural moral law. If you love your children and respect them as human beings, they will also imitate you when they create their families as adults.
At the centre of your being, love must grow and be fruitful. Helping each other is basic to every family and every society. In Christ, every man and woman on this globe is important. Henri Boulad traces the unique importance of everyone to the creation story of humans in Genesis. In Genesis, God creates man in his image and likeness. Every human is loved by God from conception. And Jesus tells us that everyone will be judged according to his deeds to those little brothers; for in the hungry, naked, imprisoned and sick we find Christ. "My life is a gift of God and so is yours for which we must thank God and praise him everyday" he said. Invest in your life. In the Parable of the Talents Jesus rewards the good servants who worked and invested in the gifts they were given (Luke 19: 11-28). Share what you have as the early Christian community did "There was one heart and soul in all the company of believers; none of them called his possessions his own, everything was shared in common" (Acts 4: 32).
"The more we accept injustice the more we hurt our humanity - Not because it is against the will of God but because we suffocate ourselves, our freedom and our world. And here in North America you have blessings. You typically secure everything for yourselves. Have you ever thought of those suffering in Africa and Asia?" Henri Boulad said that a man nearing retirement in Montreal said to him "I will follow you in your Christian mission in the Middle East."
Henri Boulad said "Stand up for the truth according to the natural moral law." The natural moral law is inscribed in every human conscience. The problem today lies in an illusion called individual freedom that does not carry responsibility and does not respect the other human person and cares only for "me" and my own possessions.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
In the shadow of mosques and secularized societies, how can Christians like you and me continue to witness to Christ. We are happy that we are given this gift in this 21st century. If Islam is the religion of God, Christianity is the religion of Man. God knelt before man in the Last Supper. Christ invites you and me to reach out to everyone in love. When the young man asked Christ about inheriting the kingdom of God, Christ responded to him with a question: Have you learned the Commandments? The young man replied: All this I did since my early age. Now Christ surprised him: Go sell what you have and follow me. Can you sell what you have? Can you really give time to Christ in your life? But where is Christ? And surprisingly he is in everyone in need. Can you do a bit of this in love everyday? Can you help Him who is in the Other? He answers the elect "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." (Matt 25: 34-36).
But here is another real story: Marco was a teenager at the Jesuit School. He was aggressive with his classmates pulling their ears and knocking them on the head. I received many complaints from students and parents about him. I spoke to Marco and noticed that he cried when blamed, so I told him first that he is God's unique boy. No one can touch him because his Daddy in him (God) is sacred. I urged him to find the good thing that he can contribute to others and to be open. The enthusiasm that Marco received changed him. And Marco became very successful with everyone. His marks exceeded his dreams. In fact enthusiasm means "God Within." The Church - the entire Church - must learn how to encourage those young ones: not by putting them down or telling them how sinful they are, but by showing them that God is indeed in them. This is the teaching of Jesus when he said "The kingdom is within you." This is also the teaching of the Church. The Spirit of God is in every human person. Respect that person and appreciate the gifts given to him by God. This is for parents, bosses, workers, young and old, of every race, culture and religion. Then you can start your way into Theosis. Thank God for the incarnation of his Son through whom we became adopted sons of God.