Christianity is all about good news. The good news is that in Jesus we have a good shepherd who guides us with great love, mercy and wisdom through this life. When this life reaches its end, he will save us from death and eternal oblivion by bringing us through to the pastures of our heavenly homeland.
For all this, he only asks that we live by the New Commandment that we heard in last Sunday’s gospel: “Love one another as I have loved you. The way that you will be known as my disciples is by your love for one another.”
This New Commandment is not without challenges that affect our comfort zone and calls us to a pro-active concern for those less well off than ourselves. Perhaps those neighbours that are the least well off are the unborn who have been deprived of their right to life and may be killed in horrific circumstances when they are unwanted. If you feel prompted by the Spirit, the following is a link to a graphic, upsetting video that shows an abortionist picking through the remains of an aborted baby https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__FbiZ-ZdZo This happens to about 50 million unborn babies each year worldwide.
If you feel moved to do something about this, visit this link: http://prolifecampaign.ie/main/celebrate-the-8th/
The New Commandment also impacts on the concern we should have for persecuted Christians. This is a recently update about Syrian Christians from AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED.
According to UN mediators the two-month-old “cessation of hostilities” is “hanging by a thread” following yesterday’s deadly air strike on al-Quds hospital in Aleppo which left at least 17 dead. We pray for peace throughout the entire world, but especially for the people of Syria, who have endured so much suffering.
For the population of Al Qaryatayn, in central Syria, they are faced with devastation and ruins following the town’s liberation from Daesh (ISIS) earlier this month. Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who oversees pastoral work in the area, personally witnessed the damage caused by the Islamic terrorist group.
Speaking to ACN he said, “When I managed to visit the town with our Catholic brothers on Friday I was shocked by the extent of the devastation. Many houses have been completely or severely damaged during the fighting.” The Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church explained, “It was especially painful to see how the churches had been wilfully defiled by Daesh. Both the Syriac Catholic Saint Elian monastery and our Syriac Orthodox church had been deliberately desecrated. Our church was even more severely damaged than the monastery.”
Patriarch Ignatius estimates that about 40% of Syria’s Christians have now left the country and fled to the neighbouring countries or to the West. He said, “I have no illusions. Most of them will not return. If it goes on like this, we Christians in Syria will disappear, just as we have almost disappeared in Iraq.”
But despite all the suffering and damage inflicted on his country, Patriarch Ignatius remains hopeful for the future and thanked ACN and you, our benefactors, for continuing to show compassion and generosity to Christians who are determined to remain in their homeland.
“We are very grateful to Aid to the Church in Need for adopting this approach and helping people on the spot. I hope that more organisations will follow this example.”
Your help is providing essentials such as food, water, shelter and allowing the Church to continue its pastoral work. Thank you again for your generosity.
One can contribute to AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED through this link: http://www.acnuk.org/donate2.php?utm_campaign=Syria+-+If+it+goes+on+like+this%2c+we+Christians+in+Syria+will+disappear&utm_source=acn&utm_medium=email