Thursday, 11 September 2008

The 11 September 2001 attacks in the U.S.

Here's something from Wikipedia on this issue:

- a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States
- how it happened: terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners, crashing two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon. The last one crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers and members of the flight crew attempted to retake control of their plane
- how the U.S.A responded: declaring a War on Terrorism, launching an invasion of Afghanistan to depose the Taliban (who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists) and enacting the USA PATRIOT Act

I feel that today's gospel reading is appropriate when it comes to remembering this day (at least for the people of the US of A).

My Thoughts on Today's Bible Readings

First, something from St. Augustine of Hippo on today's reading (source: Daily Reading and Meditation):
  • "Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given you. These are the two wings of prayer on which it flies to God. Pardon the offender what has been committed, and give to the person in need." [Sermon 205.3]
  • "Let us graciously and fervently perform these two types of alms giving, that is, giving and forgiving, for we in turn pray the Lord to give us things and not to repay our evil deeds." [Sermon 206.2]
Today's gospel reading highlights one of the differences between Christianity and other religions: treating others not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated. And since God is kind and merciful to all people (just and unjust, good and bad, saint and sinner, kind and cruel, etc.), so should we. It is the way of the world for us to treat better those we like, look up to and/or consider to be similar to us. This is not to be the way Christians should act. It is also easier to show kindness and mercy when we expect something in return, even if it is a small something. This is also not how we should act. We should give without expecting anything in return, without fear that our gifts would be misconstrued, and without worry that we would be taken advantage of. For even if these things happen to us God is with us and He sees all. It is not our place to protect ourselves but rather to give until it hurts and then give some more. So let's take today's gospel reading literally- the next time someone sins against you, don't return the favour. Forgive and forget, even when the person does nothing to deserve it.

Today's Bible Readings (11 Sep, Thu - 23rd Week)

1 Corinthians 8: 1-7, 11-13
With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that “we all have knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know. But if someone loves God, he is known by God. With regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that “an idol in this world is nothing,” and that “there is no God but one.” If after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live. But this knowledge is not shared by all. And some, by being accustomed to idols in former times, eat this food as an idol sacrifice, and their conscience, because it is weak, is defiled.
So by your knowledge the weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed. If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. For this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.

Luke 6: 27-38
Jesus said: “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well, and from the person who takes away your coat, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your possessions back from the person who takes them away. Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, so that they may be repaid in full. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.”