Seeing people dying in a horrible quick fashion that is frightening, that makes us want to take action.
I'm sorry if that sounds too sharp to some ears. I'll concede it might deter Assad from authorizing further flights from airbases he contols to drop chemicals on civilians who do not favor his regime, but it also might draw us into a high stakes conflict with Russia, since Russia suspended an agreement of military cooperation between the US and Russia, since Russia is an ally of the existing Syrian regime. Additionally, while surgical strikes provide symbolic relief, no one even pleased with the US response, believes this limited action will result in the regime having a change of heart.
If we remember, back when war with Syria seemed inevitable in 2013, Pope Francis asked the Church to pray and fast for peace. Somehow, the U.S. need to go to war which seemed unavoidable, evaporated...overnight.
Perhaps it is time to make that request again, and this time, add alms giving in the form of each parish taking on a family. If the Pope asks our fellow Christians and Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters to each take on a family at each church, each mosque, each temple, we will be able to whittle that picture of endless despair down, and perhaps help prove there is another way to address "such relentless hate," by riding out to meet them. Problems aren't intractable just because they're difficult to resolve. Problems remain intactable because people refuse to be moved or to move. What is required is embracing the cross. Somehow, we have to know, if we are Catholic, everything always requires embracing the cross. Somehow, we have to know, peace isn't the merely absence of conflict. Anyone who ever had a silent fight knows how a house feels when two people aren't getting along. On a global scale, we can't know peace when we wilfully ignore suffering so as to "get along."
We can eliminate the humanitarian crisis by helping one family at a time, via one community at a time. Risk is always involved when we reach out to a stranger, to an other, whenever we offer love but to do otherwise, is indifference (which is the simplest path and what we've done as a world whenever we thought we could). We've tried indifference. It has lead to where we are now, with millions searching for room in the inn of the world, pictures of the dead and the dying and stories of suffering, waste and pain with no respite.
Here's some links to ways we can get involved.
Seven Ways to Help Syrian Refugees.
Petition your bishop, your pastor, and your friends to encourage everyone to do the same. As we prepare for Holy Week, we ought to ramp up our prayers, fasting and alms giving, storming Heaven, asking for the peace the world cannot give. If we show we are not living as this world would have us, but as the next, perhaps we can have better pictures and better stories to tell.
Fast as penance for all the pain we've created via neglect, indifference and not being willing to act,
and give alms, so they will know who we are.