Jerusalem Prelate Says God Can Work Miracles Even in 'Incurable' Conflict
JERUSALEM, DEC. 10, 2012 (Zenit.org).-
Being a Christian in the Holy Land is not a simple coincidence -- it's a
vocation, says Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem. And for
Christians to stop their exodus from the land of Jesus' birth, there
must be lasting peace, the prelate affirms.
To stop the Christian
population from dwindling, Bishop Shomali told the charity Aid to the
Church in Need, prayer is the only solution, because the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "incurable" and requires God's help.
Describing how Palestinian Christians suffer from the same problems
affecting all those living in the Palestinian territories, such as lack
of work and restrictions on movement, the 62-year-old bishop said the
situation in the town of Christ’s birth is particularly dire: "In
Bethlehem, people suffer on welfare. Thirty percent of young people have
"However," he added, "the more pilgrimages there are, the more the
tourist industry functions, and then the more work there is to be had.
“Last month for example, there were several thousand pilgrims."
"Peace creates a very positive atmosphere," Bishop Shomali reflected.
"Without it, there is insecurity and the economic situation becomes
precarious. Then, work must be created."
Called to witness
Echoing Benedict XVI's exhortation "Ecclesia in Medio Oriente," the
bishop declared that Christians in Israel and the Palestinian
territories are called to be witnesses to their faith.
"Spiritual encouragement and holding on to faith are of the greatest
importance because being Christian in the Holy Land is not issuing from a
simple coincidence -- it is a vocation," he said. "If the Christians
consider it a privilege to be born in the Holy Land and have a testimony
of faith to share, they will be motivated and this spiritual motivation
is worth more than all material motivations."
Bishop Shomali also stressed that only God can provide the lasting peace the region needs.
"I continue to say to my pilgrims that in human terms there is no
solution for the Israeli-Palestinian problem, for the nature of the
problem is ideological," he explained. "And so, in this Year of Faith,
we must know that nothing is impossible for God. No, nothing is
impossible for God.
“In general terms we pray when we cannot do for ourselves the things we want to do.
“For example, if I am suffering from an incurable illness, I ask God to help me, and I know that God can perform miracles.
“And so, this conflict is incurable and that is why we must believe
that prayer can attain peace, despite all appearances, for God can
surprise us as he often has in the history of the Church and in the
history of humanity."
Al-Bushra Note: Please see information about our next pilgrimage to the Holy Land, April 15-25, 2013.
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