Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Short Reflection for the 17th Sunday of the Ordinary Time (A): Parables of the Kingdom
Readings: 1 Kings 3: 5. 7-12; Romans 8: 28 - 30; Matthew 13: 44 – 52
Selected Passage: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13: 44)
Meditation: The Kingdom of God is treasure is hidden in each one of us. The kingdom (reign) of God is a mystery. We cannot have a complete picture of it. Thus, the real challenge is to find it within us and in others and let the reign of God flourish and shine before all.
The first reading give us the prayer of Solomon: “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?" (1 KIi9ng 3: 8) Visit: www.badaliyya.blogspot.com
DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD
Dhikr is an Arabic word which means REMEMBRANCE.
1st step: Write the text in your heart.
2nd step: Let the text remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the text silently as often as possible...
3rd step: Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the text in your life.
Thursday, July 06, 2017
ESTREMISM SHAPES OUR INTERELIGIOUS RELATIONS AND DIALOGUE
The second issue that now shapes our relationship is EXTREMISM in our religious traditions and communities. This has become a compelling urgency as war and new militant extremism confront nation states, faith-communities and all peoples of goodwill. There are several slogans and names that try to capture the dangerous realities we live in. There is the famous slogan, “Clash of Civilizations” that Prof. Samuel Huntington coined in the mid 1990’s.It is an attempt that describes the political, ethnic and religious conflicts that have intensified in the post-Cold War era.
By whatever names they go by, they invoke the NAME of God as their rallying/battle cry in complex and many violent struggles and conflicts within that “Arc of Crisis”.
On the other hand, there is the UN initiative that speaks of Alliance of Civilizations where nations, communities and religions forge unity and partnership and new ethical norms to respond to the ills of the present and to prepare and equip the youth or the next generation for new world emerging.
From our own Mindanao experience, we have seen the ugly and violent and virulent face of fanaticism and extremism in the killing of Bishop Benjamin de Jesus, OMI – Bishop of the Vicariate of Jolo. His witness of peace and reconciliation and dialogue was a threat to then emerging Islamic Extremism and the fanatics murdered him in public and in broad daylight at the Jolo Plaza in front of his Cathedral in Jolo on February 4, 1997.
Following the martyrdom of Bishop Benjamin, another Benjamin fell victim to the virulent extremism in Sulu. Fr. Benjamin Inocencio, OMI was shot at the back of the Cathedral with his driver on December 28, 2000. His driver survived, but Fr. Inocenio was killed instantly.
Like Bishop Benjamin, Fr. Benjamin was a Missionary to an island in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Sulu Sea – Cagayan de Mapun. There he managed Notre Dame of Cagayan with passion and moving all resources to give quality high school education to the Jama Mapuns “physical marooned” in that remote island.
Then bullet struck again on January 15, 2008, this time in a remote island of Tabawan in the Municipality of South Ubian. Fr. Jesus Reynaldo Roda, OMI who spent his life in serving the poor people of Tabawan both in Notre Dame School and in the public schools was brutally martyred by ‘Extremists’ who came to his residence. Fr. Rey was yet another witness of faith, friendship, and service to the least fortunate.
Other religious congregations have their own share of martyrs as well. The Abu Sayyaf group kidnapped the Claretian priest, Fr. Roel, with other co-workers in Basilan and they were killed brutally. The same is true with the PIME Fathers with the martyrdom of Fr. Carzeda who was involved in interreligious dialogue in Zamboanga City. The Columbans have Fr. Rufus Halley who gave his all to the people of Malabang and Balabagan - learning the language and befriending all yet he ended up murdered.
And today, there is the raging battle (on the 46th day) of Marawi City in the Southern Philippines that has turned into a nightmare. The extremists belonging to Dawla Islamiyya or Islamic State attacked and killed Christians and burnt Christian institutions and destroyed the Christian icons while shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
They are holding Christian hostages – Fr. Teresito Suganob and his parishioners of the Prelature of Marawi and threaten to kill them all if the terrorists are not given “safe passage”. While the extremists are a tiny minority, believers wishing to engage in interreligious dialogue need to draw the line between tolerance and intolerance; between exclusivism and inclusivism; between life and death; and between fellowship or EXTREMISM.
There, you have witnesses who paid dearly for what they believed in and what they stood for. And the price was martyrdom! The witnesses stand tall and their blood albeit spilled continues to give inspiration and life to the people of the place.
And as we reflect and discuss on interreligious dialogue and dialogue between and among peoples of living faiths and peoples of good will, we need to take a clear stance vis-a-vis EXTREMISM both violent and non violent, as well. Extremism in whatever form is a menace to humanity and the planet. Our stance on this issue shapes the relations and dialogue between and among religions and peoples of goodwill!
Jun Mercado, OMI
Badaliyya - Philippines
July 6, 2017
(A part of my presentation at Concilium 2017)
Wednesday, July 05, 2017
THE BLACK AND WHITE PEBBLES
Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain.
He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.
1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.
2) If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.
3) If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the money-lender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.
Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?
Careful, analysis and would produce three possibilities:
1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.
2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose
the money-lender as a cheat.
3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save
her father from his debt and imprisonment.
Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.
*What would you recommend to the Girl to do?*
(to be continued)
Did you get it…?
Well, here is what she did .....
The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.
'Oh, how clumsy of me,' she said. 'But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.'
Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Most complex problems do have a solution. It is only that we don't attempt to think. Start and end your day with this thought provoking story and have a fruitful life. Have a day filled with positive thoughts and sound decisions.