Perspectives Daily – Thurs. March 27, 2014

Today on Perspectives, President Barack Obama visits the Vatican, daily mass with Pope Francis and the Pope’s itinerary in the Holy Land is released.

Notes from the Holy Land: Goodbyes

By Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton
General Secretary, The Canadian Council of Churches
Our final day of journeying together as The Path of Abraham 2014 began with a presentation by Rabbis for Human Rights. The Rabbi who spoke to us was passionate about and committed to peace and human rights for all people of the land. He painted in word pictures the times he had stood in front of a bulldozer come to take down the home of a Palestinian family. He couldn’t remember the number of times he has been arrested for such actions! He asked us all to dedicate ourselves, in our contexts, to the rights of every human being, made as every human being is, in the image of God.

We then said a very poignant ‘good-bye’ to some of our companions on the journey as they journeyed on to other engagements.

The wheels on the bus rolled again and we were off to the German Colony to meet with Ambassador Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ambassador Gold welcomed us hospitably (we are getting VERY used to the wonderful Israeli coffee) and spoke to us about Israel’s security needs. We had questions, he had answers from the perspective of his narrative of the land.

With those bus wheel rolling, our next stop was the city of Ramallah in the West Bank to meet with a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Again, a very hospital welcome in their very mundane-looking office building. That representative, no surprise, had a different narrative of the people in the land from Ambassador Gold. Again, we had questions, he had answers from the perspective of his narrative of the land.

It could not have been more appropriate, in fact it was an intentional decision on the part of the tour leaders, to end our Path of Abraham study tour in the village of Neve Shalom/Wahat a-Salaam. Physically, it is a small village on a not too big hill. Idealogically, idealistically it is a ‘game-changer’ in dialogue. Arabs and Jews live together, side by side, with their own houses, with their own faiths but in the same physical space, having to share and compromise and work out governance issues for themselves.

We were blessed by their story, the world is blessed by their witness.

It was then to the buses as we scattered to the airport, to Jordan or back to Jerusalem.

The Path of Abraham study tour is over. Perhaps.

On the other hand, if we can truly live forward the recognition of complexity that we have gained, if we can live in deep peace with ALL our neighbours, the journey has just begun…..

Photo courtesy of Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton

Perspectives Daily – February 11, 2014

 Tonight on  Perspectives

Pope Francis remembers  Pope Benedict’s resignation with a Tweet

And we tell you how Canadian dioceses will observe the World Day of the Sick

Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land in May

PopeAngelus2During his Sunday Angelus Address, Pope Francis Announced his upcoming trip to the Holy Land – May 24-26, 2014

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the climate of joy typical of this Christmas season, I would like to announce that May 24-26, if it pleases God, I will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The principal purpose of this trip is to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, which occurred exactly 50 years ago today, January 5. There will be 3 stops: Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. 3 days. At the Holy Sepulcher we will celebrate an ecumenical meeting with all of the representatives of the Christian Churches of Jerusalem, together with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Until then I ask for your prayers for this pilgrimage, which will be a pilgrimage of prayer.

In recent weeks many Christmas and New Years greetings have been sent to me from all over the world. I would like to reply to all of them but, unfortunately, it is impossible! So, from my heart I would like to thank the children for their drawings. They are truly beautiful! Children draw beautiful pictures! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I thank the children first of all. I thank the young people, the elderly, the families, the parish and religious communities, the associations, the movements and the different groups that wished to show me their affection and nearness. I ask everyone to continue to pray for me, I need it, and to pray for this service to the Church.

I wish all of you a good Sunday and a good lunch. Goodbye!Dear brothers and sisters!

Before making this announcement, Pope Francis gave the following reflection:

Dear brothers and sisters,

This Sunday’s liturgy re-proposes to us, in the prologue of St. John’s Gospel, the deepest meaning of Jesus’ birth. He is the Word of God who became man and pitched his “tent,” his dwelling, among men. The Evangelist writes: “The Word became flesh and came to live among us” (John 1:14). In these words, which never cease to astound us, is the whole of Christianity! God became mortal, fragile like us, he shared our human condition, except for sin, but took our sins upon himself as if they were his own. He entered into our history, he fully became God-with-us! Jesus’ birth, then, shows us that God wanted to unite himself to every man and woman, to each one of us, to communicate his life and his joy.

