“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…”

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” November 7, 2011

Last week, my colleague at CNEWA, Fr. Guido Gockel, delivered a speech in Washington that looked at the problems of the Holy Land in a striking, thought-provoking way.

A snip:

When we look at the Holy Land from a political point of view, I don’t know what is happening. Recently a senator friend told me that the longer she is in politics, the less sure she is about what is true. What is true in the Holy Land? During the Palestinian Intifada, journalists sat comfortably in the American Colony Hotel reading the local papers from which they constitute their articles. Politicians are using the media for their own purposes.

However, from a biblical view I can see what’s going on. It is the battle between God and Satan, between good and evil.

I remember one weekend I came to my house in the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Hanina. A young man was accosted by an Israeli special unit. He was stripped and, although there was no evidence of anything, one of the officers killed the young man with a gunshot to the head. The next day, the papers reported that another suicide bomber had been stopped. On the following Sunday, I heard a gunshot at the checkpoint that was about 100 yards from my home. An 11-year-old schoolboy had been shot. He was lying on the ground still alive when they flipped him over with a robot to check for explosives, but found none. Five hours or so later, when the boy finally died, the ambulence that had been in attendence all the while was allowed to take him away. The next day, the news reported that another suicide bomber had been stopped. It turned out the boy was deaf and mute and thus had not heard the soldier who asked him to stop.

At that point I was filled with anger. I began to read the prophet Daniel and asked myself, “who can I call to stop this nonsense, this tit-for-tat?,” only to realize that there is no one who can halt it. At that point I understood the words of St. Paul: “It is not flesh and blood that we fight, but the principalities and powers of darkness in the heavenly places.”

The battle is much bigger than the Israelis, Palestinians and the world powers. And Satan wants the Christians out of the region.

Read the rest.

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5 responses to ““Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…””

  1. Thank you for posting this balanced perspective on the Holy Land Deacon Greg! I visited the Holy Land last year and met many faithful Palestinian Christians who all had similar stories to those told by Fr. Guido. You would think with all of the persecution that they would be bitter and violent but it is exactly the opposite. The Christians in the Holy Land are our only real hope for peace. Fr. Guido mentioned that the Christians of the Holy Land are not the target of the violence but that they just happen to be there. The Christians I met in the Holy Land are hurt and angry at Israel but they want nothing but peace and forgiveness. The Christians in the Holy Land do not condone any of the violence from Palestinian Muslims, rather they live at peace with their Muslim neighbors. They attend the same schools as the Muslims (many Muslims attend Catholic schools in Palestine), they work together, and they live in the same neighborhoods at peace with one another. In short, the Christians in the Holy Land are the only real bridge of peace left in the region. They need our prayers and support – though you will find many Christians and Catholics openly hostile to you for supporting anyone with the ethnic background of Palestinian.

  2. Deacon Greg- so moving, so powerfully moving. It reminds me that after two visits to Israel, I felt as if I knew less than I did before I got there. Having stayed in East Jerusalem, in the American Colony, having been dragged around the West Bank by my well intended, but young and hot-headed Zionist cousin – my head was spinning. And yet, one did not have to look hard to see that political and military solutions were being applied to distinctly moral problems.

    I remember walking down the street on the way to the AC Hotel and speaking to my friend on a cell phone. She was in LA, but once lived in Jersualem – her comment was that she feared for my life on that street. I never did, not once. I had no need to.

    I would like to read the rest but your link to read the rest is broken.

    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem indeed.

    [It should be working now…Dcn. G.]

  3. Deacon Greg – Thanks for posting this. As a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, I was at this event and had the chance to hear Fr Guido speak on several occasions last weekend. His insight into the dynamics of the situation in the Holy Land is unmatched and I believe the message he left us with was one of hope. Key to his message and the component that we Christians can contribute to easing the tension is teaching the parties involved about forgiveness.

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