Kargador at Dawn

Kargador at Dawn
Work in the Vineyard

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Never Grow Weary....


All of us experience tension in our lives: tension in our families, tension in our friendships, tension in our places of work, tension in our churches, tension in our communities, and tension within our conversations around other people, politics, and current events. And, being good-hearted people, we carry that tension with patience, respect, graciousness, and forbearance – for a while! 
Then, at a certain point we feel ourselves stretched to the limit, grow weary of doing what is right, feel something snap inside of us, and hear some inner-voice say: Enough! I’ve put up with this too long! I won’t tolerate this anymore!
And we let go. We let go of patience, respect, graciousness, and forbearance, either by venting and giving back in kind or simply by fleeing the situation with an attitude of good riddance. Either way, we refuse to carry the tension any longer.
Mature parents put up with a lot of tension in raising their children. Mature teachers put up with a lot of tension in trying to open the minds and hearts of their students. Mature friends absorb a lot of tension in remaining faithful to each other. Mature young women and men put up with a lot of sexual tension while waiting for marriage. Mature Christians put up with a lot of tension in helping to absorb the immaturities and sins of their churches.
Men and women are noble of character precisely when they can walk with patience, respect, graciousness, and forbearance amid crushing and unfair tensions, when they never grow weary of doing what is right.
But all of this will not be easy. It’s the way of long loneliness, with many temptations to let go and slip away. But, if you persevere and never grown weary of doing what is right, at your funeral, those who knew you will be blessed and grateful that you continued to believe in them even when for a time they had stopped believing in themselves.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dhikr for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Short Reflection for 14th Sunday of the Ordinary Year (C)

Readings: Isaiah 66: 10-14; Galatians 6: 14-18; Luke 10 10:1-12. 17-20

Selected Text:  “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household’.” (Luke 10: 3-5)

Reflection:  The mission or the ministry is no bed of roses.  The demands are great – carry no moneybag, no sack, and no sandals! The disciples of the Lord are sent like lambs among wolves. And their first message is ‘Peace to this household.’  Yes, the disciples are PEACEMAKERS! www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

Dhikr is an Arabic word that means remembrance.  Our dhikr prayer is remembrance of God’s Words and Deeds.
1st step: Write the Dhikr in your heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the dhikr silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the Dhikr in your life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Short Reflection for 12th Sunday of the Ordinary Year (C)

Readings: Zechariah 12: 10-11. 13:1; Galatians 3: 26-29; Luke 9: 18-24

Selected Text:  “Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’ They said in reply, ‘John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ Then he said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter said in reply, ‘The Messiah of God’.” (Luke 9: 18-20)

Reflection:  Today, each one us is being confronted to answer that same question, “Who Jesus is in our lives…? There is NO more escaping behind the ‘rug’ of rituals and formulas!  Jesus Christ is the source of life and the forgiveness of sins. Trough him we receive life in its fullness.  See www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

The Qur'an: A Biblical Narrative...?

The Qur’an: In its own way a Biblical Narrative…?
By Fr. Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado, OMI – Badaliyya Philippines

I have spent almost a whole life in the study of Islam and the Qur’an.  I know that my Muslim friends revere the Qur’an as the very WORD of God. I continue to see their devotion to the Word and I continue to respect and admire their reading of the Qur’an.  My Muslim friends who are spiritually inclined meditate on the WORD and they become what they do recite.  Others have taken Shayks to guide them in the understanding of the Qur’an. 

The Qur’an according to the spiritual tradition has a latent/obvious meaning (dhahir) and a hidden meaning (batin).  Perhaps to make us understand this tradition, the more familiar terms would be a literal meaning and spiritual.  It is the spirit of the Word of God that mystics (sufi) discern in their meditation of the passages of the Qur’an.

When we speak of the literal meaning of the Qur’an, I refers to the 114 chapters or Suras in a ‘performative’ language that the readers are called to accept the Message and submit themselves to it.   The Qur’an as we have it is NOT arranged in the chronological order, that is, from the early Meccan period to late Meccan to Medinan periods.  It would appear, except for the Opening Chapter, the Qur’an is arranged from the longest chapters to the shortest ones without reference to chronology.  It is left to the ‘exegetes’  (Tafsir) of the Qur’an to determine whether these chapters are early Meccan period or late Meccan period or Medinan period.  This is important since the latest revelations amend or even abolish the early ones if they are NOT in consonance with each other.

