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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Whose Image Do You Worship?

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct 22, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ
During the past week we have been listening to the parables of Our Lord Jesus Christ calling us to conversion.

Those parables angered those who opposed Christ. 

Today’s Gospel (Matthew 22:15-21) makes it clear  that the Pharisees do not have much admiration for Jesus. In fact, the Pharisees were out to get Jesus. They sent their representatives to Jesus along with the Herodians -- Jews that supported King Herod.

The Pharisees ask Jesus about the legitimacy of the census tax. This tax created controversy because Jews were made to pay it to the emperor of Rome. The Pharisees hoped to use the census tax to trap Our Lord. 

If Jesus said, “Yes, pay your taxes,” He turns away his most loyal followers who despised the Romans.They followed Jesus, who  proclaimed the Kingdom of God, hoping that He would free them from the Roman occupation. 

But if Jesus said not to pay Caesar’s tax then He incites the Romans to arrest Him as a rebel rousing zealot. Fully aware of their trickery, Our Lord does not play their game. He knows that the Pharisees were not questioning Him for the greater good. They were not questioning Him to know the truth.

It is this evil cunning that irritates our Lord. Knowing their malice, Jesus says, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?” He says,
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." In other words, Our Lord is saying do what is right.

My brothers and sisters, it is these last words of Our Lord that make up the essence of our Lord’s message in today’s Gospel. Yes, we too live under civil societies with laws and taxes and so on. But, the bottom line is that all things belong to God! Every government, every society, every single thing we make, create, or build belongs to God!

It is when persons and societies and cultures forget that God is the ruler of everything that persons and societies and cultures and even religious institutions lose their way. This is what happened to the Pharisees whom we hear of in today’s Gospel. The Pharisees were the religious leaders of their time, but they had turned the Jewish religion from worshiping God into worshiping an image made in the likeness of themselves. This is why our Lord was so upset with the Pharisees. They had forgotten the truth found in today's Psalm:
"Give to the Lord glory and praise, give to the Lord the glory due His name!"

Today’s Gospel calls us to reflect on what we make the centre of our lives.  Who or what are the rivals to God in our lives?

As Caesar’s image was on a coin, this coin

therefore identified the Roman ruler. This
coin has the head of the Roman emperor on it and the inscription, “Glorified Son of Augustus.” In other words, the coin symbolized all the institutions that tend to divinize themselves as the ultimate in authority. While Our Lord Jesus does not comment on this blasphemy, He reminds us Who really is in charge -- God Himself. 

Therefore, it is God’s image alone that shall be worshiped.
In fact, each one of us is made in the image of God. Do we reflect God’s image in our lives? Or, do we make a false image of ourselves that reflects what is not of God? Are we as concerned about giving back to God what is God's when we think about our image? Does our image reflect our Catholic values?

We all know that today our society teaches us to place ourselves at the center of the world. Our own false image means everything in this


culture: How much money we make… What material possessions we have… Are we attractive? Our society even encourages us to make false images of ourselves and one another based on sexual preference.

Yet, as Catholics we are called not to identify ourselves by labels and images created by the world. As Catholics we are called to identify ourselves as sons and daughters of God and therefore live a new life in Christ! We are called to render God praise for saving us from a fallen world that is passing away and rejoice in thanking God for this great gift! As Catholics we are called to worship God will all our minds, hearts, and to love our neighbours 
as ourselves who have been reborn in the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

My brothers and sisters, today’s Gospel
Fr John Paul Shea
passage calls us to give credit to where it is due and to live our lives accordingly. Our God has given us every single thing we have. Our God has given us the very life in which we live and the breath in which we breathe. Most importantly, our God has given us the opportunity for salvation through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us therefore live our lives today in this society as best we can by doing what is right in what we should do, but most importantly let us place our lives into the hands of God who is the owner of all that we are and all that we have. For He alone deserves the glory due His name. Amen.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Lord of the Vineyard Comes: Bring Forth Good Fruit

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct 8, 2017
St. John the Apostle Awasi Catholic Church, Kisumu Archdiocese, Kenya
          
On this Sunday, the Church enjoins us to rejoice -- we are highly-favored -- because God chose us as to be in charge of His Beloved Vineyard. To carry out His task effectively, we need much prayer, which draws the peace of God
closer and closer to us. In light of this, we are to put on our best in order not to disappoint God who appointed us.

