South Sudan's Challenge

South Sudan's Challenge
Healing & Reconciliation

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Language of Extremism


The Language of Extremism
The fundamentalist discourse divides the world into two factions: that of evil and that of “true” believers
Hassan Mohamed Wageih Hassan | 21 March 2017

The current situation in the Middle East requires us to be vigilant and to join our efforts, especially in Egypt, in order to stop this chaos and handle this urgent crisis. It is an unprecedented crisis, which could be called “viral” or “contagious,” given the ease with which it is transmitted from one place to another. […]

Here I want to present some features of the extremist mindset, which we should urgently deal with through educational, social and media interventions. […]

An Authoritarian Speech
When they speak, extremists put themselves in a dominant position, using a negative, threatening, uninformed and approximate language, built on aggressive and arrogant arguments, and on fallacious reasoning. 

Extremists think of themselves as the only representatives of God on earth and claim to guide the people who follow them from darkness to light. Those who do not accept their demands are excommunicated. […]

Recruitment Strategies
Extremists resort to discursive strategies that aim to recruit militants, especially among people who struggle. […] They combine financial incentives to forms of brainwashing. Knowing who finances them remains a central issue. […]

A Manichean Language
The extremists’ speech divides the world into two factions: that of evil and that of “true” believers. […]

Slogans and Symbols
The extremists’ language is packed with glittering slogans and emotionally charged symbols such as “Freeing the Islamic lands from the colonizers,” “Fighting injustice and the corrupt and tyrannical political systems.” […]

In front of these phenomena, we must focus on prevention rather than crisis management when it is already too late.

*Extracts from the speech delivered at the symposium of the Joint Committee for Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and al-Azhar. Hassan Mohamed Wageih Hassan is Professor of Linguistics at Al-Azhar University.
(Source: Oasis, March 2017)



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

4th Sunday of Lent (A)



Readings: I Samuel 16: 1. 6-7. 10-13; Ephesians 5: 8-14; John 9: 1-41

Gospel Passage:  Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind." (John 9: 39)

Meditation:  Jesus Christ becomes the lens for seeing and not seeing… Through him we do see/not see the poor, the needy, and the injustice and the wrong against neighbors. 

Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote about today’s Gospel: “The Gospel confronts each one of us with the question: “Do you believe in the Son of man?” “Lord, I believe!” (Jn 9:35; 38), the man born blind joyfully exclaims, giving voice to all believers. The miracle of this healing is a sign that Christ wants not only to give us sight, but also open our interior vision, so that our faith may become ever deeper and we may recognize him as our only Savior. He illuminates all that is dark in life and leads men and women to live as “children of the light.”

Lent is a season for seeing… Visit:  www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

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, March 14, 2017

3rd Sunday of Lent (A) - The Samaritan Woman



Readings: Exodus 17: 3-7; Romans 5: 1-2. 5-8; John 4: 5-42

Gospel Passage:  Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4: 13-14)

Meditation:  We have drunk of the well of Jesus… We shall never be thirsty again and that water in us will become a spring welling up to eternal life. Moreover, In Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, he reminds us that “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship, too, in Spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:24)

Often, in our worship, we are tied to a place or sanctuary, yet the true God’s sanctuary is in the heart and in living by the Truth that is Jesus Christ.  Yes, God resides in our hearts and in our deeds!  Visit:  www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

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.


Sweating Blood at the Garden

SWEATING BLOOD IN THE GARDEN

When we look at the accounts of Jesus’ passion and death we see that what the gospel writers highlight is not Jesus’ physical suffering but his emotional anguish. Indeed, in the gospels, his physical sufferings are almost underplayed.
What’s emphasized instead is that Jesus was alone, abandoned, betrayed, morally lonely, hung out to dry, unanimity-minus- one.

What Jesus suffers is the emotional agony that sometimes comes on us as the price of love. The blood he was sweating was the blood of emotional crucifixion, the price of being faithful in love.
To be faithful requires that sometimes we have to enter a great loneliness: the loneliness of moral integrity, the loneliness of fidelity, the loneliness of duty, the loneliness of renouncing an overpowering desire, the loneliness of losing life so that we might find it in a higher way.

Jesus didn’t find it easy and neither do we. What love and fidelity ask will sometimes drive us to our knees in anguish and, like Jesus in Gethsemane, we will find ourselves begging God for a means to still have our own way in this, to have our cake and eat it too, to find some way around fidelity, vow, promise, and duty.

This is a lover’s anguish because the part in us that’s agonizing and resisting is that part of the heart that stewards intimacy, romance, and embrace. The lover in us is having to let go of some very precious things; it’s having to die to something for the sake of something else, and that’s emotionally crucifying.

The account of Jesus sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane is, among other things, a powerful mystical image that tells us it’s not enough simply to be sincere and follow the heart’s desires. Sometimes love and fidelity demand that, like Jesus, in anguish and tears, we say to God: “Much as I desperately want this, I can’t have it! Not my will, but yours, be done!”

