This article omits a number of relevant facts. To begin with, Jerusalem and the land of Israel were given to David and the Jewish people by God 3,000 years ago. Despite invasions by Greeks, Romans, Persians and Muslims, they have never abjured their heritage. The Muslim Arabs have no right to the land or the city by virtue of conquest or conversion any more than they had a right to Granada, Tours or Vienna. Muslims have never been interested in freedom of worship in the area and are not now. Jerusalem is not as sacred to Muslims as to Christians and Jews. It is the third ranked city in Islam after Mecca and Medina. It owes its status because of a traditional belief, not supported either by the Quran or the Haditha, that Muhammad rode to a vision of heaven on his horse from the Dome of the Rock. The decision by popes to leave open the question of the city was correct for religious leaders but has no real relevance for civil authority. Finally, international cities have never worked out. The last time it was tried reputedly prompted a remark by Adolph Hitler in 1939 — “Who will die for Danzig?” The answer was the greatest conflagration the world has ever known, World War II.
Re: Cover, Jan. 7-13.
I could not believe the photo on the cover of the Jan. 7-13 issue of OSV Newsweekly. Bernard Law? This is the man who is the face of the clergy sex abuse scandal in America. If it were not for Pope John Paul II whisking him off to Rome, Law likely would have been arrested and possibly incarcerated. I’m disappointed that, with this cover, you chose to remind us of the damage he has done. God is merciful, but he is also just.
— Nicholas Donofrio, Fort Myers, Florida
Death of a friend
Re: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” (Openers, Jan. 14-20).
Beautiful article you wrote. I truly believe your friend is now in the midst of our loving Triune God. Wishing you and yours a joy-filled, peace-filled and abundance of blessings in the new year and always.
— Vickie Rosker, via online comment
The Lord’s Prayer
Re: “Lord’s Prayer” (In Brief, Dec. 24-30, 2017).
I’m deeply troubled by the proposal to change the words in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation,” when that is exactly what the Greek text says. When we are faced with a difficulty in interpreting a passage of Scripture, humility requires that we recognize that it is our understanding — not God’s word — that needs adjusting.
First, there is a distinct difference between tempting and leading into temptation. “God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one” (Jas 1:13). However, God did lead his own Son into temptation by Satan. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Mt 4:1).
Second, the Greek word for temptation, peirasmos, is a broad term that originally meant a test or trial. It covers not only enticement to sin, but also the hard testing of severe affliction which can make opportunities to take an easy, unlawful way out seem very appealing. God is willing to spare us these severe tests, but we must ask.
In either case, humility and common sense lead us to recognize our own weakness and pray to be spared hard testing that might tempt us to stumble. To those who will take Christ’s words at full face value, the Lord’s Prayer is a call to humility and an offer of mercy.
— Margret Meyer, Jacksonville, Florida
Re: “New year, new habit: Read your Bible” (In Focus, Jan. 7-13).
What a terrific article! The larger themes of the Bible’s message must be understood even as the student focuses on the stories — the grand plan through the ages culminating with the arrival of Jesus.
— Pat Sonti, via online comments
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