South Sudan's Challenge

South Sudan's Challenge
Healing & Reconciliation

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Baptism of the Lord


Short Reflection for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (C)

Readings: Isaiah 40: 1 – 5, 9 – 11;Titus 2: 1-14, 3: 4-7; Luke 3: 15-16. 21-22
Selected Passage:  John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." (Luke 3: 16-17)

Meditation: In our lives, we always try to discover the meaning of being baptized by the Holy Spirit and fire.  The key is LISTENING to the Holy Spirit and then to ACT and become living witnesses to Jesus, the Lord!   With the Holy Spirit in us, we are able to discern in our lives the wheat from the chaff; the right from the wrong; and the good from the bad.


DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1.    Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2.   Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips. 
3.   Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord


Readings: Isaiah 60: 1-6; Ephesians 3: 2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2: 1-12

Selected Passage:   “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, * behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star * at its rising and have come to do him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matthew 2: 1-2)

Meditation:  The manifestation of the Saviour evoked two responses. The first was the Magi’s – the search for the Lord and do him homage. The second was that of Herod – the Lord’s presence was a threat and Herod was greatly troubled. And he also searched for the child in order to destroy him. Which of the two is our response to the manifestation of the Lord…?

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
1st step: Write the text or Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) 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.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Holy Family


Readings: 1 Samuel 1: 20-22. 24-28; 1 John 3: 1-2. 21-24; Luke 2: 41-52

Selected Passage:  “But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced (in) wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” (Luke 2: 50-52)

Meditation:  There are many things in life that we do not understand.  We believe and like Mary and Joseph we treasure them in our hearts.  What is beautiful in the gospel is the fact that Jesus was obedient to his parents and he advanced in wisdom and favor before God and man. In a Christian family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph are the exemplars of love, caring, and obedience to God.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...

1st step: Write the text or Dhikr (the Arabic word for REMEMBRANCE) 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.



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

God is with Us...


INCARNATION – GOD IS WITH US

Christmas celebrates Christ’s birth into these things, not his removal of them. Christ redeems limit, evil, sin and pain, but they are not abolished. Given that truth, we can celebrate at Christ’s birth without in any way denying or trivializing the real evil in our world and the real pain in our lives. Christmas is a challenge to celebrate while still in pain.

The incarnate God is called Emmanuel, a name which means God-is-with-us. That fact does not mean immediate festive joy. Our world remains wounded, and wars, selfishness, and bitterness linger. Our hearts too remain wounded. Pain lingers.

For a Christian, just as for everyone else, there will be incompleteness, illness, death, senseless hurt, broken dreams, cold, hungry, lonely days of bitterness and a lifetime of inconsummation.
Reality can be harsh and Christmas does not ask us to make make-believe. The incarnation does not promise heaven on earth. It promises heaven in heaven. Here, on earth, it promises us something else – God’s presence in our lives. This presence redeems because knowing that God is with us is what ultimately empowers us to give up bitterness, to forgive, and to move beyond cynicism and bitterness. When God is with us then pain and happiness are not mutually exclusive, and the agonies and riddles of life do not exclude deep meaning and deep joy.

However, we need to celebrate Christmas heartily. Maybe we won’t feel the same excitement we once felt as children when we were excited about tinsel, lights, Christmas carols, and special gifts and special food. Some of that excitement isn’t available to us anymore.  But something more important is still available, namely, the sense that God is with us in our lives, in our joys as well as in our shortcomings.

The word was made flesh. That’s an incredible thing, something that should be celebrated with tinsel, lights, and songs of joy. If we understand Christmas, the carols will still flow naturally from our lips.


Monday, December 24, 2018

Proclamation of the Saviour's Birth

The Proclamation of the Saviour's Birth...

"Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.

The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.

For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
(Luke 2: 8-14)

A BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!

Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI

Reasons to Celebrate Christmas

REASONS TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

There is a God-given pressure inside of us that pushes us to celebrate and instills in us an irrepressible sense that we are not meant for poverty, gloom, and carefully measured-out relationships, but that we are meant ultimately for the feast, the dance, the place of lights and music, and the place where we don’t measure out our pennies and our hearts on the basis of having to survive and pay mortgages. The celebration of festival and carnival, even with their excesses, help teach us that.
Christmas is such a festival. In the end, its celebration is a lesson in faith and hope, even when it isn’t as strong a lesson in prudence.
To make a festival of Christmas, to surround Jesus’ birthday with all the joy, light, music, gift-giving, energy, and warmth we can muster is, strange as this may sound, a prophetic act. It is, or at least it can be, an expression of faith and hope. It’s not the person who says: “It’s rotten, let’s cancel it!” who radiates hope. That can easily be despair masquerading as faith. No. It is the man or woman who, despite the world’s misuse and abuse of these, still strings up the Christmas lights, trims the tree and the turkey, turns up the carols, passes gifts to loved ones, sits down at table with family and friends, and flashes a grin to the world, who is radiating faith, who is saying that we are meant for more than gloom, who is celebrating Jesus’ birth.
Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2018

4th Sunday of Advent (C)


Short Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent (C)

ReadingsMicah 5,1-4a; Hebrews 10,5-10; Luke 1,39-45

Selected Gospel Passage:  “When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’”  (Luke 1: 41 - 43)

Reflection:  The visitation of Mary to Elizabeth is part of the series of joyful events that lead to the joyful birth of Christ. Christmas is the celebration of the coming of the Lord into the world and in into our lives.  Yes, the Lord comes to us and meets us wherever we are. We do nlot merit the Lord’s visitation. It is a GIFT to us and to the world. We can only respond: Marana tha that means “COME, LORD JESUS, COME.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
1st step: Write the Dhikr in your heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the dihkr silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the Dhikr in your life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

3rd Sunday of Advent (C)


Short Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (C)

ReadingsZephaniah 3,14-18a; Philippians 4,4-7; Luke 3,10-18
Selected Gospel Passage:  “And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’  He said to them in reply, ‘Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.’  Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’  He answered them, ‘Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.’  Soldiers also asked him, ‘And what is it that we should do?’ He told them, ‘Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.’” (Luke 3: 10-14)

Reflection:  St. John the Baptist tells us what to do in order to recognize the Lord’s visitation. We need to examine our lives and our deeds. Do we share our blessing with those who have none? Do we give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty?  Do we reject bribes and corruption? Do we extort from people and spread fake news?

