Archive for July, 2014

#MoralStory : John’s Greeting

John worked at a meat distribution factory.

One day, when he finished his work schedule, he went to the meat cold room (freezer) to inspect something but in a moment of bad luck, the door closed and he was locked inside with no help in sight. Although he screamed and knocked with all his might, his cries went unheard as no one could hear him. Most of the workers had already gone, and outside the cold room it’s impossible to hear what was going on inside.

A few hours later, whilst John was on the verge of death, the security guard of the factory eventually opened the door and saved him. John thanked the security guard and asked him what he came to do there as it wasn’t a part of his work routine.

The security guard replied: “I’ve been working in this factory for 35 years. Hundreds of workers come in and go out every day but you are one of the few who greets me in the morning and says goodbye to me every night while leaving after the working hours. Many treat me as if I am invisible. So today like every other day, you greeted me in your simple manner “Hello” at the entrance when resuming for work. But curiously after working hours today, I realized I’d not heard your “Goodbye, see you tomorrow”. Hence I decided to check around the factory. I look forward to your greetings every day because to you, I am someone. By not hearing you farewell, I knew something had happened. Then I sought and found you!”

Moral of the story: Be humble, love and respect those around you. Try to have a positive impact on people, especially on the ones that cross our path daily.

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keep-calm-and-respect-others-8

I Am Bread

I lie here in unknowing
Upon a plate of glass.
I stare unblinking at the face
That hovers through the Mass.
I am by nature silent.
That is my state in life.
I know no better than to stay.
I have not ease nor strife.
Yet even if I had a mind
I’d lie upon that plate
In wonderous expectation;
Amazement at my fate.
For have I not been chosen?
I, just lowly bread,
Been chosen by the grace of God
When angel words be said
To change from water, wheat and oil;
To transubstantiate.
To look at me you’d never guess
The awesomeness I wait.
And if I did indeed have thought
What, but “Thy Will Be Done”;
For who in wildest dreams could dare
To hope to be God’s Son?
No longer just a grain of wheat
My old life quickly passes.
I die to self completely
So God can feed the masses.

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Communion Jesus and disciples

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by Dorothy E. Wimsatt

#ShortNews : Sudan: no new churches allowed

The government of Sudan will not permit the construction of new Christian churches, the Fides news service reports.

Government minister Shalil Abdallah told el Jareeda daily that the number of churches in Sudan is already sufficient to serve the country’s Christian population. He pointed out that the proportion of Christians in Sudan dipped sharply when South Sudan, a largely Christian society, became independent.

— taken from http://www.fides.org/en/news/36126-AFRICA_SUDAN_Sudan_bans_the_construction_of_new_churches#.U80VA1bi6uc

#ShortNews : Italian navy rescues 61 migrants; more than 20 dead in 3 days

The Italian navy rescued 61 migrants from drowning as their boat sank off the coast of Sicily on July 21, Vatican Radio reports. But at 6 passengers died, and a dozen more are missing.

Just two days earlier, 19 people were found dead, apparently from inhaling exhaust fumes, in an overcrowded boat from Libya attempting to reach Italy.

Italian ships have now rescued more than 4,000 migrants in recent days. The UN estimates that 500 migrants have died in the Mediterranean already this year.

— taken from http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/07/21/more_migrant_deaths_in_the_mediterranean/1103151

#ShortNews : ‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians

Following an ultimatum from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to leave Mosul, convert to Islam, or be killed, the city’s remaining Christians left for other parts of Iraq.

ISIL, the jihadist group that controls large sections of Syria and Iraq, confiscated the Christians’ possessions as they departed from Iraq’s 2nd-largest city.

“The heinous crime of the Islamic State was carried out not just against Christians, but against humanity,” said Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, as quoted by the Reuters news agency.

In an urgent appeal, the Iraqi Patriarch reported that Islamists were marking the homes of Christians in Mosul with the Arabic letter “N,” standing for “Nazarene.” (The homes of Shi’ite Muslims were also being marked, with “R” for “Rejecter,” and Shi’ites were fleeing the city.) Patriarch Sako urged the people of Iraq to remember the rich heritage of inter-religious cooperation in their society for the past 1400 years, and to bear in mind that “Christian and Muslim blood has been mixed as it was shed in defense of their rights and lands.”

“How in the 21st century could people be forced from their houses just because they are Christian, or Shi’ite or Sunni or Yazidi?” he said. “Christian families have been expelled from their houses and their valuables were stolen … their houses and property expropriated in the name of the Islamic State.”

“Even Genghis Khan or Hulagu [his grandson] didn’t do this,” the patriarch added.

According to AsiaNews, some Muslims in Baghdad expressed their solidarity with Iraq’s Christians, holding up signs that said, “My house is open for my Christian brothers and sisters” and “I am an Iraqi Christian.”

“We are all equal in dignity, all citizens of the same country,” the Chaldean patriarch said. “We must unite to create a new Iraq. Thanks to all of you, there is still a hope.”

— taken from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/20/us-iraq-security-christians-idUSKBN0FP0R120140720

Getting ridiculous with Jesus

If Jesus said to you, “Come follow Me into a life that’s very different from the one you have now”, what comforts would you find too hard to give up? What unfinished business would you want to accomplish first?

According to Gospel reading, Jesus is talking to those of us who want to follow him “but only if –.” Only if we have a comfortable place to sleep and an easy road to travel. Only if we control which duties to handle. Only if God doesn’t ask for much. Only if everything stays predictable and God’s plans are obvious. Only if it doesn’t interfere with what’s already in our plans.

Following Christ is rarely convenient and comfortable. In fact, it’s an up-stream swim that goes against the currents of normal life. At times, it even seems irresponsible! Why? Because God stretches us beyond our current limitations so that we can become ever more effective as apostles for his kingdom.

“Follow Me,” says Jesus. Do you want to have better relationships? Then go the extra mile. Do you want to find healing from the wounds that others have caused you? Then forgive over and over again until you’ve finally let go of the desire to see remorse and repentance. Do you want to find peace? Then surrender to God everything that you’re fighting for, and trust him to provide you with what you need when you need it, which is always better than the way you think you need it.

“Let the dead bury the dead” means that we should leave behind our lifeless, fruitless efforts in trying to solve problems the way unbelievers do. Those who do not give up everything to follow Christ should not be our examples, nor should we feel obligated to do what they say we should do. In Christ we become truly alive. But are we willing to do the ridiculous, what the world calls nonsense? Are we willing to take a left turn where the world posts a big sign that says “turn right”?

Every day, we face both little and large decisions about going left or going right. “I’ll follow you, Lord, but wait, not to there! You don’t really want me to do that ministry; I’m not good enough at it.” Or…. “I’ll follow you, Lord, but wait, not now! This isn’t the right time! I have other obligations. I’m too busy. And I can’t cook dinner for my sick neighbor until after we form a friendship, which by the way, Lord, I don’t have time for either.”

No matter how hard we try, we’ll never find the easy, comfortable life that we’re striving for, so why live in the illusion that it’s a worthwhile goal? Jesus says, “Come, let go of everything that holds you back from reaching your full potential in the kingdom of God. Be ridiculous and follow Me!”

The Annunciation to Mary

“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High … The power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God”.

the Annunciation is narrated in Luke 1:26-38

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

A separate annunciation, which is more brief but in the same vein as the one in Luke, is given to Joseph in Matthew 1:18-21:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Gabriel