By the Rivers of Babylon

Most of us are preoccupied with what is happening in Iraq and so I know that the sharing of God's Word this weekend must, in some way, incorporate this reality or go unheard.

I recorded these thoughts in the late evening of the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord.

Mary came from a long line of faithful people, humble people; not perfectly faithful and not perfectly humble, but close enough for God to never give up on them. He forgave and restored them as long as they admitted their failures and sought his support in their efforts to go forward.

Sin is so destructive! Pride, lust, vanity, hypocrisy, duplicity, the thirst for power and the abuse of power, the arrogance in assuming that God wears your uniform and inspires your armies when, in fact, every drop of blood shed in combat insults the Creator.

Whether Moslems, Christians or Jews, we all worship the same God. We are all sons and daughters of Abraham.

You know, Abraham came from Ur which is just north west of Kuwait and very close to the ancient city of Babylon which, in turn, is thought to have been within a few miles of the so called Garden of Eden where God infused the first human souls. The first knowers and lovers created in His own image.

The city of Babylon in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was, in 600 B.C., the largest and most cultured city in the world. It was the capitol of an empire that encompassed present-day Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan and parts of Egypt and Turkey.

A thousand years and countless wars later, the city of Baghdad flourished and, like Babylon before it, became renowned as a centre of culture, learning and trade. So rich were Babylon and Baghdad that they were also breeding grounds, sanctuaries and targets for unscrupulous predators from both within and without. Aggressors of all stripes assumed the endorsement of God under one or another of His names and went on to piously destroy, injure, enslave and kill his children. As always, it was the innocent, the poor and the helpless who suffered the most. They were disposable.

Psalm 137 brings us the voices of Hebrew slaves in Babylon; voices, which are to-day real and present as seldom before. "By the Rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept..." Let our prayers be with our brothers and sisters who this very day sit down on those same banks and weep in the presence of our God.

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