Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mercy (continued)

Dear Readers,
Please add your comments to Grace’s response below. We hope this new format of posting
each writer’s response separately will enable you to join our conversation more easily. My response will appear next Wednesday. Until then, we look forward to hearing from you, Tziporah

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (The Gospel of Matthew 5:7)

I am grateful, Yasmina, for your words about the Prophet Mohammed, for I agree that misconceptions about him, his teachings, and his followers can only lead to fears and misgivings that create barriers where bridges are needed. Mohammed’s teachings about women will surely surprise many Christians, including some who fail to see that even the Apostle Paul (who is commonly viewed as misogynistic) admonished husbands to “love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) The concept of mercy lies, too, at the very heart of Christian teaching. For example, in the beloved Parable of the Good Samaritan, one’s neighbor is defined as “the one who showed mercy.” (The Gospel of Luke 10:37) Similarly, this biblical verse virtually mirrors the Hadith you cite: “There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others.” (James 2:13a) Our three religious traditions are different from one another in particularity. Yet, whether it is through Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed that our gaze is directed to God, we come to discover a universal truth that love of God and the manifestation of God’s love for us is not complete until we can express that love for one another, for all people everywhere, and, as Mohammed emphasized, for all of God’s creation.

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