Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Us and Them

As September 11 draws near we may find some who take advantage of the opportunity to stir up general anti-Islamic sentiment. today's first reading helps us to clarify the church's real teaching.

The center of the uniqueness of our Christian faith is found in one verse in today's first reading.

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, (Col 2:9)

We believe that Jesus is both truly human and truly the fullness of God. God spoken to humanity through signs, dreams, prophets, etc, but in Jesus we see the fullness of God revealed bodily.

Has this belief at times made us arrogant? Yes. Have members of the church used this to condemn other religions entirely? Yes. But this is not what the church teaches.

Our instructions are clear in the document Nostra Aetate we read:

The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.

And we are also reminded that

The Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men or harassment of them because of their race, color, condition of life, or religion.

While we continue to proclaim the fulness of God found in Jesus, we recognize, preserve, and promote the parts of other faiths that are true and good, the values we share.

I have an Arabic Bible given to me by a Palestinian Christian. In Arabic, Allah is simply the word for God. The word is used in Bible and Quran. Madrasah is simply the word for school. Our news has tried to paint the word to mean terrorist school.

There is enough real evil in the world, we do not have to go looking for it, trying to find it where it isn't. As Christian let us look for the good, the true, the holy wherever it is found.