When I wrote my last blog on the initiative of Pope Francis to invite President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine and President Shimon Peres of Israel to join him in prayer at the Vatican, the date had been announced as June 6. Later that date was changed to this coming Sunday, June 8. For us, that is the Solemnity of Pentecost. What better gift could we ask from the Holy Spirit on that day than the gift of peace for the Middle East and especially between Israel and Palestine?
I am sure the Rabbi and the Imam who will share this day of prayer with the Holy Father and the two presidents will be equally intent on invoking the gift of peace from the Almighty that this day of prayer will bear much fruit. The main point of my last blog bears repeating. When believers pray to God for peace, they are recognizing God’s power as the often overlooked or ignored source of lasting peace.
One response to my last blog asserted that I had written a screed against President Obama and Secretary Kerry. I did not. It was they who announced that they were pulling back their efforts to offer political solutions because their efforts, in their judgment, have borne no fruit. And that is true. It is just at the moment that political leaders recognize their limits and become discouraged that men and women who know the power of prayer can exercise their untiring hope for peace by a renewed commitment to prayer for peace.
In these days of the Novena to the Holy Spirit leading up to Pentecost, I invite one and all to join me in daily prayer that the Holy Father’s invitation might be a new first step that will make room for the Holy Spirit to guide political and civic leaders to find the concrete means to advance the cause of peace, freedom and security for all nations and all people in the Middle East.