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Tsunami: The Gods At War

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Some of you must be familiar with the movie  “The  Gods Must Be Crazy”.  An empty Coke bottle dropped by a passing pilot was found by a man in the Kalahari  desert in south Africa and became the source of an international physical comedy.  The pilot could never have drempt the extent to which the man’s life in the Kalahari  desert instantaneously turned around by this ‘mystical’ object. The  movie also upholds the romantic notion that tribesmen are wiser than civilized people in many respects.

As the world tried to to come to grips with the extensive damage wrecked by the  Tsunami, rescue workers and reporters on the ground say the  earth is still up in arms. Those who survived this event and are still around, including  those  who have no faintest idea of the devastation wrought by the wave, are wrangling that God has part in it.  It looks as if there was a war on between gods of different  faiths.
A few fiery preachers from the worst hit areas have shouted shrill: “This happened because the Islamic nations  are  negotiating with the “Infidels.” However, they had no objection to the fidelity  of  the “infidels” to their exemplary generosity in coming to the aid of their  devastated faithful. It is not the first time that people have accused and  denounced the West by day and consumed its bounties  by night. 
In  Sri Lanka, where Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam have coexisted for long, and sometimes in a precarious balance, there seems to be a shared belief that the primary reason for the  tragedy is divine fury directed against  a society whose changing economy is feeding and  breeding corruption and greed. Many say “It is a lesson from God and a reminder  to live the right way.” Some Buddhists who were convinced did not mince  their words as they  declared, “The carnivorous Christians have  killed many animals”, that’s why on the next day of ‘poya’, the full  moon day, holy for Buddhists, the angry god has inflicted his  punishment. The self-righteous others explained the event saying, “because so many people ate meat and consumed alcohol on Christmas,  the angry god sent his wrath early next morning.” Some Christians had their own  apocalyptic version wherein they blamed others for the calamity.

However they pretend to have forgotten how some god-fearing Buddhists  went around burning down  the churches of ‘meat-loving’  Christians to defend the correctness of their  version of God. After all, when we  compare our virtues with the vices of others it all seems self-explanatory and makes us feel safe to blame others. 
The nature has neither mercy nor remorse. While our finite brain is incapable of sorting out the great puzzles of our sad history or that of a complex  mystery, we need not waste time naming and shaming the followers of other faiths.  This tragedy can help us to remind ourselves what the Lord has said “Not  everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the   one who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).  In other words, it  is not a question of whose faith is right and whose beliefs are wrong that  maters;  rather it is the type of fruit we bear that proves  the type of tree we  belong to. It is a question of our faithfulness to the Lord’s teaching at troubled times like  these that proclaims lauder than words Whom we belong to.
What does faithfulness mean? Faith is not a misty belief in some other kind  of a world. It is a concrete life-commitment to follow Christ. The journey could  be more or less easy and it could even be interrupted. Some may feel tired  and  rest a while: some may believe in the Master, but not repose their trust  fully in him as yet; they may not have the courage to take a certain step or to cross certain bridges. Jesus tells us that faith is capable of achieving what looks impossible to  human reason. It finds solutions for situations that appear totally and decisively out of control. 
Christ can help us to uproot the cultural and religious  barriers  of ignorance, pride, prejudice, arrogance and lack of desire to do what is within our reach.  For us the only faith principle is “Do to others what you expect  others do to you” (Cfr. Mt 7:12, Lk 6:31). Only then we would be prepared to hear what  the Lord has to say “‘Come, you who are  blessed by My Father, inherit the  kingdom prepared for you from the foundation  of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty  and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I  was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you took care of Me; I was in  prison and you visited Me …..   I assure  you: Whatever you did for one of the  least of these brothers of Mine, you  did it for Me” (Mt 25: 34 – 40).

If we fail to translate our faith into concrete commitments, we will  certainly make Tsunami tragedy a religious comedy as did an empty bottle of Coke in “The Gods Must be Crazy” became the source of a great family comedy.

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Author: Jossy DSouza – AMKCPS

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