Tuesday, November 26, 2013
In the cosmic evolution, the incarnation of Christ marks a turning point as God, in his only Son, fully enters human history. The entire cosmos is sanctified by Christ. Not only is Christ sent to the Jews, but to those considered strangers and Gentile nations. Christ reached out to the Samaritans considered enemies of the Jews and the Canaanite woman who worshiped Baal and whose child he cured (Cf. John 4; Matt. 15). The message is further manifested in Cornelius, a devout Gentile, to whom Peter announces the risen Christ (Acts 10). The power of Christianity is not in its rapid expansion but in its message of love that extends to the enemies. Christ loved his enemies to the end in spite of their evil actions in which they mocked him, spat on him, put a crown of thorns on his head, and crucified him with criminals to death (Cf. Matt 27; Luke 23; John 19). Yet, on the cross he forgave them and asked his Father to forgive them (Luke 23: 34). Today, on the path to follow Christ, Pope Francis continues his striking care for the needy, the marginalized and the poor. In his Apostolic Exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" Francis not only calls on the rich to share their resources with the poor but urges a structural reform of dominant free-market economies. Challenging the free-market ideology, he further writes "Today everything comes under the laws of competition and survival for the fittest" and finds the reason for the current global financial crisis in "the denial of the primacy of the human person." Humans are relational. They always live together. In the early Church "There was not a needy person among [Christians], for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need." (Acts 4). For the above reasons, we are called to love in action i.e. share of what we have and invest in the poor and persecuted. Let's focus on at least one horrible place today: Syria. It was on the road to Damascus that Saul, a Jew who persecuted the disciples of Christ, received Christ in a vision where Christ's light blinded him. He regained his sight through Ananias. All of Paul's initial preaching after his conversion - the man who will convert nations - takes place in Syria where today Christians are threatened by yet another violent war. Only think of the millions in Syria who had to escape for their lives to neighbouring countries with nothing of their belongings, or of the hundred thousand victims who fell in the war. Facing a program of islamization in the Middle East, that is supported by global powers and extremist rich Islamists, poor Christians in Syria and other countries need everything we can give. It is with this in mind that Jesus the King Council of the Knights of Columbus has just launched a project "Food for Syria" at http://foodforsyria.org where all can help real people in need. The Office of Refugees in the Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT) has also started sponsoring refugees from Syria where more Christians can help. If we are not able by ourselves to reverse a global economic crisis, at least we can collaborate to reduce the suffering of many Christians and non-Christians.