''Christ is raised. He has risen indeed" by Patriarch Michel Sabbah

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Sunday 21.4.2019

Christ is raised. He has risen indeed. Let us rejoice

The day of Resurrection is a day in which we renew our faith in God and our hope amidst our difficult times. After the death of Jesus, grief overcame the apostles. Some thought that everything was over, like the two disciples of Emmaus (Luke 24:13). Then events changed: they saw the empty tomb and Jesus manifested Himself to them. They renewed their faith. The Apostle Thomas was the last to say: “My Lord and my God.” (Jn 20:28)

During difficulties the believers lose their faith or renew it. True believers renew it. They do not believe only in easy times, but also in days of hardship. We now live in hard times. We ask questions. We say: “Where are you, O God? You are the Lord of history? But, history seems to be moving, not by your power but by the power of our oppressors and the mighty of this world”.

However, we renew our faith; we renew our prayer and our love for each other. With our hope and our love we go out to our society, to the conflict we are in, to the evils surrounding us, and we say to all who are tired: we have the power to live, the life of those who believe, those who know that God loves them and they love Him. With our life and our hope we will change the hardships in which we are because Christ is Risen: He has risen indeed and He gave us strength, we too, to live.

Monday 21.4.201
After the Resurrection
Easter time is also called Paschal time. The word “paschal” means the passage from one situation to another. In this feast, it means the passage from death to life. Jesus Christ died and rose. Death no longer has power on Him. We also, we will die then we will rise. In our earthly life now, as Jesus Christ has overcome death and sin, we have also been given the power to triumph over all kinds of evil, in ourselves, in our society, and any evil imposed on us.

We are able to overcome all evil. For that, we must strive to make every moment of our whole life, be it difficult or easy, in a relentless and constant effort to build our land, as God wants it to be built in order to make it holy for God, and a dwelling for us and for all its inhabitants. .

Difficulties in our personal or public life are many. The political situation in which we are is difficult. It is an evil which must change. Every human being who believe in their humanity and their ability to love can make the change. Everyone in one's position, in one's way of resistance, is called upon to change a situation based on the oppression of others. The political situation needs hope and faith in every heart in order to improve matters and make things more human so that our land may become a land of life and resurrection for all.

Tuesday 23.4.2019

After the Resurrection

The victory over death which is in sin and in all kinds of evils requires man's striving to resist evil, and to attain the goodness that God originally placed in man. With Christ's resurrection and victory over death, man can also triumph.

Indeed, many have triumphed over evil among all peoples of Earth and in all times. God gives each one His grace to be good. Man has to choose to be good or to be a destructive evil on earth.
Good and bad coexist in human societies. Rulers of societies are driven by what they call “national interest” which becomes evil when it sacrifices others’ interest. That is what is happening in our land. The fruits of this evil are people who live to oppress and people who are sacrificed and die.

Every feast, we stand in front of the mystery of our land. It is the land of the Resurrection, the land in which “the kindness and love of God our Saviour for humanity were revealed” (Titus 3: 4), the land in which the three religions met but where human evil is dominating and the ruler is the oppressor. Human hearts are full of war and death in contradiction to what God has done in this land. He made it holy, and He wanted man in it also to be holy. The mystery of our land is that it is called to be the land of peace, the source of peace for the whole world yet human beings have made it a land of war, aggression, occupation and discrimination between the creatures of God.

Moved by love and the spirit of service, the ruler can achieve the work of God in this land. However, with oppression and war, he will hide the face of God. When man cannot see God, he will not be able to see the human being neither in himself nor in others.

Wednesday 24.4.2019

After the Resurrection

Despite the domination of evil, despite death dominating our region, the Resurrection says that we are able to triumph over evil. Our hope is rooted in our being created by God, able to be good as He is, and to love as He loves. These are the roots of our hope however difficult and dark our circumstances. The last word will not be for death and injustice but for life and truth.

When Jesus Christ said: "Blessed are the gentle: they shall have the Earth as inheritance… Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God" (Matthew 5: 4.9), He knew that there were on earth people, gentle and peacemakers. In our land, indeed, there is evil, but there are also good people.

We celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ to remember that our faith is first and foremost in God and not in man. We remember that the light, hope, life and triumph over evil is for all. It is for humanity. We are all created by God in His image and likeness. For all of us Jesus Christ gave His life, rose from the dead, granted us all the glory of the Resurrection, and made us able to overcome death and sin.

Thursday 25.4.2019

After the Resurrection

"We are witnesses to what happened…". (Acts 10: 34) The believers witnesses to their belief. After the death of Jesus, the apostles remained in conditions of doubt and fear until they believed and witnessed to what they believed. They witnessed to what they saw. Peter and John saw the empty tomb (John 20: 8). The Lord was not there. He rose from the dead. Then the Lord appeared alive to the apostles separately and together (John 20: 21). After that, they witnessed and preached what they had seen.

The Resurrection is the new horizon for Christians, amidst death, joy and life.
Our horizon is the new life after the Resurrection. To this new life, we are witnesses to God who is the God of life, love and mercy. We affirm that we can overcome all forms of evil. No matter how dark times in our private or public life may be, we proclaim that life will prevail.

This period of our history, here in the Holy Land and in the entire region, needs witnesses to life, love and hope. Every believer must know that he is needed as a messenger of life and hope. We can then move from hope to Resurrection, from oppression to a just human reality where we change death into life, and love can lead to new horizons where man can see God, his own human dignity and hence the same dignity for all.

Friday 26/4/2019

After the Resurrection

We are witnesses to the Resurrection, witnesses of hope. The reality we live in is a reality of death. The time of death is long. Generations were born and died in it. It seems, according to human vision that it will also last long. In this very dark situation, the human being, here in the Holy Land, needs believers in the Resurrection. They need faith that renews all.

What is the Christian message during this time of death? Faced with the cruelty of the ruler and the silence or support of the world, witnesses of the Resurrection say that Resurrection is for all of us and for the ruler and oppressor. Witnesses of the Resurrection say that death is overcome, and that whoever deals with death is also called to change his aspirations. Witnesses of the Resurrection say that responding to death by death is not human. Life is human, freedom is human and equality for all is human.

Witnesses of the Resurrection may be a voice in the wilderness but they must keep crying out. There must always be witnesses for the Resurrection, for human dignity and for God who loves all creatures.

Saturday, 27/4/2019

After the Resurrection

"I shall not die, I shall live to recount the great deeds of God" (Psalm 118: 11). Death is dominant, but I will not die. I see the Resurrection, I see the Lord of glory conquering death and granting every human being the ability to triumph over death. I will not die, but I will resist death no matter how, in war or occupation or separation walls. Death has been crushed. Love, the love of God is stronger than any form of death imposed by man even if that love seems impossible or strange in our situation. I will not die and I will demand that the ruler does not die or allow the human being in him to die, but to prefer life to death. Love is human, not hatred or killing.

We promote love and life for the oppressed as well. This is also a difficult transformation. But it is not impossible, if the strong of this world allow the light of life to enter and purify their visions, if they become able to see the human dignity that they are killing.

When the oppressor and the oppressed come together in search of life, death will be defeated. These words seem to be pure imagination, far from the reality we live in but they are true

Today, the Holy Land needs to wake up and see the light of the Resurrection, the light of God and the light of man. Every ruler in the Holy Land is called to the light, to see and grant light, life, justice and equality to all God's creation.

The two peoples can live in this Holy Land equal in dignity and humanity. Then all will say together: "I shall not die, I shall live to recount the great deeds of God" (Psalm 118: 11).

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