What Jesus Might Tell The Pope Regarding Gaza
By Eileen Fleming
23 April, 2009
Pope Benedict announced that he would visit the Holy Land this May to pray "for the precious gift of unity and peace for the Middle East and for all of humanity," but he would not be going to Gaza.
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Vatican custodian of the holy sites stated, "This visit is aimed first and foremost at encouraging them to remain in this country."
Prayer without action is hypocrisy and faith without works is dead.
In November 2006, Father Manuel Mussalem, Pastor of Gaza's only Catholic Church of 200 faithful- who look to the Pope to speak for Jesus to them- penned on their behalf:
"Gaza cannot sleep! The people are suffering unbelievably. They are hungry, thirsty, have no electricity or clean water. They are suffering constant bombardments and sonic booms from low flying aircraft. They need food: bread and water. Children and babies are hungry...people have no money to buy food. The price of food has doubled and tripled due to the situation. We cannot drink water from the ground here as it is salty and not hygienic. People must buy water to drink. They have no income, no opportunities to get food and water from outside and no opportunities to secure money inside of Gaza. They have no hope.
"Without electricity children are afraid. No light at night. No oil or candles...Thirsty children are crying, afraid and desperate...Many children have been violently thrown from their beds at night from the sonic booms. Many arms and legs have been broken. These planes fly low over Gaza and then reach the speed of sound. This shakes the ground and creates shock waves like an earthquake that causes people to be thrown from their bed. I, myself weigh 120 kilos and was almost thrown from my bed due to the shock wave produced by a low flying jet that made a sonic boom.
"Gaza cannot sleep...the cries of hungry children, the sullen faces of broken men and women who are just sitting in their hungry emptiness with no light, no hope, and no love. These actions are War Crimes!"
Out of the 1.5 million humans in Gaza no more than 2,500 are members of Christian denominations. Their exodus is directly attributed to the ongoing occupation which has reduced the Christian population of the Holy Land from 20% of the total to less than 1.3% since 1947.
Rania Mikhail, 32, a student of English at the Holy Family School said, "We are happy that he is coming to Palestine, but what can he do for us? We want him to do something for Gaza, not only for the Christians, but also for the Muslims who are living in this prison. We would have liked him to come to Gaza since no one pays attention to what happens to us." 
Bassam Shahtoot, a member of the Nazareth Roman Catholic parish council, said: "We want the pope to come, but the timing is problematic because of the Gaza war where many Palestinians were killed. Some people are using this visit politically to polish Israel's image." [Ibid]
Jesus laid down the law to Christians in the Sermon on the Mount with the biblical injunctions to go visit the prisoners, comfort the weary, care for the ill and shelter the widow and orphan for what ever one does or does not do unto any other; they do it or not unto the Lord.
Hebrew Prophet's such as Amos sounded calls for justice and shone lights upon hypocrisy in high places where abuses of power manipulated, controlled and destroyed those without defense.
The prophets attempted to awaken the people to God's deep passion for justice in society and Amos aimed his accusations at the elite of Israel-most especially the teachers of the law:
"I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" - Amos 5:21-24
When Jesus threw the money changers out of the Temple, he was overthrowing the established order of buying one's way to God's heart.
Two thousand years ago the Cross had NO symbolic religious meaning and was not a piece of jewelry. When Jesus said: "Pick up your cross and follow me," everyone back then understood he was issuing a POLITICAL statement, for the main roads in Jerusalem were lined with crucified agitators, rebels, dissidents and any others who disturbed the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces.
The term Christianity was not coined until three decades after Christ walked the earth. Until the day of Paul, followers of Christ were called members of The Way; the way being what he taught!
Christ was never a Christian, but he was a social justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up [intifada in Arabic] for he challenged the job security of the Temple authorities by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God already LOVED them just as they were: sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Military Occupation.
What got Jesus crucified was disturbing the status quo of the Roman Occupying Forces of his time, by teaching the subversive concept that Caesar only had power because God allowed it and that God preferred the humble sinner, the poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under Roman Occupation above the elite and arrogant!
Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence was a contradiction of what Christ was all about. There have always been those Christians who spoke out against this corruption of scripture and they have been ignored, reviled, rejected, mocked, persecuted and maligned throughout time. There have always been Christians who have never abandoned the true teachings, such as the Quakers, Mennonites, some Catholics and Protestants who have been faithful witnesses to Christ by denouncing violence and caring for the poor.
There have also been Jews, Muslims, atheists, anarchists, secularists, rebels and revolutionaries who have lived lives that embody Christ; who have in fact done what Jesus actually taught-to be nonviolent, forgiving and love all of one's neighbors/every being-a most revolutionary concept indeed-and one too few who claim to be Christian ever achieve.
Every individual Christian is but one cell in the cosmic Body of Christ. "So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." -Romans 12:4
"Its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part [of The Body] suffers, every part suffers with it."-1 Corinthians 12:25-26
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and all the prophets said, "You will recognize the believers in their having Mercy for one another, and in their Love for one another, and in their Kindness towards one another; like the body, when one member of it hurts, the entire body hurts."
Might the Pope have a heart that pulls him to go to Gaza with ears to hear and eyes to see Jesus in all the people suffering there-be they Christian, Muslim or Jew-for the Bible tells us Jesus loves them all- and we Christians are to too!
Learn more and sign the petition to the Pope to go to Gaza:http://www.al-bushra.org/images/popetogaza.htm
Eileen Fleming, is the Founder of WAWA: http://www.wearewideawake.org/
Author "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory"
She produced "30 Minutes With Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" because corporate media has been MIA all during a Freedom of Speech Trial in Israel.