N’s* smile is large and full of life. Looking at her, you would never imagine that she comes from a country at war and that she lives in an environment of constant pressure and instability. A few weeks ago, we participated in a conference in Lebanon. I’ve returned home already, and she has also gone home to the challenging reality of her country.
N* shared a moving poem challenging all of us not to turn away from what her country is going through, and not allow ourselves to become indifferent to the suffering of her people.
The war in Syria has lasted six years! Six years of confusion and suffering, mixed with pain, disorientation, violence, and unfair political and economic practices. Six years of fleeing through the deserts, abandoning sinking ships, and experiencing unbridled hate and renewed hope.
Over these past years we have been touched by the cry of Mosul, the tears of Afghanistan, the violence in the Congo, the conflicts in Sudan, and the suffering in so many other places. We share the struggle of these dear people who stay in their country despite such difficult circumstances, and we suffer with the many who desperately flee their country searching for a place of safety. In the midst of this chaos we share food, medicine, clothes, and hope. We learn together, and we announce God’s salvation and celebrate His kingdom, which is already among us! We are messengers of peace and reconciliation, called to turn the other cheek and offer our last warm garment. We cannot align ourselves with any position other than what is inspired by grace, by Jesus’ sacrifice, and by the example He has left us. The Church should also be a place of hospitality and refuge.
N* decided to stay in her country through the war, but millions of people have had to leave. Both those who have stayed and those who have left need our support, our prayer, and the Church’s commitment, which should be a living sign of God’s love and compassion.
“Who will go for us? Where is the Church of Jesus Christ?” May God help us to be an answer marked by love and solidarity, announcing His Salvation in the midst of life’s most difficult and challenging circumstances.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 3:3-5)