Friday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(Colossians 1:15-20; Luke 5:33-39)
Pope Francis has asked everyone in the world to fast and pray tomorrow (Saturday) for peace. His immediate motive is the civil war in Syria which continues to take a terrible toll of life and welfare. The conflict pits not only the government against a large segment of the population but also the dominant Muslim faction against religious minorities such as Christians. Already there are over one and a half million Syrian refugees outside the country with millions more displaced within.
It is only right to ask how Christ can be called the “fullness” of life and “peace” as heard in the first reading today from the Letter to the Colossians when such atrocities as the Syrian war occur with frequency. Of course, the world often chooses not to follow Christ thus bringing on itself the dreadful consequences reported daily in the media. More importantly, however, Christ is present today working in myriad ways not least of which are good people’s efforts which Pope Francis is pleading to become organized and directed.
Christians traditionally fast by not eating between meals and taking meat once a day. Such an effort tomorrow together with concerted prayer – the Eucharist if possible – will change us into more peaceful people. It will also prompt the war-makers to take stock of their options in search of non-violent means to realize their goals.