Convert or face death
In a recent speech following the beheading of a British aid worker by the Islamic ISIS,
David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, referred to Islam as "a peaceful religion". Like the ongoing litany which began with President Bush following the 9/11 attack, one would wonder if the recitation of these words is grounded in the hope that if we say it enough, it will be true. Certainly there are large numbers of Muslims around the world who are shocked by the evil cruelty of these Islamic fanatics, yet a close look at the history of Islam would suggest that these "moderate" Muslims are not really adhering to the historic teachings of their religion.
Perhaps we should read the words of Archbishop Amel Nona, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, now exiled in Erbil, "Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive. Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home."
Archbishop Amel Nona's words remind me of my own experience while living in Berkeley, California, some thirty years ago. I had a long time friendship with an Iranian Muslim. We'd been friends for more than eight years, but the friendship came to an abrupt end when I stopped in to visit him one day, and found his apartment filled with his Muslim friends. The anger in their faces at seeing a Christian monk enter into their midst was palpable. My friend was later beaten by his coreligionists, who made it clear that he could not have me as a friend. Along these same lines, I have heard from many Coptic Christians that friendships dating back to their childhood were ended abruptly, once the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt, for they, too, were told to end all friendships with "infidels".
To presume all nations believe as we do, is foolishness. Yet this does not mean we turn an angry eye upon our Muslim neighbors, for as Christians we are called upon to give witness to the love of our God for all His children. We are also called to share our faith with everyone, that all be saved, and come to the knowledge of the Truth. And, if they hate us, and persecute us, we remember that our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded that we love even our enemies.
With love in Christ,
Tuesday September 16, 2014 / September 3, 2014
15th Week after Pentecost. Tone five.
Hieromartyr Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, and those with him: Martyrs Theophilus deacon, Dorotheos, Mardonius, Migdonius, Peter, Indes, Gorgonius, Zeno, the Virgin Domna, and Euthymius (302).
Venerable Theoctistus (451), fellow-faster with St. Euthymius the Great.
Blessed John "the Hairy," fool-for-Christ at Rostov (1580).
New Hieromartyr Pimen (Belolikov) bishop of Vernensk and Semirechensk, Sergius, Basil, Philip, Vladimir priests, martyr Meletius (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Basil and Parthenius priests (1919).
New Hieromartyrs Andrew and Theophan priests (1920).
New Hieromartyrs Vladimir amd Michael priests (1921).
New Hieromartyr Nicholas priest (1923).
New Hieromartyr Euthymius priest with 4 martyrs (1924).
New Hieromartyr Romanus priest (1929).
New Hieromartyr Alexis and Elias priests (1937).
New Hieromartyr Peter Deacon (1953).
St. Phoebe, deaconess at Cenchreae near Corinth (1st c.).
Martyr Basilissa of Nicomedia (309).
Hieromartyr Aristion, bishop of Alexandria, in Syria (3rd c.).
St. Ioannicius II, first patriarch of Serbia (1349).
The Pisidia Icon of the Mother of God (608).
New Martyr Polydorus of Cyprus (1794) (Greek).
Emperor Constantine the New (Greek).
Martyrs Chariton and Archontinus (Greek).
St. Remaclus, bishop of Maastricht (677) (Neth.).
St. Aigulphus of Provence (676) (Gaul).
St. Edward, martyr and king of England (978) (Celtic & British).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers."
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
The Scripture Readings for the Day
Galatians 2:21-3:721 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Justification by Faith3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth6 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.
4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
Sending Out the Twelve7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.
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