Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Buried Treasure

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Christian property marked for confiscation
The Muslim terrorists who took over the city of Mosul in Iraq declared a caliphate and started calling themselves the Islamic State (IS). They started marking Christian properties with the letter Nun (the Arabic equivalent of our letter N) which stood for Nazarene, the name which Muslims call Christians even from the time of Mohammed. These Christian properties were marked for confiscation by the Islamic State. Thursday 2 weeks ago, they made announcements that all Christians living in Mosul may choose from the following: Convert to Islam, Pay heavy taxes, Leave Mosul, or face death. The Christians were given until the next day, Friday, to comply with these demands. The Christians packed a few of their belongings and started to leave the city. But at checkpoints, they were told to surrender their cars, their jewelry, money, public documents and were allowed to bring nothing except the clothes they were wearing. For a week now, the city of Mosul, which was once inhabited by the highest number of Christians in Iraq, is now empty of Christians for the very first time in 1, 800 years.

These Christians could have chosen the easier alternative. They could have chosen to simply convert to Islam. In that way, they would have kept their properties and even their lives. But no, they chose to keep their Christian faith. They chose to abandon everything they had except their faith in Jesus. This is how much they valued their faith. To these Iraqi Christians, the kingdom of God is indeed a treasure buried in the field and a pearl of great price. To them, the kingdom of Christ is worth giving up everything they have in order to keep it. They would rather give up everything they owned than abandon their faith and convert to Islam. And now, they are suffering on account of their loyalty to Jesus. As if being reduced to poverty were not enough, these Christians continue to suffer because the Muslims have cut off the electrical and water supply of the towns that adopted them. Their miserable condition is indeed a very difficult test of faith. However, in their present suffering, they are being conformed to the image of Jesus who is the “firstborn of many brothers and sisters.” There seems to be no end yet to their sufferings and yet we are confident. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” The Iraqi Christians are giving a fitting witness to Jesus, a testimony which is a spectacle to the eyes of men and angels. Men see their sufferings but angels see their victory. “Those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he in turn glorified.”

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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