ONE Magazine

The official publication of
Catholic Near East Welfare Association

Celebrating 50 years | God • World • Human Family • Church

Raising the Anti

It’s not easy trying to be a disciple of Jesus in this world.

Of course I’m not anti-Semitic! It’s not appropriate to stereotype Arab people, speaking about them as though they were all the same and projecting on each superficial and prejudicial characteristics.

Oh, of course I’m not anti-Jewish either! It’s absurd to be anti-Jewish when Jesus, Mary and Joseph were Jewish – and all the apostles and first Christians. It’s absurd to be anti-Jewish since contemporary Judaism and Christianity are two branches of the same family.

I’m not anti-Islam either. It makes no sense to be against fellow believers in the same God. Am I anti-interpretations-of-doctrine- that-some-Muslims-teach? Why, surely. I’m even anti- interpretations-of-doctrine-that-some-Christians-and-Jews-teach.

Am I anti-Israel? Israel is a country made up of people with different ethnic backgrounds and different religions – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bahais – and those without any particular religion at all. I can’t be anti-all of them.

Am I anti-the-Israeli-government? No, I’m not anti-an-entire- government. That would be a bit much. But, we’re getting warm – I am very much anti-certain-policies-and-practices-of-the-present- Israeli-government. And for that matter, I am very much anti- certain-policies-and-practices-of-the-Palestinian-Authority and the United States government, too.

I’m anti-violence – I’m anti-violation-of-the-God-given-dignity- and-inalienable-rights-of-every-human-person. I’m anti-retaliation, massive or moderate. I’m anti-an-eye-for-an-eye-and-a-tooth-for-a-tooth.

In fact, I’m anti-inflexibility, anti-blindness, anti-insensitivity, anti- selfishness and anti-corruption.

I’m anti-jihad. I’m anti-might-makes-right. I’m anti-anti-world- authority and anti-anti-United-Nations. I’m anti-political- pandering-and-patronizing. I’m anti-my-country-right-or-wrong-my -country.

I’m anti-propaganda and anti-manipulation. I’m anti-distortions-of- truth. I’m anti-a-valueless-approach-to-reporting-current-events. I’m anti-no-moral-compass.

Aren’t you for anything?

Yes, I’m pro-justice and pro-peace. I’m pro-understanding and pro-standing-in-the-other’s-shoes. I’m pro-respect-for-differences and pro-seeking-common-ground. I’m pro-forgiveness and pro- reconciliation. I’m pro-love – that means I’m pro-God and pro- life.

It’s not easy trying to be a disciple of Jesus in this world. The ideals and the impossible dreams are always bright and clear, but, ah, the practical applications.

It doesn’t give you any monopoly on the truth, but it does give a direction for seeking the truth.

It doesn’t exempt you from all the frailties and ignorance of the human condition, but it does give you the power to overcome them.

What’s the answer? What to say?

“When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”

When the chips are down, He’ll tell me.

Msgr. Archimandrite Robert L. Stern, Secretary General of CNEWA

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