Recently , I went to a nearby fruit shop to buy some fruits for my mum. As I was walking through the shops, examining the fruits in order to make my choice, one young man insisted that I buy from his shop because his produce was fresh. Actually, I had admired his produce because they looked really good. So, I bought some mangoes from him. 

Unfortunately on getting home, the first fruit my mum tried eating was already deteriorating and had maggots inside. She took, the second, third, fourth and in fact the results were all the same. 

So, out of disappointment she threw the remaining into the garbage can. The next time I went to the same market, the same man beckoned on me to buy from him but I ignored him. When we use the term disappointment in relation to persons or things, we simply mean that a person's action or promise falls below our expectation. What do we do at such times? We express our feelings of disappointment. In like manner, God feels disappointed and even frustrated when we perform badly.
Our first reading popularly known as “the parable or song of the vineyard" (Isaiah 5, 1-7) is an allegory. In this reading, God recounts His love and care for Judah. He chose her as the apple of his eye. (Zach 2:8) He did everything possible to make her comfortable.

Unfortunately, God was rewarded with sour grapes: “He expected justice, but found bloodshed, integrity but only a cry of distress.” 

What a pity! How has it been with us? Many times some of us have treated Our Beloved ungratefully for all His pains. We have given Him hardness of heart, instead of repentance; unbelief, instead of faith; indifference, instead of love; idleness instead of holy industry and impurity instead of holiness. 

Our world today is marked and punctuated by violence, victimization, hunger, homelessness, greed, conspicuous consumption, corruption etcetera. We have cared more about selling things to our neighbors than we have cared for our neighbors. I think we can do better. We should do better and God expects us to do better. Unfortunately, and tragically, instead of justice, God sees violence; and instead of righteousness, God hears the cries of victims. So as His vineyard, are we also going to disappoint Him in spite of His goodness to us?

The service club, Rotary International, has a guiding principle referred to as the four-way test. It is an ethical guide for their personal and professional relationships. It  always reminds me of 
Philippians 4:8""For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things."

The four principles include: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Today, in his last letter to the Philippians (Phil 4, 6-9)Paul exalts us not to be worried. If we remain close to the Lord of the Vineyard, He
will allow His peace to abide with us. 

Finally, He draws our attention to the basic stuffs that God expects to find in us, His vineyard: Everything that is true, just, noble, lovely, of good fame and of virtue.  

So, that means we should only think about things that are respectable; whatever is right in that it conforms to the standard of God’s righteousness; whatever is pure, in that it is free from defilement; whatever is lovely in that it is pleasing in its motive and actions towards others; whatever is good in that it is laudable; excellent and worthy of praise, and officially approved.

Unfortunately, we no longer ask, “Is it true?” but “Does it work?” and “How will it make me feel?” 

But in order to keep the peace of God, Paul tells us to keep doing all that we have learnt from the good news of Jesus Christ. If we do that, the Lord of the Vineyard will come and bless our lives because we did not disappoint Him.

In today's Gospel (
Matt 21:33-43), we find another allegory of the vineyard. In it, Jesus addressed the chief priests and the elders of the people in the temple. The Pharisees and the Scribes are portrayed as the wicked tenants who, instead of rendering a good account, decided to overthrow the landlord. The question is after the wicked tenants are thrown out, who would be given the vineyard?  The good news is the landlord will: “lease the vineyard to other tenants who will deliver the produce to him whenever he arrives.” 

When the Pharisees and their accomplices rejected the gospel it was taken to the Gentiles. This reading therefore, richly conveys some important truths about God and the way he deals with His people. First, it tells us of God’s generosity and trust. Second, it tells us of His patience and justice. 

Of course this parable reminded the Pharisees that they killed the prophets and would soon kill the Son of God, Christ
Himself. However, the judgment pronounced on the original tenants must serve as a warning to the new tenants as well, because:
“To whom much is given much is expected.” 

