Caring for people around us builds peace between us … it takes away the fear that leads to war


Caring for people around us builds peace between us … it takes away the fear that leads to war

Fourth Sunday of Easter – April 21, 2024

As we enter more deeply into Easter, we are still confronted by the images from Gaza: bombings, suffering, death and destruction.

Today is called “Good Shepherd Sunday” – a time when we encourage young men and women to consider a religious vocation.  However, it’s a good time to reflect on our common religious vocation, as Christians baptised into the priestly ministry of Christ: to care for one another.
I was inspired by this report from Gaza, currently being demolished by Israeli forces.

Amidst the bombs, blood and deaths, the Gaza residents are observing the holy month of Ramadan by praying inside a Christian church.  In a display solidarity Christians in Gaza City offered shelter to displaced Gazans in the Saint Porphyrius Church courtyard, News from Pakistan reported.  According to the website, the refugees from the war-ridden north Palestinian territory were greeted with “Marhaban” by the Christian community.  “The Christians took us in. We thank them for that, for standing by our side,” Mahmud Khalaf, a Gaza resident, told the website.  Khalaf also told that the Christian community is very cordial and became their ‘brothers’.  “They let us pray. It’s changed my view of Christians. I didn’t really know any before, but they’ve become our brothers,” the 27-year-old war refugee told.  He also added that it was initially very difficult to pray Allah inside a church, but they got accustomed to it as the Christians are helping them in prayers and their fasting.  “The Christians aren’t fasting, but they’re deliberately avoiding eating in front of us during the day. They don’t smoke or drink around us,” Khalaf added.  The church has sheltered more than 500 displaced war refugees and has offered them facilities to commemorate the holy month of Ramadan peacefullyInternational Business Times – Eid Al-Fitr: Gaza Muslims Pray in Christian Church as Israel Bombs the City .

Although people think of Church as primarily the place of encountering God, or keeping God happy, Church is really the place we come together to encourage and help each other. When we gather, we put flesh on the person of Jesus Christ and transforming our communities.

Most people with depression are not connected with a faith community.  See the following:
Psychology Today – “Spiritual But Not Religious” Is Associated With Depression
The Guardian – Materialism: a system that eats us from the inside out

In this way out lives – although not always easy – will always have meaning, a sense of belonging, and a certainty that someone is looking out for “me”.

By Gerard Conlan, OMI