So, God is God with us, God who loves us, God who walks with us. This is the message of Christmas: the Word became flesh. Thus, Christmas reveals God’s immense love for humanity. From here stems the enthusiasm, the hope of Christians, who in our poverty know that we are loved, visited and accompanied by God; and we look at the world and at history as the place in which to walk together with him and with each other, toward the new heaven and the new earth. With the birth of Jesus a new promise is born, a new world is born, but also a world that can always be renewed. God is always present to raise up new men, to purify the world from the sin that makes it old, from the sin that corrupts it. As much as human history and our own personal history can be marked by difficulties and weaknesses, faith in the Incarnation tells us that God is solidary with man and his history. This closeness of God to man, to every man, and to each of us, is a gift that never fades away! He is with us! He is God with us! This is the good news of Christmas: the divine light, which flooded the hearts of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and guided the steps of the shepherds and the magi, also shines for us today.

In the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God there is also an aspect connected to human freedom, to the freedom of each one of us. In fact, the Word of God pitched his tent among us, sinners and needful of mercy. And we must all make haste to receive the grace that he offers us. But, St. John’s Gospel continues, “his own did not welcome him” (1:11). We too often reject him, we prefer to remain closed up in our errors and the anxiety of our sins. But Jesus does not desist and does not cease to offer himself and his grace that save us! Jesus is patient, Jesus knows how to wait, he always waits for us. This is a message of hope, a message of salvation, ancient and ever new. And we are called to bear witness with joy to this message of the Gospel of life, the Gospel of light, of hope and love, because this is Jesus’ message: life, light, hope, love.

May Mary, the Mother of God and our tender Mother, sustain us always so that we remain faithful to the Christian vocation and make the justice and peace that we desire at beginning of this new year a reality.

Perspectives Daily – Nov. 18, 2013

Today on Perspectives, the Pope’s weekly Angelus address, there’s a new resident at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope issues a Motu Proprio, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits a Toronto parish and we talk to Salt + Light’s Jeroen van der Biezen in Israel.

Perspectives Daily – Wednesday, Jan. 30

Tonight on Perspectives: Israeli and the Vatican officials met in Jerusalem and we take a look at today’s General Audience.

For Gaza’s Christians, there’s no place to go

What if you were in Gaza today, and you couldn’t leave? To what lengths would you go to get out? This question has been on the minds of the people of Gaza long before the latest escalation of violence (which, for the moment, has abated thanks to a ceasefire). Unemployment stands at 31.5%. A tightly controlled blockade on imports and exports — imposed by Israel to prevent arms from reaching Hamas militants — stifles the economy. And as we’ve seen, a new round of violence can erupt with little warning. For the many who want to flee, the congested strip of land feels like a prison.

All of this must have been racing through the mind of Berlanty Azzam when she was deported back to Gaza. The 21-year-old Christian had been studying at Bethlehem University in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the two Palestinian territories, are divided by Israel proper and governed separately, and thus feel worlds apart. Knowing how Berlanty’s deportation jeopardized her future, the religious brothers who run the Catholic university tried desperately to bring her back.

Berlanty is one of the students profiled in the documentary Across the Divide (view the trailer here), which, following a cross-country tour of screenings, airs on S+L on Thursday night at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT and 1:00 am ET/10:00 pm PT.

In Across the Divide, you will meet Berlanty and her family. You will see Gaza City and gain a sense of what it must be like for its terrified citizens, who, these past eight days, have wanted to be anywhere in the world but home.
Credit: CNS photo/Mohamad Salem, Reuters

Perspectives Daily – Wednesday, Nov. 21

Tonight on Perspectives: Pope Benedict calls for peace in Gaza and we take a look to today’s general audience.

Perspectives Daily – Tuesday, Nov. 20

Tonight on Perspectives: Catholic humanitarian efforts are put on hold in Gaza, the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation emphasizes the importance of Sundays, and Pope Benedict’s new book is ready for release.

Across the Divide Tour hits the nation’s capital

This past Wednesday, the S+L team was on hand at Saint Paul University in Ottawa to host the fourth national screening of our latest film Across the Divide. And what an event it was!

At a cocktail reception before the film, church dignitaries mingled with people from all walks of life, including a Canadian senator, all interested in learning about the current situation of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

As the event drew near, our marketing team was delighted to see a lineup of people patiently waiting to purchase tickets at the door. Soon, the theater was filled to near-capacity.

Without a doubt, the film evoked a wide range of emotions from the audience — from sadness, to sympathy, to a strong motivation to take action. One of the most interesting aspects of the event, however, was the Q&A panel discussion featuring the Archbishop of Ottawa, Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast; Carl Hétu, the National Director of CNEWA Canada; Kris Dmytrenko, the film’s writer and co-director; and Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, Salt + Light’s CEO. Even more than at our previous screenings in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax, this event elicited a very politically-charged discussion and a call-to-action from the crowd.
[Read more...]