Second is the fact that in whatever activity we find ourselves now, we must be ready to render a positive and fruitful account to the Master and Lord of the Vineyard. When we oppress the weak, the poor, our subordinates, and those under our care; when we fail to render justice to whom it is due; when we overturn the truth and prefer lie; and when we bring others pain and sorrow instead of joy, we disappoint God.

Finally, Jesus says:
“The stone the builders rejected became the key stone.” Indeed, as much as He speaks to the Pharisees of old so does He speak to us also. They rejected Christ the Heir to the vineyard and even killed him, thinking that was the right thing to get full ownership. But unfortunately what they thought was their advantage became their ruin. 

Accepting the Lordship of Christ as the Heir to God’s Vineyard is very important in our lives. Allowing Him to take his rightful position in our lives -- God’s own vineyard -- is the only way we can bear good fruit. This is the only way we can be filled with what is true, noble, pure, worthy of praise and of course, virtuous; and it is the only way we can faithfully render a good account to the Lord.
So, for the times we have disappointed God let us with the Psalmist today implore the Lord of the Vineyard: “God of hosts, turn again, we implore, look down from heaven and see…God of host bring us back… and we shall not forsake you again!”

October is the month of Rosary. We encourage you to pray Rosary daily.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

*Fr. Joe Mungai, FMH, is a Franciscan Missionary of Hope, a relatively new congregation started in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993. He was ordained June 7, 2014. 




Sunday, September 24, 2017

Abounding in Mercy, Rich in Kindness!

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sept. 24, 2017
St. John the Apostle Awasi Catholic Church, Kisumu Archdiocese, Kenya

Happy Sunday!

Today's readings show us that God is
outrageously generous and merciful, and that His wisdom surpasses our human categories of value and judgment.

In the first reading (Isaiah 55:6-9), Isaiah exhorts the people of Israel, returned from exile in Babylon, to sincerely search for the Lord who is merciful and generous. Dispirited by the experience of a devastated homeland, they have become weary of their faith and their vaunted heritage. He reminds them that the Lord’s ways are not obvious to us, and need to be actively sought while we have the opportunity.

In the second reading (Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a), St. Paul shows us the spirit of true Christian service. He asserts that he would bring honor to Christ, whether by life or death. Death for him is gain for he would relish the heavenly reward. To continue to live in this world, however, would mean a more fruitful labor for the Gospel. This would benefit more greatly the community of faith and encourage them to live a life worthy of the Gospel.

The gospel reading(Matt 20:1-16a), presents us with the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. It demonstrates the difference between our spontaneous judgements and God’s thinking. In the Kingdom of Heaven, all are equally loved. Human standards are not to be used to measure God’s generosity
which is founded on His mercy and
compassion. His ideals of justice, concern and love for all can never be matched by any purely human program. It is God’s will and wisdom to save all who want to work for Him, and that should be our intention too.

Several things stand out for our understanding.

First, equality -- as we understand it -- may convey justice. But it is goodness, generosity and love as personified by Jesus Himself that enable us to go beyond justice and share with those who are marginal, unfortunate and abandoned members of society. And lest we forget, even these virtues are gifts from God.

In fact, there is nothing that we are and have that has not come from God. We cannot be envious or jealous because God is generous to someone else. The tender compassion of
God is all visible for us to see and emulate. A person out of work is a tragic figure and all the late comers wanted some opportunity to work and God out of his generosity gives it.

Second, a life of generosity reflects God’s nature in a special way. Surely, God is just; but He is also outrageously generous and merciful at the same time. We do not get what we deserve. Rather God gives us more than we deserve. Today, He calls each one of us to be a generous people. We know forgiveness is hard, but we see that real generosity is even harder than forgiveness. 

Generosity is a fight with human nature, with what we like to call fairness, but which can often turn into resentment -- not resentment against injustice, but against the grace God throws around to other people. When it happens to us, we praise God for his grace to us and our families. When it happens to someone else, as often as not, we get out the calculator, and switch on the lamentation mode.

Finally, we all are welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven; where new comers belong; where 
the last are first and the excluded are included; because God's thoughts are not our thoughts. God's standards are not our standards. Each one of us must feel at home. We can therefore begin to mirror heaven in our homes, in our jumuias (African online shopping), in our Churches and let all our brothers and sisters feel welcome. 

