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One With the Suffering People of Syria
God of Mercy, hear the cries of your people.
How long, O God, must our Syrian sisters and brothers suffer injustice?
How long must they be casualties of hollow wars?
With heavy hearts, we watch the aftermath
Of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria.
With numbing grief, we learn of scores of people, including children,
Who died after plumes of toxic gas fell upon them, like a “winter fog”—
Many convulsing, choking, gasping for air, and foaming at the mouth.
They are not numbers, but names, members of a family, our human family.
They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and grandparents.
They are the face of your Son—crying out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Give comfort to the father who carried his lifeless little girl,
Her lips blue, her dark curls brushing closed eyes, wrapped in a blue sheet.
Give comfort to the mothers and fathers as they lay to rest their children in makeshift burial sites.
Give comfort to those who helplessly watched as family members and neighbors
Fell like leaves to the ground, gasping for air, struggling to breathe, pleading for help.
Give comfort to the doctors, nurses, and rescue workers
As they provide care and treatment to those who survived the attack.
Give comfort to those who live in perpetual fear, to those who are internally displaced,
And to those who have fled to neighboring countries as war refugees.
Give strength to those who are making a desperate attempt
To reach Europe by land or sea, with many dying tragically along the way.
God, as shocking as this unacceptable massacre is,
It is but one episode in the long nightmare of Syria’s civil conflict.
It is time that the international community stands up and says, “Enough.”
We join with Pope Francis and “appeal to the conscience
of those who have political responsibilities, locally, and internationally,
To put an end to this tragedy and to bring relief
To that dear population which for too long has been overwhelmed by war.” Amen.
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