We perform pilgrimage simultaneously on Earth

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We perform pilgrimage simultaneously on Earth

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader

News reports indicate that the General Command of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) on Monday, August 13, dispatched the first Christian military pilgrimage convoy to Palestine which enabled several members of the JAF to be blessed by visiting the holy places in Bethlehem, the birth place of Lord Jesus Christ, the City of Peace, Jerusalem, and the city of Annunciation, Nazareth. Head of the convoy Brig. Gen. Imad Haddad said that the visit coincides with the Islamic pilgrimage under way to Mecca.

This coincidence is impressive, yet it is not a strange model to the structure of Jordanian society and to the fabric of official and civil institutions. Pilgrimage draws people to God in the holy places and it is a time to seek forgiveness for sins committed. According to the Jordanian experience, it draws people together despite the different rituals relevant to prayer and Hajj in accordance with the sublime plurality in their respective countries.

We are all pilgrims on Earth as we move ahead towards the bright paradise, yet the sound, healthy and right path that can lead to that noble goal is the path of love, unity and solidarity.

These three values have nowadays a deeper and a profound significance. What has happened in our beloved homeland deepens our mutual love in the face of hatred, grudge, violence, murder and crimes. We are not creating national unity nowadays; we are rather further consolidating what has been achieved in this regard and jointly completing the march towards joint, positive and fruitful construction. We affirm our solidarity with the families of the beloved martyrs, with the families of the wounded, and with the children who have been gripped by fear. The question is: For how long will this go on?

As the JAF guard the border of the homeland, it is hoped that we also guard the minds of all human beings so that no extremist thought would penetrate the mind of anyone. The JAF is dispatching convoys of Christian pilgrims to Palestine and of Muslim pilgrims to Mecca which conveys a lessons stating that religion brings people together, never separates them, and that sound religious education is the basis for defeating demonic ideas.

May God protect Jordan, the country of holy pilgrimage par excellence, its wise King and people, as well as the Jordan’s military and security forces that will maintain our dear homeland’s impregnability.

abouna.org@gmail.com

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