Birthday Gift

Today, on my birthday, I awoke to this timely and important article on Crux by John Allen:

“Why Christianity needs its own Yad Vashem”

Many thanks to all of you for your kind and wonderful birthday greetings. The best gift you could give me would be for you to read this article prayerfully and reflectively, and think about its implications.

However we may remember, hear and tell the stories, and whatever we choose to do in response to the threats among us, we must not forget that the primary, unique and distinctive, and second-most-often repeated command of Jesus is to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, and forgive without any condition attached. The “first” most often repeated command of Jesus is “Fear not; do not be afraid.”

Let us pray that we may not let ourselves be blocked or motivated by fear, but that our response to very real threats, both local and worldwide, may be centered on love rather than mere defense and/or retaliation.

P.S. Today I enter upon my 74th year – that’s what happens on one’s 73rd birthday. I look forward to the journey as it unfolds.  It’s a graced trip.

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Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.

1 thought on “Birthday Gift”

  1. fr. tom, happy Birthday! I read the article and reflected on the many thoughts it provoked. Christian suffering, persecution and martyrdom has been going on for so long over the centuries that is has become a tolerated reality. It is the underlying story bound in the foundation of our faith. It is the cross, the Roman Arena and each century populates the ranks of saints with more and more martyrs and selfless servants who love their enemies and readily and lovingly turn theother cheek.
    The tolerance is throughout the palacy and hierarchy and clergy thus it comes as no surprise that the laity too have adopted the same disposition.

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