[COLUMN] Praying for the end of Israel-Gaza war


I am blessed and happy to be back from leading a Holy Land pilgrimage. I am happy because my group and I arrived home safely after nearly being caught in the middle of the Israeli-Gaza war. We left Israel for Dubai a few days before the initial Hamas attack. However, like everyone else, I am horrified and saddened to see the bombings and destruction of cities, villages, and above all, human lives, including those of innocent men, women, and children, in the news.

It feels surreal to me to witness in the news the bombings and destruction of human lives in Israel and Gaza. Just recently, my pilgrimage group and     I were peacefully visiting Holy Christian sites and experiencing the festive atmosphere of Jerusalem during the seven-day celebration of Sukkot (Feast of Booths, Festival of Tabernacles). Thousands of Jews from various parts of the world were also there for their Jewish pilgrimage to the Temple of Jerusalem, while Palestinian merchants were busy selling Holy Land souvenirs, gifts, and other products. Life seemed normal, unaware that Hamas was preparing for this horrifying attack on Israel.

When will these decades-long conflicts between    Israel and Palestine come to an end? How can we achieve peaceful resolutions amidst the deep-seated hatred and anger between Israelis and Palestinians? How will the international community and world leaders contribute to putting an end to this war? What will be the global repercussions on our economy and society resulting from this conflict?

For now, our task is to pray earnestly for the end of this war and the loss of human lives, and to advocate for a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine. We pray that both countries recognize each other as independent states, putting an end to unjust

preoccupation and unequal economic well-being.  We should also pray for good political leadership in both nations, free from corruption, savagery, hatred, and greed.

In view of this horrific war that affects us all, citizens of this world, and the Scripture Readings this Sunday, let us join together in reciting and meditating on these prayers written by Anne M. Osdieck:

Prayer 1:

We are running fast to your mountain, Lord.

Wipe away tears from our eyes. Take away the fog of bias, of war, hunger, homelessness, and the web of destructive chaos that obscures your presence.

Oh Lord, you have called us all here. Help us care for one another and for the home you have granted us, so that we may all partake in your abundant feast of rich food and choice wines.

Prayer 2:

O Christ, your father has prepared a banquet for us.

He has set the table, prepared the fattened calf, and

provided us with the finest wine. He invites us, each

and every one, to this table of plenty.

Oh Jesus, what shall we wear? Will you be our garment?

May we clothe ourselves with your mind and your heart. Then we can relish the morsels, savor the wine, and taste your love, which is the most desired of all sustenance.

Let us aid you in nourishing all those we encounter

with everything they will ever need.

Sending warm blessings to all!

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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