It’s Palm Sunday, another holy day for Egyptian Coptic Christians. The Liturgy is packed for worship. Then terror strikes and people die. Rinse. Repeat.
New Year’s Day. Christmas Day. If it’s a holy day, terror will come.
Beheadings, drive-by shootings, suicide bombings- this is part of the risk these Christians take every time they step foot into their churches. Yesterday’s attack saw at least 44 people killed and over 100 injured. Islamic militants spare no one when carrying out their terror. Babies, children, women, men, the elderly- they all die.
This is life for the Christians which make up 10% of the predominantly Muslim population in Egypt. And let me be clear, these Islamists won’t be satisfied until they have reached their goal of wiping out the entire Christian population in Egypt.
What amazes me is the courage these Christians have to continue worshiping publicly. Most of us, knowing that there was a good chance of a terrorist attack, would probably just stay home. Why would I risk my life, or those of my children?
Not the Coptic Christians. No, they risk their lives because they truly believe. They are willing to give it all up for Christ. They are willing to die for their faith- to be martyrs for Christ.
Christians with this conviction, who live under constant threat of death, can be found in Kenya, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Indonesia and many other countries, especially those where Christians are a minority.
Where does that leave us Christians in the West? Do we believe like our Christian brothers do in Egypt? Some of us can’t even commit to driving 10 minutes for Mass once a week. Some of us get upset if the homily is 5 minutes too long and we’ve missed the opening kick-off for the big game. Some of us refuse to go if there’s no crying room, or if there isn’t free babysitting provided. We have lots of excuses, don’t we?
However, if the Coptic Christians, who face the biggest risk possible- the risk of death- can make their way to Church to worship, then so can we. Let the sacrifice of the Coptic Christians be an example and an inspiration to us all. Let us keep in them in mind the next time we are too bothered to make it to Mass.
Let us pray for all those in the world who are persecuted for their faith, especially during this Holy Week.
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