What remains of a village in Israel - Photo:canva.com
Statement of Christian Solidarity with Jews and Muslims at this time of crisis in the Middle East
This month I had the opportunity to address the Synod Diocese of Parramatta. I encouraged my fellow Catholics to turn outwards to the world in compassion and love, especially to those who are suffering. I referenced the current crisis in the Middle East and gave two reasons for us to reach out:
1. Our Common Humanity:
Recently during a religious holiday, Hamas terrorists murdered more than a thousand Israeli citizens and took others hostage, innocent civilians, babies, youth, elderly, people going about their daily lives.
Today, the people of Gaza, repressed for decades, are currently without water, food, or power; 6,000 bombs have been dropped on them in the last week; more than a million people have been advised to vacate their homes within 24 hours or face the consequences; one of the strongest armies in the world is poised to make a land, sea, and air invasion; the outcome can hardly be less than genocide.
Israelis and Palestinians are both traumatized by these horrendous events. Our common humanity demands that we stand with victims of violence on both sides.
If the Middle East seems far removed from us, tremors from the events unfolding there are rumbling through Sydney. Our fellow citizens here have family, friends, and co-religionists there. They too are grieving, hurting, weeping, anxious, desperate. Our common humanity demands that we show them, Jews and Muslims, solidarity, care, and compassion. But do we know them? Have we contacted them, listened to their pain, held them?
2. The Story of One Man:
He is heir to the God - “Promised Land”; and an indigenous son of the soil; his ancestors knew slavery and exile; he was forced to flee his homeland as an infant; hustled out of his hometown as an adult; knew hunger, and thirst, and homelessness; was rejected by his own people; falsely convicted and murdered by a foreign regime outside his capital city; he is “Israeli”; he is “Palestinian”; his name is Jesus. And he is being crucified again. We, his followers, cannot be indifferent.
Rev Dr Patrick McInerney SSC is the Director of the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations in Blacktown, NSW.