Pater Frans van der Lugt herdacht

Vermoord in Homs (2014)

Overweging Preek - gepubliceerd: zaterdag, 6 april 2019 - 1239 woorden
Pater Frans van der Lugt herdacht
overhandiging van het boek aan een broer van pater Frans
overhandiging van het boek aan een broer van pater Frans

In Am­ster­dam is op zater­dag 6 april her­dacht dat vijf jaar gele­den pater Frans van der Lugt werd vermoord in het Jezuïetenhuis in Homs. Hij bleef in de stad, bij zijn mensen, ondanks de oorlogs­si­tua­tie, wetend van het gevaar. Zij leven was gewijd aan het bij elkaar brengen van mensen en tot een­heid brengen en er zijn voor de zwaksten in de samen­le­ving.


Zondag­avond is de Kruis­punt uitzen­ding op de tele­vi­sie aan pater Frans gewijd (23.10 uur).
Deze zater­dag was er - na een lunch­con­cert - een her­den­kings­bij­een­komst in de naast de Krijt­berg - de kerk van de Jezuïeten - gelegen Doops­ge­zinde kerk, die werd geleid door pater Jan Stuyt s.j.

De her­den­king

Provinciaal Johan Verschueren opende de bij­een­komst met een groet waarna een bood­schap werd voor­ge­le­zen van de generale overste, die op dat moment in Homs was voor de her­den­king. Cilia van der Horst pre­sen­teerde haar nieuwe boek ‘Wie ben jij, o Liefde’ met uit het Arabisch ver­taalde teksten van pater Frans van der Lugt en Jan de Volder (foto onder) ver­telde over de humane corridors, die door Sant’ Egidio zijn opgezet om vluch­te­lingen een goed en veilig heen­ko­men te bie­den. In Essen in Duits­land is een huis naar pater Frans genoemd waar vluch­te­lingen uit ver­schil­lende lan­den sa­men­le­ven: het Abuna Frans Haus. Pater Lütz Müller ver­telde erover. Twee vluch­te­lingen gaven daarna nog een ge­tui­ge­nis over wat pater Frans en de humane corridors voor hen had­den betekend. Afgesloten werd met een anima­tiefilmpje over het leven van pater Frans en beel­den van de tocht die in 2017 door Neder­land is gedaan om pater Frans te gedenken die zelf zulke tochten door Syrie orga­ni­seer­de, waaraan duizen­den jon­ge­ren hebben deel­ge­no­men.

Na de her­den­kings­plech­tig­heid volgde de Eucha­ris­tie­vie­ring in de Krijt­berg (H. Fran­cis­cus Xaverius) aan het Singel, waarbij ik de volgende homilie heb gehou­den.



Dear brothers and sisters,


They brought Him a woman
caught in adultery.
There she was, in the midst of
dignitaries jud­ging her.
Not a word is said about her male accomplice!
But a sin does not become more grave
if it is exposed.
The sin of those whose sin is not exposed
may be more grave;
its hid­den character
might even be a sign
of a heart that refuses to convert and to repent,
while the one whose sin is exposed
is con­fron­ted with his or her sinfulness,
and humiliated he is forced to deal with it.

Known as a sinner

This makes clear
that we are not able to judge a person,
because at the end we cannot
judge his or her heart.
The exposure makes the woman known as a sinner
and makes it impossible for her
to wipe out her past
and make a fresh start.

Bridges and roads

Our effort however should be aimed
at welco­ming, discer­ning,
foste­ring spiritual growth
and in­te­gra­ting in the community,
as our holy Father, pope Francis stresses so often.
We are called not to cons­truct walls
preven­ting people from ente­ring
our community, our Church,
but to cons­truct roads and bridges
enabling to get on and advance
in follo­wing Jesus Christ.

His life

This inclusive attitude is a distinctive characte­ristic
of the life and person of Father Francis van der Lugt,
whom we commemorate today.
Born in The Hague, his family moved to Am­ster­dam,
where Frans attended Saint Ignatius­col­lege
before ente­ring the Jesuit order.
He studied philosophy, theology and psychology.
Since 1980 he was wor­king in Syria,
either in Homs or in Damascus.
In 2011 the civil war broke out,
chan­ging a lot the whole situation.
Five years ago he was assassinated
and though he was living
in such a terrible war-situation
and though his town of Homs was besieged and bom­bed
while he himself and many people around him
were suffe­ring a lot from this horrible situation,
he never let hatred conquer his heart;
on the contrary: his faith, peace and love
seemed to become stron­ger,
while hatred and violence were increa­sing around him;
the message he left was one
of faith in God’s provi­dence, in His mercy,
and in the goodness of so many good people.
He refused to stop belie­ving in the goodness of man
like he refused to stop belie­ving and trus­ting
in the goodness of God.
“We cannot let evil
expel the goodness from our hearts”, he said.

No hatred

In this way he showed us
the importance of not let­ting
hatred and resent­ment
taking possession of us,
of not giving in to a temptation
to underline divisions among groups and people;
he was rather see­king to foster
what people brings together,
what unites them.

Still familiar

His voice seamed weak and powerless,
but it was at the end broadcasted
in so many countries,
and it is still remembered by millions.
This week I mentioned his name
in a group of people involved in school education
and, to my surprise,
his name was still familiar to each of them.

Power of weakness

There is more power in his weakness
than in the power of violence.
No violence can conquer a heart,
no coercion can bring about
conversion and ato­ne­ment.
A heart is conquered by steadfast love,
by truthfulness and faithfulness.

The evil and violent power that creates division,
set­ting people by the ears,
seems strong and overwhel­ming
and pride and superb contempt of others
seem to be ruling.
But truth is often not
in what is loud and noisy,
not even in what is impressive
and not in the violence of emotions;
truth is recognised
in the silent reflection and prayer
of an indifferent heart,
searching for wisdom, for God.

A world in crisis

I am really grateful
for what the Society of Jesus and others
have done to keep alive
the blessed memory of father Francis,
- Frans van der Lugt -,
since the message of his life
should not be forgotten
and it is of the utmost importance
in “a world in crisis”,
as pope Francis last week called today’s world
in his new Apostolic Exhortation “Christus vivit”.

Much has been said today already
about the life and work of Fr. Francis
and of course I do not want to repeat
what others said
with much more knowledge and eloquence.
But at the other hand this is a unique occasion
for me to recall just a few aspects
of his faith and personality
that I really admire.


For me it is very inspi­ring
that Father Francis till the very end of his life
did not accept to live
with hatred.
I hope I will always keep in mind his example ,
every time I may feel offended or injured.


Father Francis
kept a strong faith in Divine provi­dence,
even in the midst
of the grave adversities he was suffe­ring from.
He did not budge.


He dit not want to judge.
He decided to stay open
- with God’s help -
for the goodness in every person,
be he a Muslim or a Christian,

Fruits of his sacrifice

He brought the sacrifice of staying in Homs,
well aware of its possible consequences.
And indeed he died through violence.
This sacrifice was fruitful,
not only because right after his death
finally a solution was found:
His cry for help and food for his people was heard.
But this sacrifice is bea­ring fruit even today,
since the message of his life and death
keeps inspi­ring us and many others...

We are about to celebrate the sacrifice
of Jesus Christ.
May we by doing so
while kee­ping Father Francis’ life and death in our minds -
receive inspiration and strength
to remain and be faithful to our mission.


Klik op een foto voor een uitvergroting.