To read more click here or copy this address into your browser http://ronrolheiser.com/sweating-blood-in-the-garden-2-of-6/#.WLgjCRiZNE4

Monday, March 6, 2017

2nd Sunday of Lent (A)


Readings: Genesis 12: 1-4; 2 Timothy 1: 8-10; Matthew 17: 1-9

Gospel Passage:  “And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.’ (Matthew 17: 2-3)

Meditation:  In the following of Jesus, we, too, are invited to have our lives transfigured or transformed - NOT as dramatic as Jesus’, but equally true. Our lives need to be transformed unto the image and likeness of God. We hear God’s voice in our hearts - ‘you are my BELOVED SON or DAUGHTER - whom I am well pleased.  This is our own transfiguration!

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.


Listening to Christ's Heartbeat

LISTENING TO CHRIST’S HEARTBEAT


That’s also the secret in our relationship with Christ. We need to put a stethoscope to his heart and listen to its complex and fascinating rhythms. How do we do this?

In the Gospel of John we’re given a mystical image for this. In John’s account of the Last Supper, he has a disciple, whom he describes as “the one whom Jesus loved”, reclining on the breast of Jesus. Obviously this connotes a deep intimacy, but it’s also meant to convey something else. If you lean your ear on someone’s chest you are able to hear that person’s heartbeat and that sound eventually begins to gently reverberate throughout your own body.

As we know, “the one whom Jesus loved” in John (historically this might have been John himself) is meant to refer to every one of us. Each of us is to be the “beloved disciple”, the one who reclines on Jesus’ breast in special intimacy. For John, this constitutes the very heart of discipleship and dwarfs everything else (charism, church office, even prophecy) in terms of what’s important. Indeed, at the Last Supper, Peter cannot even talk to Jesus directly, but must ask his question through the “beloved disciple”. That’s John’s way of saying that intimacy with Jesus is more important than any charism or leadership role.

And that’s our call, to have the kind of intimacy with Christ that has us reclining on his breast, hearing his heartbeat, and looking out at the world from that perspective.

When we are listening to Christ’s heartbeat, feeling his comfort, and looking out at the world from there, we will also more easily find the strength to keep our hearts soft when everything beckons us to be hard, our tongues gentle when everything is gossip and slander, and ourselves aware of others’ gifts when all around there is jealousy.

We will more easily find the capacity to forgive despite our wounds, to live chastity inside an over-stimulated culture, to see beauty inside dram and duty, to see the sacred inside of the humdrum, and to remain aware of God’s presence inside a godlessness that sometimes overwhelms us.

Our sensitivity must be a stethoscope that hears the beat of the complex and fascinating heart of Christ.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ASH WEDNESDAY


Ash Wednesday - A Day of Fasting and Abstinence to mark the beginning of the Season of Lent.

In the rite of the imposition of ashes, we have a very sobering reminder that "we are, indeed, DUST and to dust we shall return."

Let our Lenten observance of 40 days be a season of PRAYER, PENANCE AND SHARING OF OUR TALENTS, TIME AND TREASURES with those in need!


Do this and you  shall LIVE...!

Monday, February 27, 2017

1st Sunday of Lent (A)


Readings: Genesis 2:7-9; 3: 1-7; Romans 5: 12-19; Matthew 4: 1-11

Text:  “Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, "All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me." (Matthew 4: 8-9)

Meditation:  Bread, Wealth and Powers are very strong temptations. We have our own price tag and when the call comes… we, often, find ourselves “sold”! Jesus’ temptations speak to us this season of Lent. We need to re-affirm that we are more than bread, power and wealth!

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, February 21, 2017

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)


Readings: Isaiah 49.14-15; 1 Corinthians 4.1-5; and Matthew 6.24-34.

Gospel Passage: “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

 Meditation:  Jesus invites us to “consider the birds of the air - they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds.” What holds true for food applies also to clothing and other necessities of life … “consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these” (Mt. 6: 28). The challenge for each one is to TRUST and believe that we are indeed GREATER than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field!  Visit:  www.badaliyya.blogspot.com

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, February 14, 2017

New Platform for Musiim Christian Relations

Muslim-Christian Relations...
There is a contemporary New Charter for Muslim Christian Relations that is contained in the Muslim Letter to the Christian Leaders of the World. The Letter was sent by 138 Muslim Scholars, Mufti, Imams, Theologians and Academicians (by far the widest consensus among the Muslim Scholars and Ulama). Today there are above 500 more doctors, theologians, and jurists and muftis that have joined the original 138 Muslim scholars. The title of the Letter is "Common Word between Us and You..." issued at the end of Ramadan in 2007.

It is the contemporary reading and interpretation of the Qur'an and the Tradition of the Prophet in the contemporary world of multi-culturalism!

The letter is a MUST read for All Muslims and Christians as well...!

The "Custodian" of the Letter is the Bayt Foundation (The House of the Prophet Foundation) under the Royal patronage of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Friends who need to read a copy may either download it from Google by simply searching for it and type Common Word. An easy way is to give me your email address to my messenger... and I will send you the copy...

Yesterday, I launched the presentation of the Common Word at the Divine Mercy Spiritual Center in Tamontaka, Dinaig, Maguindanao. I posted the 15 slides in the power point presentation for your reflection...

I will organize a special session of people interested in Muslim-Christian Relations to reflect and study more the Letter - the Common Word between Us and You...

Paz y Bien!

Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI
Badaliyya - Philippines
February 14, 2017