Our lives and deeds prepare the way for the true visitation of the Lord into our lives and community. We turn away from our evil deeds means “make straight the winding roads in our lives and make smooth our rough ways”. Do this and the Lord  comes to us this Christmas time. www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
1st step: Write the Dhikr in your heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the dihkr silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the Dhikr in your life.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Faith through Mysticism

FAITH THROUGH MYSTICISM

Being born into a Christian family and worshipping within a Christian church can give us a relationship to a religion, to an ideology, to a truth, and to a community of worship; but these things, of themselves, are not the same thing as an actual faith in God.
Just as we have people who believe but do not practice, many of us practice but do not believe. Subscribing to an ideology, however noble and inspirational it might be, is not the same thing as believing in and actually worshipping God.
To actually believe in God today, one must at some point in his or her life make a deep, private act of faith. That act is itself difficult because the very forces that help erode our cultural, communal faith also work against us making this private act of faith.
To make an act of faith requires an inner journey. There, in that journey into the deepest recesses of the soul, some of the things I must face are:
·      My weakness, my sin, my infidelities, my lies, my rationalizations, my constant avoiding of the searing truth.
·      My jealousies and angers, my bitterness that life has not been fair to me, that others have things  I don’t have, and that I never forgiven them nor made peace with my loss.
·      My sicknesses and addictions, the fact that I am not whole, that inside me there dark corners and dark demons that do not show up on my photographs, on my resume, and in the things my  friends know about me.
·      My godlessness, that black hole of fear, insecurity, chaos, and emptiness within me.
To read more click here or copy this address into your browser http://ronrolheiser.com/faith-through-mysticism/#.W8S5GhNKjq0

Monday, November 26, 2018

1st Sunday of Advent (C)

Short Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent (C)

Readings: Jeremiah 33,14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3,12-4,2; Luke 21,25-28.34-36

Selected Gospel Passage:  "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.  Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."  (Luke 21: 34-36)

Reflection:  Advent Season invites us to be vigilant, to be strong, to be prayerful, to be able to welcome the coming of the Lord. Beware that our hearts do not go astray by the trappings of Christmas. Our feasting, drinking and sometimes even our excesses in the celebration of Christmas draw us away to the true spirit of the preparation for  coming of the Lord.

In the coming Sundays, the readings will tells us of how truly we should prepare for Christmas – reject our sins and turn to the Lord; and reform our lives by making our crooked ways straight.  Let us then be VIGILANT at all times and pray that we have the strength to accept the Lord when he comes to our lives.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Folks,
  1. The Dhikr prayer is intimately linked to the Badaliyya movement – a legacy identified with two witnesses of Christian presence in the world of Islam - Fr. Louis Massignon and Fr. Charles de Foucauld.
  2. The association with the Badaliyya movement is one of the many legacies of my stay in Egypt.
1st step: Write the Dhikr in your heart.
2nd step: Let the Dhikr remain always in on your lips and mind - RECITING the dihkr silently as often as possible...
3rd step:  Be attentive to the disclosure of the meaning/s of the Dhikr in your life.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Christ the King (B)



The Feast of Christ the King (B)

Readings: Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33b-37

Selected Passage:  “So Pilate said to him, ‘then you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say I am a king.  For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice’." (John 18: 37)

Meditation:  The true followers of Jesus Christ do not live in lies, fake news or  falsehood.  They belong to the truth and they listen to His voice. The truth is Jesus Christ who gave his life as a RANSOM for our sins – died and is RISEN! Cast off, then, all falsehood in our lives and in our work!

Moreover, Jesus’ kingdom is unlike the one that Pilate symbolizes and what the ‘establishment’ proclaims… a kingdom that is arbitrariness, privileges, and power. Jesus’ kingdom is built on love, service and justice.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips. 
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…




Sunday, November 11, 2018

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)


Short Reflections for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Readings: Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32

Selected Passage:  "Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near.” (Mark 13: 28)

Meditation: The presence of the Spirit in us is marked by our ability to read the signs of times.  Pray, therefore, for wisdom to be able to decipher the many writings on the wall else we find ourselves missing the points and worse - find ourselves opposing the Spirit. Amid extra-judicial killing, violations of human rights, and fake news, we are called to listen to the Spirit and read God’s will and discern his call in the signs of times.

DHIKR SIMPLE METHOD...
Dhikr is an Arabic word for remembrance. In the “tariqa” (the way) movement, dhikr developed into a form of prayer… It is a prayer of the heart… following three simple steps:

1. Write in one’s heart a certain passage of the Holy Writ…
2. Make the same passage ever present in one’s lips. 
3. Then wait for God’s disclosure on the meaning of the passage…that interprets one’s life NOW…!

It takes a week of remembering (dhikr)…or even more days to relish the beauty of this method…