There are not tribal or political or social affiliations in heaven. At the table of God, we all belong. We who will live in eternity together in heaven, ought to begin here on earth, embracing those who are different from us, loving those whom we have been taught to hate, in imitation of God Himself.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures
(Psalm 145)






Monday, September 18, 2017

God is Merciful; We Must Be Too!

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sept. 17, 2017
St. John the Apostle Awasi Catholic Church, Kisumu Archdiocese, Kenya

Last week, the church reminded us of the importance of reconciliation through fraternal dialogue and mutual love. Today she, invites us to reflect on forgiveness. It is a very
important element of reconciliation, and our Christian belief. It is the central message of today’s first and gospel readings. (Sirach 27:30-28:7; Matt 18: 21-35)

There is a popular saying that to err is human, while to forgive is divine. That is to say, that the one who sins acts humanly. This is because, it is part of our attributes as humans to err or to sin. On the other hand, the one who forgives acts divinely. This is because, to forgive is to participate in a very important attribute and nature of God. That is, His divinity. It is what our God is known for.
“He is compassionate, merciful, love and He forgives” (Ps 102).

The first reading reminds us that for our prayer to be answered, we must forgive others. It presupposes that we are all sinners, in need of God’s forgiveness. So to be forgiven, first, we must forgive others. Therefore, Sirach urges us:
“Forgive your neighbor the hurt he does to you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven.” This is a call to liberate others, in other to liberate and heal ourselves too.
In the second reading (Romans 14:7-9), Paul reminds us of something very important. The life and death of each of us has its influence on the other. Our ability to forgive too influences the other. Hence, it is important to note that, forgiveness has a double effect. It is a single dose medicine that cures one or many persons at the same time. It liberates the one who is forgiven, as well as, heals the one who forgives.

In the gospel, Christ takes forgiveness to a different and practical level. This unfolds in the dialogue between Peter and Christ. Peter asked a theoretical question:
“How many times must I forgive my brother?” Jesus answered him in the most practical way: “seventy-seven times.” Christ’s response, simply reminds us that Christian forgiveness does not have limits. We must forgive all, always and forever as the prayer of Saint Francis of Assis says: “Wherever there is injury, pardon.”

To demonstrate this, Jesus tells a parable about the kingdom of heaven.The wicked servant was forgiven a great debt, but he could not forgive his neighbor a little debt. He was set free, but he jailed his neighbor. The message of this parable is that we must treat others mercifully. We must forgive, because God forgives us every day. We must not always hold our neighbors to contempt. Rather, we must consider their situations as God considers our situation always.

What does it mean to forgive all and forever? First, it does not mean: “I forgive you, but we must go our separate ways,” or "I forgive you, but I do not want to see you again in my life,”
or "I forgive you, but I will not forget.” It means something much deeper. It means to restore unity, to believe that it is possible to walk together towards a common goal. It means to heal a wound, without leaving a scar.

It is important to add that, sometimes, one equally needs to forgive oneself for the faults committed against self. Endless grieving or guilt because of one’s mistakes reduces the quality of life. It hinders both spiritual and material progress. So, we must forgive ourselves too, in other to continue living in peace with ourselves.

Finally, he who forgives acts like Christ. So, as we pray today at this Eucharistic celebration: “Forgive us our offences, as we forgive those who offend us,” let us ask God to help us to be true to these words, by living them practically.
Thank you for praying for my mother, Lucy. she is recovering 
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

*Fr. Joe Mungai, FMH, is a Franciscan Missionary of Hope, a relatively new congregation started in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993. He was ordained June 7, 2014. 


Monday, September 4, 2017

The Cost of Discipleship

Sermon by Fr. Joseph Mungai, FMH
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Sept. 3, 2017
St. John the Apostle Awasi Catholic Church, Kisumu Archdiocese, Kenya

Years ago, when Poland was still under Communist control, the Prime Minister ordered the crucifixes removed from
classroom walls. Catholic Bishops attacked the ban, which had stirred waves of anger and resentment all across Poland. 

