Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Luke's beatitudes

Today's first reading (Paul's "advice about virgins" "in view of the present time of distress") and the Gospel (Luke's hard-hitting version of the beatitudes) really go well together. Both readings are about the "here and now" of living in faith. There is an urgency that determines just how one should respond to events and opportunities: it matters! The Lukan beatitudes are particularly unsettling, because they are clearly not analogies of any kind. Jesus means what he says: "Blessed are you who are poor now"--and then a few moments later, "Woe to you who are rich now." I rather suspect that we are hearing some "ipsissima verba" in this Gospel text: some of the selfsame words Jesus spoke.
Truly, "this is a hard saying."

3 comments:

World Peace Religion said...

The Pope just took a shot at Islam.

xaipe said...

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2006
Press statement released Thursday by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi concerning the interpretation of certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg.

* * *

Concerning the reaction of Muslim leaders to certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg, it should be noted that what the Holy Father has at heart -- and which emerges from an attentive reading of the text -- is a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence.

It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father to undertake a comprehensive study of the jihad and of Muslim ideas on the subject, still less to offend the sensibilities of Muslim faithful.

Quite the contrary, what emerges clearly from the Holy Father's discourses is a warning, addressed to Western culture, to avoid "the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom" (homily, Sept. 10). A just consideration of the religious dimension is, in fact, an essential premise for fruitful dialogue with the great cultures and religions of the world.

And indeed, in concluding his address in Regensburg, Benedict XVI affirmed how "the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion to the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures."

What is clear then, is the Holy Father's desire to cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue toward other religions and cultures, including, of course, Islam.

xaipe said...

And from the Zenit News Service:
ROME, SEPT. 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's words regarding Islam resonated with millions of Muslims worldwide who reject the justification of violence in the name of religion, said an expert in Islam.

Father Justo Lacunza, until recently rector of the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies of Rome, explained today on Vatican Radio, why, nonetheless, certain Muslim circles reacted harshly to the discourse the Pope gave Tuesday at the University of Regensburg.

"In this the Pope has done no more than take up again the sentiment and desire of millions of Muslims who in one way or another, say: 'Violence and Islam cannot be related,'" Father Lacunza said.

He said that many Muslims say: "We are Muslims and we want to be Muslim believers in today's world and against those who use religion to strike at others with violence. Religion cannot be the foundation of a conflict, a war, or any other kind of violence."

The Muslim world reacted so violently to the words of the Pope, said the priest, for two reasons: "The first is that the Islamic world and Muslims are very sensitive to those who speak of Islam, in particular, when they do not belong to the Muslim faith.

"The second reason is that the Pontiff touched on a very, very delicate point, which is that of violence and war."
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