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Deir Maryam el-Adhra, Sulaymaniah, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
May this letter reach you in the Lord’s peace, and the happiness and peace of your families and occupations.
11 October it was fifty years that the Second Vatican Council began. It was the effort of the Church of the twentieth century to consider its past, its present situation and project itself into the future. Exactly because of these three tasks Pope John XXIII called it a pastoral Council. It was however one of the first times in the history of Christianity that the Church reflected in this depth about its own mystery. In this spirit the Church entered 11 October the Year of Faith.
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man". That is a strange statement. But if we think a moment about it a Kingdom without King -or Queen- is not a Kingdom at all. Everything in a realm like this is based on the one person that constitutes a Kingdo: the King.
Two pages before our Gospel a woman from Canaan asked for healing for her daughter. Her believe in Jesus Christ' ability to heal gives Him the opportunity to reveal the universal scope of his mission. First he answers her in the fashion the jews would expect one of their Prophets to answer, rebuking her. But the Kingdom is not build out of tribal, national, political or linguistic Belongings it is founds itself on belief. Infact its Gates are open and the strength is not selfishness but relation, caring, letting God do His deeds through our hands. Thats why the poor is cared for in the city and justice is done.
Sunday, 16 september 2012
(Isa 33:13-16, Phi 2:5-11, Mat 4:18-23)
First a remark: Yes, I changed the translation. I was using the Bible of Jerusalem now it is the New King James Bible. On the one Hand: the "out-fashioned" language appeals to me, even I would be hard pressed to read it aloud, on the other hand: in the last few weeks the English version of the Bible of Jerusalem disappointed me with little incorrect translations. The last "incident" that led me to the change, was that on in the story about the encounter on the way to Emmaus it says "two whole days have now gone by" and the greek text says "it is now the third day since it all happened". Well in the ruleset of translation the simplest rule is: Never change something that is positively written. Grammar might differ or expressions, but in no way three days can become two in an other language... More over this third day is remembered more than once throughout the Bible and in our credo and in hundreds of important texts. Why prefer logic to the written Text? Reading the Bible we are to discover the logic of the Lord not the logic of the translator; although -in this world- the translator is right only two days have past.. but the texts says three, because the resurrection happens when the third day starts. It is true that no translation is faithful.
Sulaymaniyah, 9 september 2012
Dear friends I am really sorry that I had not the energy to provide some of texts which will be read during the ordination. Please forgive me. I will try to do better. I hope that I can give you still during this year the oportunity to understand the celebrations of the Chaldean tradition.
Maybe, it is because this is a special Day for me here in Sulaymaiya, but also because of these series of texts we read over the last few weeks, it seems to me that vocation is very much in the centre of the readings today. In Isaiah we find God again waiting for his people, true to his vocation which he will not withdraw. However there is a step to do. The conversion of the heart is the only way to be able to approach the Lord. He will help. He will stay beside us but we have to do this step by our own. For it is the design of His creation that we will able to approach him with the same free relationship of love as the Three Persons offer to each other. Therefore not to taint this freedom with his overwhelming force, he leads us trough our steps toward him, but it is to us to do the stepping. And the son shows us that the way to the Father might be painful. To strengthen us we have the support of the Holy Spirit who helps us to transform our suffering in hope.
Sulaymaniyah, 2 september 2012
In our readings we see the pictures of three communities or kinds of believers.
The first one has lost its trust in the transforming power of the Spirit of witness. The nobles of Judea flee to Egypt, which in turn will not be able to defend itself against the coming invasion of the Chaldeans. Many times the Prophet Isaiah was asking his people to stay but they would not listen. But if men do not listen to the voice of the Spirit, the prophecy, it means that they are refusing their vocation; and refusal of vocation is nothing else than disbelief.