Posted by: Fr Chris | September 7, 2013

A busy week of news!

Glory to Jesus Christ.

Here in New Mexico, we had a sudden move by county clerks to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples. That has roiled the religious landscape to be sure.

Abroad, we have the deteriorating situation in Syria, and now  a) videos released that show the awful effects of nerve gas which both killed and seriously injured thousands and b) the unnecessary and deliberate attack on Maaloula, the last place where the Aramaic language of Jesus is spoken, and home to Christian families descended from the converts of the apostles. Also in Syria are people who trace their lineage directly to the children of St. Peter, as when he left Antioch he went to go to Rome, he left his wife and family behind for their safety. What will happen to them?

The same-sex marriage issue arose around the feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Basically, while being the Forerunner (or advance man) of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, he also upheld Jewish marriage laws, violated by King Herod. Our pastor, Father Brian Escobedo, pointed this out in the sermon on the feast day. While it is obvious that the Catholic Church will not accept same-sex unions as marriages, while happy to recognize the need for protection of all homosexual people as God’s children who deserve civil rights, there is now the worry that the Church will be put in the position of being forced to accept this. And that won’t happen, no matter how kind our Holy Father is.  I encourage all readers to go to this:  to get the answers to the questions and statements being made. It’s worth printing out and studying it so as to be able to give answers to people.

As for poor Maaloula, it shows how the jihadist part of the Syrian rebellion is going to be determined to destroy one of the last places where Christians lived easily alongside Muslims, Alawites, Druze, etc. The opposition predicted two years ago that if they did not have western support in removing the dictatorial regime of the Assad family, and western efforts to get Assad to quietly leave the government and emigrate, and that if the revolt turned into a long civil war, they would be joined by jihadists. And so it has gone, and now things are a disaster for all civilians. What will happen there? Will there be a discussion 40 years from now on how the West failed to stop a genocide throughout the region, as we discuss re: the Armenians, the Jews of Europe 1933-45, Rwanda, Kosovo? Will jihadists take over everywhere? Will the last remnant of Jesus’ disciples leave in a long messy exodus? Or will calmer heads prevail and put an end to this?

Prayer and fasting today in unity with the Pope and the many Orthodox, Protestant, and Muslim leaders who have joined him and asked their faithful to do so. May it bring insight to the Christian leadership to in turn speak to the world powers and the increasingly hapless UN. God have mercy on them, and on us for the West’s many failures in the Near East.  May God guide all their hands to a peaceful and just solution that will bring peace and also security for the Christians and the other non-Sunni Muslim minorities who live in this ancient land.

As of this writing, the Syrian army is trying to push out the rebel force and the  population, Muslim and Christian alike, are hunkered down.

The town before – crosses on the churches and shrines have now been shot off.

Jesus in glory above the town, before the attack.

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