Ultimately the government relented, insisting that the law remain on the books, but agreeing not to press for removal of the crucifixes, particularly in the schoolrooms. But one zealous Communist school administrator, the director of the Mietnow agricultural college, Ryszard Dobrynski, took the crosses down from his seven lecture halls where they had hung since the school's founding in the twenties. 

Days later, a group of parents entered the school and hung more crosses. The administrator promptly had these taken down as well. 

The next day two-thirds of the school's six hundred students staged a sit-in. When heavily armed riot police arrived, the students were forced into the streets. Then they marched, crucifixes held high, to a nearby Church where they were joined by twenty-five hundred other students from nearby schools for a morning of prayer in support of the
protest. Soldiers surrounded the Church. But the press was there as well, and pictures from inside of students holding crosses high above their heads flashed around the world. So did the words of the priest who delivered the message to the weeping congregation that morning. "There is no Poland without the cross."

Perhaps the cross has come to symbolize something easy to us because we have not had to sacrifice for our faith in our lives. The more we are called upon to carry our own crosses, the more we will understand the cross Our Savior carried to the hill called Golgotha. That is why today’s gospel challenges us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Jesus. (Mt 16: 21-27)
"Customer Satisfaction" has become an important word today. The modern world values three things: pleasure, convenience, and comfort. This is a human standard. 

In today's gospel we heard about two standards -- human and divine. Peter took Jesus aside and and rebuked Him for speaking of  His future suffering and death. Jesus' response is "Get thee behind me, Satan! . . . You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."

At Caesarea Philippi, Peter rightly confessed "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." (Matt 16:16) But Peter’s understanding of Jesus’ messiahship is something kingly, glorious, and triumphant. Thus, when Jesus revealed to his disciples that He was to undergo passion and death, the knee-jerk reaction of Peter was “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” As soon as it was said, Jesus rebuked Peter because he could be a hindrance to the plan of God. 

Early Christian theologian Origen suggests that Jesus was saying to Peter: "Peter, your place is behind me, not in front of me. It's your job to follow me in the way I choose, not to try to lead me in the way you would like me to go." Satan is banished from the presence of Christ, and Peter is recalled as Christ's follower. Like Peter, the Church is often tempted to judge the success or failure of her ministry by the world’s standards. But Jesus teaches that worldly success is not always the Christian way. The standard of God is never about pleasure, convenience, and comfort. On the contrary, it is sometimes excruciating, inconvenient, and uncomfortable.

The incident was an eye-opener for Peter. Peter now has to learn that the standard of
God is not about comfort, not about privilege, not about convenience. It is often about pain and sacrifice. This is the cost of discipleship. 

There are three consequences of discipleship. First, self-denial, which is a means of opening our world to others and to God.  In a world devoted only to materialism, people tend to be become very self-absorbed. 

Second, we take up our cross. This value is difficult for the modern world to absorb because we are used to being comfortable. Crosses in life abound. They are present in our day-to-day existence. They may appear in a form of illness. They may also appear in a form relational misunderstandings or conflicts. In the name of convenience and comfort, some people may rebel against God because of illness. Or some may withdraw when they are faced with relational problems. For instance, in marital life, a simple misunderstanding already offers discomfort. It’s so sad that the only resolution for conflict that a husband or a wife knows is divorce. One must instead take up the cross and face the conflict. Find solutions to the problem. Carrying the cross can be liberating.

Third, we follow Jesus. Following Jesus is something definitive and radical. When we
follow Him, we follow the total aspects of His Person and life. There is no room for “pick and choose” mentality here. We cannot just say that we follow Him in His way of love, but not in His way of forgiveness or accepting the cross. This attitude will never make us His true disciples.

The gospel calls us to take seriously our  vocation as Christians. Pleasure, convenience, and comfort is not the end of our lives.  In the final analysis, life has taught us that sacrifice and pain are sometimes necessary, and a means to attaining glory. Amen.

(Say a prayer for my mum Lucy, to have a speedy recovery).
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

*Fr. Joe Mungai, FMH, is a Franciscan Missionary of Hope, a relatively new congregation started in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993. He was ordained June 7, 2014. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

What Kind of god Did Mohammed Create?

