By Peggy Weber
Photos courtesy of Catholic News Service
This week I have a few concerns.
One is that I have eaten too much ice cream this summer and gained back the weight I had lost in order to look “good” for my daughter’s wedding.
Another is that I need to organize my Tupperware cupboard.
I also want to exercise more, pray more and be a better person.
How lucky am I!
Just listing these things makes me feel ridiculous. I know a healthy lifestyle is important but right now God is saying, “Seriously, Peggy! Look around you!”
God is right, as usual.
I am struck, most especially by the refugee crisis in Syria and Afghanistan that has spilled into Europe.
On August 27, 59 men, 8 women and four children — all refugees believed to be from Syria — were discovered in the back of an abandoned truck in Austria. Police believe they suffocated and had been dead at least two days before they were found. The smugglers had left the truck by the roadside with those seeking a better life locked inside.
Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna,president of the Austrian bishops’ conference, said, “Such refugee suffering should awaken us, like a bolt from the blue, to the need for more generous attitudes and courageous decisions. The joint handling of the refugee tragedy in the face of such inhumanity is a test for European values.”
“My sympathy is with those who’ve suffered this imaginably agonizing death, and I cannot find words for the contempt for human life shown by the traffickers,” the cardinal said.
And just yesterday, I stared at a picture of a young child who drowned while his family attempted to reach the Greek island of Kos. It is reported that thousands of people have died as they flee their violent and war-torn homes.
Turkish media identified the boy as three-year-old Aylan Kurdi and reported that his five-year-old brother had also met a similar death. Both had reportedly hailed from the northern Syrian town of Kobani, the site of fierce fighting between Islamic state insurgents and Kurdish forces earlier this year.
We cannot ignore this suffering.
What can we do? Pray. Pray. Oh, and Pray.
We also can provide financial support to Catholic Relief Services and other agencies who support refugees. We can see what we can do for refugees in our own area.
I will cut back on my ice cream consumption. I will try to exercise more. However, most especially, I will look around each day and thank God for the life I have and try and figure out how I can do more for others.