With the recent martyrdom of Iraqi Catholics during Mass, the state of the Church in the Middle East has received more attention in the press during the past few weeks. Before our pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I had something of a curiosity about and concern for the Christians in the Middle East who are in danger for practicing their faith.
But it wasn’t until I lived in the Holy Land for two weeks that I felt solidarity with them. I realized that the difficulties facing Catholics in any part of the world are my concern. St. Paul reminds us:
- Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. (1 Cor. 12:22-27)
This is a basic tenant of our faith! Are you living it?
During our pilgrimage, we were privileged to have a private audience with His Excellency William Shomali, auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Of course, we wanted you to join us in the audience, so please enjoy the video below. Bishop Shomali is an excellent host, and presented us with a summary of his experience during the Middle East Synod of Bishops and of the Synod fathers’ final Message to the People of God (that means you).