the Storm (19 Sunday OT)

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As I read today readings, that gospel of the calming of the storm took on a very specific contemporary meaning this Sunday. For a start, I am at the sea as I type. The image of an approaching storm is particularly vivid. I can witness first hand an ocean storm roll I, I can watch the water go from that glassy smoothness, to white water, and I can witness that storm passing. It does not matter where you are, all storms take that same path. What does change though is the severity of the storm, and the damage left in its wake. That damage can range from none to the devastation of a tsunami. What is that contemporary connection to the gospel reading? It is not that similarity of location. Anyone that reads the news knows of that current storm raging in Iraq. That storm is the current persecution of Christians. While that persecution in Iraq is particularly horrific and worthy of every bit of outrage and protest humanly possible, Christian persecution is subtly making its way into all aspects of Christendom. In Iraq it is ISIS, in the Americas it is the proliferation of those Black Masses taking place at prestigious universities, and the culture they stem from. While it is admirable that the US government is acting on the violence towards the Iraqi Yazidi, it is deplorable that they refuse to acknowledge the violence towards those ancient Christians of Mosul. It is that reluctance to acknowledge and act on the violence against the Nazarenes (as they are known in Iraq) that points towards that basis of Christian persecution both in Europe and the United States. Often the signs of persecution start as subtle gestures of indifference, to political posturing against a group, to seemingly scientific claims against a group, to mockery, to genocide. The world’s indifference towards the plight of Iraqi Christians is certainly a warning sign and Nazarene genocide is the final step. Might that Iraqi crisis call for an outrage by practicing Christians of all nations?  Might the government’s indifference be a wakeup call for Christians of all nations? Might it be wise to note those signs of an approaching storm?

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