Two buses and two tears

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Two buses and two tears

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

In one week, Jordan and fraternal Egypt exchanged messages of consolation and condolences, as well as expressed mutual support in the wake of two excursions made by two buses with some of their passengers proceeding on a long trip from Earth to Heaven.

The first bus was boarded by innocent children who wanted to take a trip called “adventure”. The mishap took place. It was followed by inspection committees as well as a calamity that befell the relatives, the school and the homeland as a whole. We say ‘there is neither power nor strength except by God.’ This mishap raises questions which philosophers and thinkers termed as "existential questions", which are mostly related to the dilemmas of life, the universe, humans, pain and destiny.

But the most complex question is ‘Why do children suffer?’ What is the divine wisdom behind inflicting pain on the children and the innocent people in particular. There are no satisfying answers to such questions. The limited human mind addresses theology and the Holy Books saying, “Give me a helping hand for I cannot solve all these dilemmas on my own. The faithful pray in houses of worship pleading God’s mercy upon the souls of the innocent martyrs, and seeking reasons to elucidate what happened and the sides that bear legal and moral responsibility. Yet, we look through the wreckage and say, what is the secret behind the suffering of the innocent people?

The second bus--which triggered Jordan’s King, government and people extension of condolences to the Egyptian leadership, people and Church--was heading to a nearby monastery in Al-Mina. This area is populated by farmers, the poor, and the hard working people who want to earn their living. These people have firm commitment to their faith which is free from fanaticism, hatred to the others including their civilized partners and brethren in worshiping the one God.

It was a short trip to visit the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor, a 6th century saint, who wanted to become a priest amid opposition from his parents. He said to them: "If you continue to pain me with your words, I will go to the wilderness and you will not see me again." Thus, fourteen centuries later, the good Copts go to the wilderness and the relatives never see them again, as terror was lurking beneath the surface. It is perhaps one of the dilemmas facing humanity, as there is need for the solidarity of the entire international community at the military, security and intellectual levels in order to eliminate the idea that “excluding the others implies attainment of noble goals.”

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