One Who Does not Possess the Truth

by Lawrence Fox

This is the Quran: 
“Who could prevent Allah from destroying the Messiah, the son of Mary along with his mother and all the people of the
earth? His is the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them. He creates what He will and has power over all things." (Surah 5:19)

In the UK
That’s right Mohammed (570-632 AD), alleged prophet, founder of Islam and the author of the Quran, says that his god, allah, could destroy Jesus, the Messiah, and His mother Mary. Not to mention the rest of humanity. What kind of god did Mohammed create? 

This was allah’s wake of destruction in 2017: the Palm Sunday bombings in Egypt with 45  killed;  23 murders in Manchester, London by a British Muslim; and deaths in the Philippines top 500 with 381 of those ISIS fighters. In seaside towns near Barcelona, Spain, 13 are dead. There are countless others injured in all those locations and hundreds of thousands fled their homes in the southern Philippines to escape Islamic terror. 

Dearborn, Michigan
I am repeating the following observation:

We must understand Mohammed’s justification of violence in the name of his god, allah, by reflecting on the Islamic doctrine of unitarianism in the Quran. Islamic unitarianism is the belief that god is a solitary person. He has no inner reflective life. And he — the god allah — is revealed in violence and power. 

Allah tells Mohammad, “Unbelievers are those who declare, ‘Allah is the Messiah, the Son of Mary.’ Allah then says to Mohammad, say: 'Who could prevent Allah from destroying the Messiah, the son of Mary along with his mother and all the people of the earth?' His is the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them. He creates what He will and has power over all things." (Surah 5:19)

This so-called unitarian god is totally opposite of the Christian God. God has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ, His Son. He is self-sacrificing Love. He will not  act against His own Goodness. He has an inner reflective relationship -- a trinitarian communion of Three Persons in One God. In Islam, allah is a master of slaves. We are all slaves. In Christianity, God is Our Father. Jesus came in the flesh and revealed that to us.

 “I’m your boss because I am your boss. Allah is god because he destroys.” Islam believes it has the right to destroy and when it does, it demonstrates the will and nature of allah. It is a circular argument within the Quran and as such is lived in a circular manner throughout the life of Mohammad and Islamic History. 

“O Prophet ! Urge the believers to fight...they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because the disbelievers (non-Muslims) are people who do not understand.” (Surah 8:65) and again, “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war and free them for ransom until he had made a great slaughter among his enemies in the land.” (Surah 8:67) 


Allah argues in the Quran that Jesus cannot be the Messiah because allah is able to destroy Jesus and his mother Mary and every other living thing. The destruction of all living things would be for allah a sort of Pyrrhic victory, Who would be left behind to give allah glory? This is a satanic teaching. 

It is also a strange revelation since allah recites elsewhere in the Quran, “They plotted and Allah plotted. Allah is the supreme Plotter. He said: “Jesus I am about to cause you to die and lift you up to Me. I shall take you away from the unbelievers and exalt your followers (Muslims) above them till the Day or Resurrection. Then to me you shall return and I judge your disputes.” (Surah 3:55) 

This Surah refers to the fact that -- while the Muslims do not believe Christ died on the cross -- allah supposedly killed Jesus in the first century before the Quran was written. If the Quran  proposes Jesus’ death -- given that Jesus is already once dead and revived  -- then the argument is absurd.  

The ability to destroy is void of any evidence of divinity, it is a non-sequitur (does not follow from the premise). Human beings are quite capable of destroying other human beings
as well as whole cities, cultures, churches, libraries, monuments, images, and anything else related to human history.  But none of these men are gods. 

Tragically, men rise and fall throughout human history arguing, “power as justice, power as truth, power as good” only to leave behind the ashes of destruction and pain. 

The promotion of violence as means of demonstrating truth betrays a weakness in one’s knowledge of the truth; a confusion of the mind and
an absence of Wisdom.

“For the Lord God did not make Death, He takes no pleasure in destroying the living.(Wisdom. 1:13)  Allah is not arguing from a position of strength but weakness. He does not possess the Truth. 

Note that while I read through the Quran a number of times, it became quite obvious that the author of the Quran was unable to comprehend what is Orthodox Christianity.  

