Turning to the Lord in Prayer for our Sisters and Brothers in Egypt

(CNS photo/Katie Breidenbach)

The news of the latest attack on Christians in Egypt is still breaking, but this much we know: At least two dozen Coptic Christian men, women and children were killed and dozens more wounded today when a team of gunmen opened fire on their bus which was on the way to a monastery. This follows the bombing of churches in Cairo on Palm Sunday, which itself only added to the wave of violence against Christians seen in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East in recent times.

Our response to this most recent atrocity is to turn to our Lord Jesus Christ, whose eternal love triumphs over suffering and evil and turns the darkness of death into the dawn of new life. We pray that the God of all compassion grant the departed eternal rest, light and peace, and that he heal and comfort the wounded. We ask also that the Lord who is our refuge to grant us and all the Church and all people of good will his Spirit of strength as we endure unjust violence and persecution and work for peace.

The people attacked today were killed and wounded simply because they are Christian. But whether it is Christians in Egypt or innocent young people at a concert in England or travellers at an airport in Fort Lauderdale, we are all one human family. We are all in this together and we must all stand together in solidarity against such violence and evil.

During his visit to Egypt last month, Pope Francis said at an International Peace Conference organized by the Grand Imam there, “We have an obligation to denounce violations of human dignity and human rights, to expose attempts to justify every form of hatred in the name of religion, and to condemn these attempts as idolatrous caricatures of God: Holy is his name, he is the God of peace, God salaam. . . . Let us say once more a firm and clear ‘No!’ to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God. Together let us affirm the incompatibility of violence and faith, belief and hatred. Together let us declare the sacredness of every human life against every form of violence, whether physical, social, educational or psychological.”

We may think that as mere individuals, we cannot do much, but as a sign of our own solidarity and communion with those who are suffering, we can look for opportunities to speak out, to awaken consciences and urge a change of heart. At the very least, we can persevere in prayer. Let us pray for the gifts of the Spirit to strengthen us and also to touch the hearts of all to stop the violence and so that toleration and genuine peace reigns in every land.