The last time Pope Francis asked people to pray with him for some international crisis, the world-wide response was extraordinary and something like that could happen again.
Today “The Tablet” publishes the following letter from Fr Ambrose Walsh, retired priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff which has already been published in their on-line edition.
“The Pope has invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray with him at the Vatican on Sat. 7th. June. What if, in recognition of this graced initiative and as an expression of world-wide support for it, Muslims, Jews and Christians observed a Triduum of prayer that weekend?
“What if Muslim leaders called on all mosques to observe Friday, 6th as a day of prayer, Jewish leaders called on all synagogues to observe the same on Saturday, 7th and the Patriarchs of the ancient Christian Churches we saw gathered in the Holy Sepulchre last Sunday, called on all Christians to observe Sunday 8th in the same way?”
The Bible in Genesis, Chapter 18 and the Qur’an in Surah 11 relate the story of Abraham and Sarah receiving God’s messengers while encamped at the oak of Mamre. Both record Sarah’s amused incredulity at the idea of God being able to fulfil his promise of a progeny in her old age, the messengers’ rebuke and the assurance of God’s fidelity in the face of unbelief.
‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?” (Gen. 18, 14)
“Wonderest thou at the commandment of Allah? The mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, O people of the house!” (Surah 11,76)
Pope Francis’ invitation to the presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray with him in the face of an intractable human problem may bring a wry smile to the some faces. However, all those who call on the name of the God of Abraham would bring honour to his holy name by heeding the messengers’ gentle rebuke, and, before all the world, respond with the faith that nothing is too wonderful for God.
With thanks for your kind attention,
Ambrose Walsh (Fr.)