The prophet recited the Qur’an in much the same way as the prophets of old (OT).  At the outset, the prophet sets to say that the message he proclaimed is precisely the same as that proclaimed by the earlier prophets before him.  Basically, the themes are the following:
·      1. There is but one God and NO other;
·      2. There is life after death;
·      3. The people will be judged by God and God alone;
·      4. At the last day, they will find themselves in paradise or in hell depending on the way they lived their lives;
·      5. All creation is under the authority of God referred to mas al-Rabb (the Lord), Allah (the God), al-Rahman (the Merciful One) and al-Rahim (the Compassionate One) – and there are 99 names of God but the four mentioned above are much in  use in the Qur’an;
·      6. The prophets before him proclaimed the Message to their own people and they bare all heavely books – the Tawrat (Torah), the Zabur (the Psalms) and al-injil (the Giospel).

Having explored and meditated on the Qur’an, I canno help but observe similar verses and prophets with all the revealed Books – Tawrat, Zabur, al-Injil and al-Qur’an.  A simple enumeration of the most important characters both in the Biblical and Qur’anic traditions, we have the following: Adam (25 times);  Nuh/Noah (33 times); Ibrahim/Abraham (69 times); Ishaq/Isaac (17 times); Ismael/Esau (12 times); Lut/Lot (27 times); Yaqub/Jacob (16 times); Yusuf/Joseph (27 times); Musa/Moses (136 times); Harun/Aaron (20 times); Dawud/David (18 times); Sulayman/Solomon (17 times); Zakariyya.Zachariah (7 times); Yahya/John (9 times); Maryam (mother of Jesus 34 times) and ‘Isa/Jesus (25 times as Ibn Maryam  or son of Mary and 11 times as al-Masih/Messiah).

Of the 25 prophets named in the Qr’an, only 4 do not feature in the Bible. These are the following: Ahmad (1 time); Muhammad (4 times); Luqman; Alexander; and the seven Sleepers.

It will be good to mention (for our Christian readers), at the outset, that the Qur’an firmly rejects the idea that Jesus/’Isa, often designated as Son of Mary, as the divine Son and does the same with the idea of Trinity.  Q 5, S 73 speaks: “Those who say that God is a third of three speak of blasphemy. There is no god except the one God.

Nevertheless, the Qur’an speaks of God’s Word (Kalima) and God’s Spirit (Ruh). I also speaks that “al-Masih ibn Maryam is God’s prophet and His Word (Kalima) that He addressed to Maryam and a spirit  (Ruh) from God.  The Qur’an also admits the virginity and unblemished motherhood of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Messiah.  Quran 5: 110 speaks of Jesus speaking the cradle to defend his mother’s virginity.

For Christians who are familiar with the early Ecumenical Councils from Nicaea (325 AD) to Ephesus (431 AD) to Chalcedon (451 AD) would easily the Christological debates. (In Nicaea, they grappled with the concept of “same substance as the father and the son. In Ephesus, they grappled with the concept of Mary as ‘Mother of God’ or ‘Mother of Christ’. And in Chalcedon, they grappled on the 2 natures (Human and Divine) in the person of Jesus.

The matrix of the Qur’an is NOT from the pagan Arabs of the Peninsula.  The Qur’an is directly revealed and it asserts that it is in line with the proclamations of earlier prophets, albeit in this instance in the Arabic Language.  This is a complex subject though a lot of study has been made through the centuries.  Suffice to cite the great work of ‘Irfan Shahid, Byzantium and the Arabs (5th, 6th Century and 6 volumes, Washington: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1984-1989-1995).

Of course, one could cite the Christian settlements in the Peninsula, particularly at Najran (now in Southern Arabia). The Christian Church at Najran with their Bishop, in fact, paid the prophet a visit after the conquest of the whole Peninsula.  They belonged to the Christian Monophysitism (one nature of Jesus Christ – human).  In much the same way, we can cite the Jewish settlements in the Peninsula, particularly in Yathrib (now Medina) during the time of the prophet.  One can also cite the Christian Empire of Ethiopia that gave sanctuary to the fleeing Muslims from the persecution of the Meccans. The Christianity in North Africa, at the time to the present belong to the Coptic Christian Church. In much the same way, the Byzantium Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire) belong to the Orthodoxy.  The Christian Arianism rejected the idea of the same substance for the Father, Son and Spirit (Council of Nicaea).  Jacobite and Nestorian Christian Christianity rejected the two (2) natures in the person of Jesus thus they are referred to as Monophysite Christians (mono-physis) during the Council of Ephesus. And the Coptic Christianity of Egypt and the Greater Ethiopia resulted from the Council of Chalcedon (see the work of Christian Julien Robin, The Peoples beyond the Arabian Frontier in late Antiquity in HF Dijkstra & Fisher, nside Out, Leuven-Paris: Peterts, 2014).

