Tag Archives: Hamas

not “all pray and no play”

29 Jul

In the dark and sickening days of the Gaza-Israel war (Hamas-Israeli conflict), it is good for me to remember being in the Holy Land with pilgrim-teachers, and laughing, eating, drinking, smoking and dancing with our friends.

In Madaba, Jordan, our friends (and their family and their friends) took us out drinking and dancing one Saturday night. They wanted to feed us with an evening feast of salads and meats and vegetables and on and on and on, but we had eaten dinner just an hour before they came to the hotel and dragged us off to the third floor restaurant overlooking the roundabout at the town’s center.

Singing and clapping and dancing, Americans and Jordanians, all believing Christians, under a spinning ball reflecting colored light onto the floor and our clothes and our faces! A local priest and a college professor each took the microphone away from the keyboard player that they had hired for our evening’s entertainment, so that they could sing some of their favorite Arabic dance tunes.

At the tables new wine bottles kept appearing as others kept disappearing. Nuts and humus were abundant, and, of course, there was the required hookah (water pipe) with its gentle, flavored (and legal!) tobacco.

1 Dancing and Hooka DSC_0237

And to Taybeh a few of us went to visit the brewery owned by our Palestinian Christian friends. For the sake of perspective, the village of Taybeh is but a few miles from the Qalandia Israeli military checkpoint where the most extensive and violent clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youth  have taken place in the West Bank. Members of the family that own and operate the brewery welcomed us, spread out appetizers and offered us a taste of as many of their beers as we liked, while walking us on tour and explaining the challenges of running a business in the West Bank that requires a regular supply of water. 0 Taybeh beer 04

I left the brewery with two cases of beer, twelve bottles each of their four most popular beers: dark, amber, golden and their yet-to-go-public “white” beer.

It lightens my heart to remember that our pilgrimage was not all pray, but included some play.

“open the school and let them in”

25 Jul

Holy Family School in Gaza, run by the Latin Catholic Church, now plays host to 800 refugees bedded down in classrooms and corridors.

0 Holy Family Gaza 01

The man who guards the school called the priest and immediately he said, “Open the school and let them in.”

Gaza’s Christians are a tiny and diminishing community of about 2,000 in a total population of 1.8 million. Today, there are only two active churches in Gaza and five Christian schools, although most of their pupils are Muslims. 0 Holy Family Gaza 02

Read the rest of the article: Gaza churches open doors to refugees from Israel offensive

hear our cry for mercy, O Lord

24 Jul

as we pray … 

0 1 Beit Jala three pilgrims 

  • for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas

 

  • for the resumption of humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza through Catholic Relief Services

 

  • for the Israeli innocents who live in fear of Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilian areas

 

  • for the Palestinian innocents who live in fear for their lives from air and ground attacks or suffer the humiliations of occupation

 

  • for the avoidance of excessive actions of hostility and indiscriminate punishment which can breed a whole new generation of terrorists

 

  • for the emergence of a viable and independent Palestinian state living alongside a recognized and secure Israel which will bring the peace for which majorities of both Israelis and Palestinians yearn

 

 

to break the spiral of hatred and violence by one word alone: the word “brother”

17 Jul

Many, all too many, of those children have been innocent victims of war and violence, saplings cut down at the height of their promise. 

 

Dear Presidents, our world is a legacy bequeathed to us from past generations, but it is also on loan to us from our children: our children who are weary, worn out by conflicts and yearning for the dawn of peace, our children who plead with us to tear down the walls of enmity and to set out on the path of dialogue and peace, so that love and friendship will prevail.

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I am profoundly grateful to you for accepting my invitation to come here and to join in imploring from God the gift of peace.  It is my hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of a new journey where we seek the things that unite, so as to overcome the things that divide. 

Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare.  It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict: yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities; yes to respect for agreements and no to acts of provocation; yes to sincerity and no to duplicity.  All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity.

 

History teaches that our strength alone does not suffice.  More than once we have been on the verge of peace, but the evil one, employing a variety of means, has succeeded in blocking it.  That is why we are here, because we know and we believe that we need the help of God.  We do not renounce our responsibilities, but we do call upon God in an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples.  We have heard a summons, and we must respond.  It is the summons to break the spiral of hatred and violence, and to break it by one word alone: the word “brother”.  But to be able to utter this word we have to lift our eyes to heaven and acknowledge one another as children of one Father.