Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas terrorist attack: a real miracle

Disclaimer to protect myself from Human Rights Commissions (normal people need not read this paragraph):  I hereby solemnly declare that I do not harbour any hatred or anger towards any religion or religious group, especially not Islam or Muslims.  I do not advocate any form of violence, hatred or discrimination against Muslims.  I am simply concerned by the statements made by Muslims themselves to the effect that they support terrorist acts.  I am therefore exploring the implications of their position on the public good of Canadians and the world.

By now, most of you have heard about the despicable failed terrorist attack that a man tried to perpetrate against the American people on Christmas Day.  You won't find me running for cover behind politically correct platitudes.  I'll call a spade a spade:  he was a Muslim terrorist.  Period.

Here's a brief summary of the key facts:
  • A man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boards a plane in Nigeria en route for Detroit.  He's carrying explosives, but nobody seems to detect them.
  • The plane makes a stop-over in Amsterdam.  Nobody notices the explosives.
  • As the plane is approaching Detroit, the man tries to detonate his explosives, which were strapped to his body.
  • The chemicals did not explode but rather caught fire, which severely burned the terrorist but didn't do much other damage­.
  • The man is now under arrest and claims that he was sent by al-Qaida.
I think this is a real Christmas miracle.  The guy had succeeded in circumventing all the security checks and inspections.  Although his name had been put on an international watch list by his father one month earlier because his dad thought that his son had gotten to extreme in his religious views (kudos to the dad), somehow that didn't show up on the computer screen when he checked in.  He had flown on two planes for many hours without anybody noticing a thing. He was home free.  He even managed to pull the trigger, so to speak, to detonate the bomb.  Somewhere in his distorted extremist mind, he must have been filled with some whack-job glee, exhilaration and pride of a job well done.  Yet the bomb didn't blow because God didn't let it happen.  Praise God!

God doesn't prevent every evil, as we've witnessed so often in our lives, not the least of which was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Why does God allow evil?  Because He intends on making an even greater good come from it.  Remember that God doesn't sit in an ivory tower watching us suffer.  The stepped up to the plate Himself and let us crucify Him.  He suffered evil too.  In fact, it was the greatest evil of all time:  deicide, the killing of God in His human nature.  Yet He brought the greatest good out of it: salvation for all humanity.  The pattern is repeated in our lives.

Somebody once wrote:  "All men are born to live; one man was born to die."  As we look at Christ in the creche during this Christmas time, it is worthwhile to remember that religious artists over the centuries have often painted the birth of our Lord with a crucifix hanging in the manger.  In other cases, the baby Jesus is wrapped in burial clothes (see right).  This is precisely to illustrate the key part of His mission on Earth.

Nothing has changed in 2,000 years.  God still allows suffering in some circumstances because He's capable of making a greater good come from it, as long as we cooperate with His plan.  We might never see that good.  In fact, most of the time we don't see it.  It can frequently take the form of grace brought down from Heaven thanks to someone patiently offering up their suffering.  This is extremely powerful.  Countless souls can be given the grace of repentance and conversion if you offer up your sufferings patiently in order to obtain grace.  Don't let your suffering go to waste. 

Follow St. Paul's example:  "I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church." (Col 1:24)  Many Protestants don't understand this verse.  What could possibly be lacking in Christ's suffering?  Catholics and Protestants agree that Christ's sufferings were more than sufficient and complete to expiate the sins of the whole world.  So what's missing?  Our sufferings are missing.  If you read the Bible, you'll realize that God doesn't want to carry out His will unilaterally.  He makes us partipants and cooperators in His plan of salvation.  Consider:
  • Christ is the true King of kings.  Yet, Christians are called a "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9) and are promised that they will reign with Christ (2 Tim 2:12).  So He lets us participate in His royalty and priesthood.
  • Christ is the true Teacher.  Yet, through the Holy Spirit, many Christians are given the gift of teaching in order to build up the bretheren (Eph 4:11).
  • Christ is the true mediator and advocate before the Father on behalf of humanity.  Yet, Christ mandates Christians to pray for one another and promises to hear our prayers (Matt 7:7-11; Matt 18:19; Matt 21:22).  We therefore participate in this role of mediator/advocate.  He goes as far as to make some grace conditonal on our efforts (Gal 6:9; James 4:3)
  • Likewise, Christ is the Holy Redeemer of mankind through His Cross.  But he asks us to cooperate in the redemption by uniting our suffering to His in order to bring down grace. That's the meaning of Colossians 1:24.  So please play your part!
Also keep in mind that God is still busy preventing lots of evil from occurring.  You never hear about those instances because they never happened.  You might have died in a car crash a couple of years ago, but God prevented it from happening so you never noticed. 

This past Christmas Day, we learned of one such instance where God prevented it.  Let us give thanks to Him.