Sunday, February 13, 2011


Perhaps this is a bit premature, but the joy of seeing the report of Muslims and Christians together in Egypt, helping one another pray on their respective holy days, during the protests was more than heart-warming.

It is a reminder of several things—first and foremost, it reminds us that not all Muslims are fanatical, violent terrorists willing to bomb Christian churches in an abuse of the name of Allah.

It is a reminder, too, that the regime of Hosni Mubarak, was regularly accustomed to turning a legal “blind eye” to attacks on religious minorities, especially women. In a truly democratic Egypt, minority individuals and groups may be able to enjoy a larger degree of equal protection under the law. We can pray that this is the case.

Finally, it is a reminder of the book penned some years ago by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the main architects in the ending of apartheid in South Africa without a resulting bloodbath. His book, No Future Without Forgiveness, is a description of the role of the “Truth and Reconciliation Commissions” that were active during the time of Nelson Mandela (who himself had every reason to be angry and bitter after 27 years imprisonment by the former government for his anti-apartheid stands).

People can move forward, if they can not only forgive (after all, this is a “one-way street”) but truly reconcile (this is the “two-way street” that is crucial, allowing for healing). From a Christian perspective, this is the message of Jesus—to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His Name (Lk 24:47).

These Sundays the Gospel readings are all from the Sermon on the Mount—over and over they are challenges to us to do more (magis, as St Ignatius Loyola would refer to it in Latin). In the realm of forgiveness it is often very hard to do anything beyond the minimum. But Jesus was not a minimalist. We cannot afford to be, either.

1 comment:

  1. It is truly a day of rest, that God has so designed, to bask in the happenings in the world Father has described. Let us pray that the words of the Beatitudes may bear fruit: "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied." (Mt 5:6)
    "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
    (Mt 5:9)