In the period of the proclamation of the Quran in Medina, it appears that an unbridgeable gulf emerged between the prophet’s message and the Christianity that adhered to the dogmas of the early major Councils (Nicaea, Ephesus and Chalcedon) namely that Jesus as the son of God; the Trinity and Mary as the Mother of God. The late Meccan Sura 19, verses 88 - 93 express this ‘revulsion’: “ They say: ‘the All Merciful (al-Rahman) has taken to Himself a son…’ ‘They ascribe a son to the all Merciful! No one in heavens and the earth comes to the all Merciful except as servant (‘abd)!”

In similar vein, the Islamic Tradition follows the Jewish feature that determines the essence of Islamic faith – the Law or the Shari’a. Except for the more mystical tradition in Islam, the Law or the Shari’a becomes the very heart of Islam.  This is the reason why there is so much concerns and cares for the legal/permitted (Halal) and illegal/forbidden (Haram).  This shows that the Islamic Tradition, except again for the Mystics, doers NOT continue the revolution began by Jesus and Paul with respect to the Law.

Kindredness between Jesus & Paul on the one hand and the Mystics in Islam lies in the idea and concept of all-Merciful and all-Compassion which becomes the very heart of religion.  For the Ulama, the heart of religion is the Law while for the Mystics, the heart of religion is Love.  Paul in his letter to the Galatians (Gal. 2: 11) says: ‘No one is justified before God by the Law’. Again in Galatians 4: 6-7: “And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his on into your hearts, crying ABBA! Father. So through God, you are no longer slaves, you are children of God. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3: 28).

For Christianity and for the more spiritual tradition in Islam, the core of religion (Christianity and Islam) is NOT the Law but Love – Love of God and Love of neighbors.  Yet, there is MORE demanded for those who follow Jesus Christ.  This is expressed in the saying: ‘’if your righteousness is no more than that of the Scribes and the Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of God’.  The ‘more’ refers to AGAPE – the communion of love with God and neighbor.

Going back to the title… Yes, the Qur’an, belongs to the Judeo-Christian Traditions thus it is Biblical, certainly.  However, as true to the 3 traditions of Judaism and Christianity, Islam develops its own tradition through time based on the revelation the Muslim received.

In this difficult time of extremism and fanaticism, it is refreshing to go back to the core of religion in all our three religious traditions: Love of God and Love of neighbors.  It is no accident, that in the  now famous Muslim letter to All Christian leaders, the letter calls all to find a Common Word between you and us… and that Common Word is LOVE! Albeit our differences and misunderstanding; albeit our history that has been bloody; and albeit our often exclusive claims, we can sit and work together on the basis of the common word between you and us… the Love of God and the love of neighbors.

Selected Bibliography

1.  Bell, Richard. Introduction to the Qur’an (Islamic Survey 8) Edinburg: Edinburg University Press, 1953.

2.  Borrmans, Maurice. Islam as it understands itself. New York. Orbis Book, 2010.

3. H.F.  Dijkstra & Fisher, Greg (eds.). Inside and Out: Interactions between Rome and the People on the Arabian and Egyptian Frontiers in Late Antiquity. Leuven-Paris: Peter. 2014.

4.  Louis Gardet. Islamic Sufism. Paris: 1961.

5. Bilal Orfali (ed). In the Shadow of Arabic. Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2011.

6. Christian Julien Robin. The Peoples Beyond the Arabian Frontiers in Late Antiquity. (ibid)

7.  Irfan Shahid. Byzantium and the Arab in the 4th, 5th and 6th Century (6 vols.). Washington: D. Oaks Research Library & Collection, 2001.

8. Christian Troll & Hewer, CTR. Chritian Lives Given to the Study of Islam. New York: Fordham University, 2012.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Short Reflection for 11th Sunday of the Ordinary Year (C)

Readings: 2 Samuel 12: 7-19. 13; Galatians 2:18. 19-21; Luke 7: 36 - 8: 3

Selected Text:  So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven because she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." (Luke 7: 

Reflection:  In the gospel, Jesus directly challenges us by citing a sinner whose sins are forgiven, because ‘she has shown great love’.  Jesus shows what truly matters, that is, love and compassion. Love of God and love of neighbor and acting on them both in words and deeds are far more worth than any rituals, holocausts and formulas. Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees with many faces. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com