By Fr. Ibrahim Faltas – Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land in Jerusalem
“He who harms a woman profanes God.” Pope Francis spoke these words during his homily at the Mass for the World Day of Peace, on 1 January.
I thought of these words as I read a recent UN report: since 7 October, two women have been killed every hour in Gaza, and women and children account for 70 percent of the deaths.
On Saturday, a pregnant woman was seriously injured during a bombing; doctors managed to deliver the baby while the mother died.
I thought back to the words of the Pope: “…profane God, because He was born of a woman.”
Mary Most Holy was the link between earth and heaven: she listened and accepted God’s will; she accepted the consequences; she was an attentive, discreet and suffering mother. What an example and what a model for all women, believers and non-believers, mothers and consecrated!
The Holy Father often calls us to respect the role of women both in the Church and in civil society.
I am convinced that women with their inner strength and dedication to their neighbour are indispensable for building peace in the world.
I see in women the determination of those who know no selfishness, those who care for every aspect of common life, those who wisely choose the good to improve themselves and their neighbour.
We must allow ourselves to be guided by the hearts of mothers and women who look at humanity with attentive and silent eyes, who offer their suffering for the good of others, who sense needs and anticipate them with complete dedication.
By the grace of God, I had my mother as an example of a woman of faith, who, in silence and sacrifice, dedicated her life to her children, her family, and the poor.
Women are capable of being weavers of peace; they do not resign themselves to evil; they seek to heal and protect; they know how to manage resources and relationships; they never let true love be lacking, the love that does not die of indifference or forgetfulness.
That love that the Lord will not fail that little girl in Gaza, born already an orphan, but with the strength drawn from her mother’s womb, who had welcomed and loved her before seeing her and being able to hold her in her arms.
Let us not forget these innocent victims—the dead and the survivors—and let us not forget the love of mothers and the strength of women.
Let us respect, protect, and defend the dignity of women to make this humanity better and to defeat hatred and violence.