Saturday, November 29, 2008

Preparing for Christ's Nativity has started

Glory to Jesus Christ!

My preparation of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ starts today with my visit to our bishop, Mar Cassian.  Therefore, there will be no services at St. Mary’s tomorrow, Sunday, but there will be services throughout the coming week.  

Thanksgiving is past and the rush is on for Christmas, but let us not forget that this is in fact to time of preparation for the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For many this is noting more than a season and excuse for parties, feasting, shopping, and general revelry.  But for Orthodox it is a time of preparation.  Just as the weeks leading up to Pascha is not a time to get ready for the Eastern Bunny, it is a time to turn inward.  We must be ready to the birth of Christ.  God has become incarnated of the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, and will soon walk this earth.  Are we ready to great Him? Therefore, we must prepare.

While many Americans were celebrate Thanksgiving, others in other parts of the word were giving their lives as a result of terrorist attacks.
 
I received the following a short time ago from G. Puthenkurishe.  What he expresses is important in not only these days after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, but every day, perhaps a good way to start our preparation for the Nativity of Christ.

It is high time for all the religions and their leaders to evaluate themselves whether they are contributing into this violence directly or
indirectly.

The Islamic extremists are behind this -The question is why? The word Islam derives from salam which means primarily peace but in a
secondary sense surrender.  Islam is not the only religion believes in it, every religion is founded on these kinds of ideas.  But, instead of getting
these ideas driven into the mind of people and change their attitude to love and peace, every religion is seeking force to defeat violence. Every one is resisting evil with force rather than resist no evil (Matthew 5:38-39). I know many people will disregard this as a radical idea but I got this idea
from Christ.
 
When Christ was a dvocating love and peace the then orthodox wisdom resisted it and crucified him.  Caiaphas saw in him a source of danger not for
himself, but for the whole people, and there fore he said: It is better for one man to die, that the whole people perish not. Caiaphas never thought he
was doing a wrong and violent thing. He was simply protecting the interest of his community and doing a favor to God.  When Peter drew his sword and
resisted by force, he was simply trying to protect his master, Jesus, who was preaching resist no evil.  Christ at once reproved him for this saying
that he who takes up the sword shall perish by the sword.
 
Jesus probably must have told Peter, I never told you that resist evil with force, but I said, resist no evil. Instead of correcting the mistakes of
their followers and make them, love their enemy many leaders promote the violence and secure their positions. This hidden idea is prevalent in every
religion i n cluding their leaders. I don't know this is because of the ignorance of the leaders or a mysterious idea to protect the leader's
comfortable positions in the society.  Perhaps, they leaders cannot do any thing because it is already founded on wrong conceptions.
 
Condemning the violence is not going to have any impact in what is happening around the world. But, if leaders are willing to recognize the difference
between resist evil with force and resist no evil and make it understand their followers, every religion will find its meaning.

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