Update Twelfth Sunday Ordinary Time 2013 Who Do You Say That I Am ?

After posting this I came across this post from Clerical Whispers blog which builds on the contents of the letter quoted in my post below earlier today and adds an important perspective and opinion on the Syrian war from the leaders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches opening synod in Beirut today.
Scripture Readings For Sunday's Mass are here

Various reflections on the readings from St Louis University Centre for Liturgy are here including this one from Fr. Ron Rolheiser,

The war in Syria has preoccupied the thoughts and prayers of many for the last three years. All prayer seems hollow and deciding the right action to take by the international community is not an easy one. The anguish of so many people is raw, and all I can do is pray for the killing to stop.

 I'm sharing this heartbreaking letter below , titled Peace With A Broken Heart below was written by the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, Syria, Monsignor. Samir Nasar, to the Pontifical Council For The Family. Source here 

The more talk there is in Geneva II about peace in Syria, the more the war becomes violent and the suffering great…
We're talking about a typical game, in which each side tries to improve its position on the ground before reaching the final solution. This scenario does not take into account the poor people caught in the crossfire… We are in the third year of this global conflict, sinking into ever greater misery, in the face of the impotence of the United Nations.
This heavy ordeal is crushing THE FAMILY, the basic cell that has withstood the violence… Weakened by the war and by insecurity, the family can neither save nor protect. The Syrian family looks with sadness on the hesitant silence and the indifference of the international society faced by this cruel unending tragedy.
The father of a family, who has lost everything, came to the church complaining loudly: “I no longer have a home. I’ve lost everything. My family is living scattered with different cousins. I no longer have a job. I'm hungry. I'm sick and without medication. What does the Church do for me? You are not able to protect me, to find me shelter, and you can’t get me a visa so that I can leave the country…”
“I'm like a beetle that’s in the bottom of a cup and can’t get out; it goes around in circles until it dies at the bottom of its hole. That’s what I am”, he said this man as he left the archdiocese with deep anger.
Many Syrians are like this man. They go round and round at the bottom of their hole. All the doors are closed. They face their fate, immersed in accusing silence.
A mother, fleeing the bombing of her village, with four children, was forced, after five hours of walking in the mountains and valleys, to abandon the two youngest on the street. When she got to Lebanon, exhausted, to a place of a refuge, with the two oldest children, she was crying over her two youngest abandoned ones, because she was not able to bring them. She had to choose between the death of all and the survival of only one part. A terrible choice and a cruel situation. How long will this war last? How can we imagine the pain of this mother, forced to abandon two of her children in order to save the other two? Who would better comfort this broken heart than Our Lady of Sorrows? This harrowing scene joins that of Mary at the foot of the Cross.
At a meeting of the Bishops of the Middle East, listening to the pain of all these countries, the Apostolic Nuncio evoked ecumenical suffering that unites all Christians of the Orient in the same ordeal. A difficult, painful and providential path of unity. And the disappearance of our two bishops, since April 22nd, 2013, leaves us aghast.
The long list of refugees in the Middle East, which gradually joined by over six million Syrian refugees, is becoming longer. Ecumenism of the exiles without labels, Christians and Muslims… Could this suffering lead to reconciliation between the religions and the peoples of the Middle East? IS IT POSSIBLE TO SEE LIFE AND PEACE WITHOUT THE CROSS?

June 2013
+ Samir Nassar
Maronite Archbishop of Damascus
Who Do You Say I Am?

In the blessed lonely stillness of the night
When neither darkness nor sleep provide
A safehouse for those who would hide
From truth's confrontational guise:
Who do you say I am?

In the maddening rush of the day
When worlds spin and nerves squeal
When big names play big games
And war's lasting image of all that's gone wrong
Is a tiny left footprint
In a blood-muddied field:
Who do you say I am?

In the unfathomable reaches of the sea
Where no earthly spirit can dwell
Myth and mystery and meaning
Wash over swell upon swell
Then out of the blue a whisper
Like a beacon of light in a storm
The question that echoes down centuries:
Who do you say I am?

Amid tyranny, murder and outrage
Avarice, betrayal and war
The enduring words of the Master forge
The same keen edge as before
Cutting through masks of deceivers
Through evil, corruption and sham
The question as probing as ever:
Who do you say I am?


I come to you today laden with emptiness
No ready answers to the hows or whys
No deposits of knowledge to soothe the weeping
All too deep the wounding and the sighs.

I come in sorrow,
Though with nothing proffered
As balm for the rawness of your pain
But I pray that in the emptiness I offer
A kernel of beyondness will remain

That in its own good time will find a surface
And blossom in the springtime of its reign.

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