According to the Quran, Christians worshipped Jesus and Mary as two separate gods along side allah; and the Jews worshipped Ezra the Priest, “The Jews say, ‘Ezra is a son of God’; and the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is a son of God.’ Such are the saying in their mouths. They resemble the sayings of the infidels of old. Allah, Do battle with them! How are they so misguided! They take their teachers, and their monks, and the Messiah, the son of Mary for Lords (masters) beside Allah, though bidden to worship Allah alone. There is no Allah by Allah! Far from His glory be what they associate with Him.” (Surah 9:30) 

One would think that allah “being all knowing” would be able to grasp what Christians and Jews actually wrote and believed.  Christianity never taught that Jesus and Mary are other gods. Jesus is True God and True Man, One in Being with the Father. Mary, His mother, is a human being. The Jews never said Ezra is the son of God. It's not in the Old Testament.  

Anyway, Mohammed was taught to discern truth, virtue, and justice (right and wrong) from this perspective of power and violence. It is no wonder that after his journey to Medina; he becomes a warrior Prophet; recitals are begotten alongside acts of terror on neighbouring Arab and Jewish tribes. 

While in Medina, Mohammad received the revelation, “Kill the pagans (polytheists) wherever your find them, and capture 
The Yazidi  captives -- regarded as pagans by ISIS --  are lined up 
before execution in Iraq in 2014
them and besiege them and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush.”
(Surah 9:5) 

After Mohammad’s flight from Mecca to Medina -- known as the Hijra -- the swell of violence begins. Mohammed and his merry men attack Meccan caravans traveling between Syria and Mecca. In 624 AD Quraysh tribesmen respond and engage Mohammad and his followers at the Battle of Badr; which did not go well for Mohammad. The same scenario was played out again in 625 AD when Quraysh tribesmen engaged Mohammad and his followers at the Battle of Uhud; which again did not go well for Mohammad. So Mohammad changes his tactics. In 626 AD, Mohammad attacks the Jewish tribe of Al-Nadir and expels them from Medina. In 627 AD, Mohammad and his followers defeat the Meccans at the Battle of the Ditch. Things are now turned around and Mohammad is willing to attack the city of Mecca directly. In the same year (627 AD) Mohammad slaughters the Jewish tribe of Qurayza, beheading eight
ISIS victims in Paris 2015
hundred Jewish men allowing only one man to live and takes as slaves all the women and children. In 629 AD, Mohammad and his men slaughter the Jews of Kybar during a night raid. Mohammad’s tenth wife (Safiya bint Houyay) is the result of this slaughter. 

In the same year Mohammad -- according to Islamic Tradition -- sends letters to various Kings inviting them to embrace Islam including: Kings of Persia, Yemen, and Ethiopia and the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. These letters were Mohammad’s last will and testament to his followers, “Who is more wicked than the man who invents a falsehood about Allah or denies his revelation? Truly the evil doers shall not triumph.” (Surah 10:18) He is referring to Jews, Christians and pagans -- all non-Muslims.

In 630 AD, Mohammad takes Mecca and the city’s population is forcibly converted.  The Kaaba — a polytheistic shrine of the Quraysh Tribe — is turned into an Islamic religious site. The same thing happens to the Cathedral Hagia Sophia located in Constantinople. It was conquered by Turkish Muslims in 1453 AD. 

By the time Mohammad dies in 632 AD,  all of Arabia was conquered for Islam. When
Mohammad died, a number of the Arabian tribes had to be re-conquered including the tribes in present day Kuwait.  Between 639 AD and 651 AD, the land of Egypt, Syria and Persia were put under the foot of allah. Before the end of the 17th Century, lands today known as Persia, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Algiers, Spain, Sicily, Greece, Balkans, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Ukraine were under the sword of the Quran, “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), until they pay the jizya (tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Surah 9:29) Prior to collapse of the Turkish Islamic Ottoman Empire, they slaughtered about 1.5 million Armenians in the name of allah. 

Tragically, those who today adhere to a literal reading of the Quran continue to reason that Jesus cannot be the Messiah because he (allah) is able to destroy Jesus and His mother Mary and every other living thing.

However, we report that allah has not succeeded. Jesus and Mary prosper. Many have survived Islamic violence. 

To the serpent in the Garden of Eden, God said, 
“And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,

    and you will strike his heel.” (Gen 3:15)