|Fr. Frans van der Lugt, S.J. was assasinated in Syria, continuing to do his ministry of service for his people.
Tony Homsy, S.J. a Syrian Jesuit, who was a friend of Fr. Frans, is studying at Creighton University this year.
We asked him to reflect for us on his experience of the assassination of his Jesuit friend.
The Disciples of Fr. Frans
I am writing these lines on the “Third Day,” the third day after the death of my companion, Fr. Frans van der Lugt, S.J. the Dutch Jesuit who was assassinated on the 7th of April, 2014, in Syria. Sitting here in Omaha, ten thousand kilometers from his tomb, at the garden of the Jesuit residence in the Old city of Homs, it is not easy to express anything of what I feel… I was overcome by his death, jumping from one page to the other on the internet trying to experience what other people were saying about his death and even more about his life.
At this traffic light, my eyes were opened (Luke 24: 31), like the eye of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. And this sign led me to read the whole story all over again, and find the meaning. I linked everything together: his life, his teaching, my relation with him, and my unity with him as a Jesuit companion. All this at once has meaning now…
We will keep Frans alive, as the first Christians kept Jesus alive for the next 2000 years and on. They didn’t surrender to their desperation though their fears, and they were faithful to the message of love that Jesus is always asking of us. In Frans’ book, Our Life, Between Failure and Success, Father Frans posed two question: “Did Jesus succeed in receiving his father’s love? Did Jesus succeed in giving his love to the others?” Frans saw that the Crucified is the answer for both these questions, because through the cross God makes his love shine on everyone, on the bad and on the good (Matthew 5: 43-45).
In the “upper room” of Facebook, we started experiencing Frans’ presence among us again, and our journey to find a meaning for his death, starting with remembering our sweet memories with him. And we move forward. But above all, we forgive whoever killed him. Frans wanted to fully follow his Lord and accepted his dramatic pain and death. We now hear him say: “Put your sword into its scabbard” (John 18: 11).
So, we forgive, we forget, and we celebrate our martyr.
Tony is a Syrian Jesuit from the Middle East Province of the Society of Jesus. He is 29 years old and is the webmaster for his Province's website. After he graduated from the University of Aleppo in the bio-chemistry department, he joined the Society of Jesus, spending two years in Cairo, Egypt, after which he studied philosophy and Arab Civilization in Beirut, Lebanon. He is currently a student at Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska, where he studies Digital Journalism and Computer Science. Besides studying, Tony spends time on photography. He also translates to and from Arabic. Tony translated Creighton’s Online Retreat into Arabic: http://jesproretreats.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&layout=category&task=category&id=1&Itemid=238
News Stories about Fr. Frans' death:
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