Easter is marked again, and this year it coincides with the advent of the month of May, the month of roses and goodness, a month in which Christians honor their Mother, Virgin Mary. This year, the faithful were more jubilant than last year because last year marked a long lockdown period in line with the Corona's precautionary measures. This year they were happy to go to church, especially after the lockdown was lifted on Fridays, and consequently our churches were crowded with the faithful effective Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday morning, or rather the Resurrection Sunday. They were joyful as they were at the same time committed to public safety and social distancing measures in churches where sterilizers were applied and face masks were worn throughout the period of prayers.
So what are the messages of hope and grace that Easter conveys this year to the faithful who celebrate this feast?
First: This year was undoubtedly a distinguished year for the celebrants, because the Western and Eastern calendars had a four week span. Consequently, the faithful all over the world, and in our dear East, felt that there was an astronomical and historical difference for the celebration of Easter. But we reiterate what we mentioned earlier that this is related to an astronomical issue, because there are two calendars, namely the Gregorian calendar (Western) and the Julian calendar (Eastern). These calendars marked this astronomical difference this year, which is not the first occurrence, yet efforts towards attaining genuine unity are surging. It is hoped that agreement will be attained in the future as there are also efforts to have common dates for the celebration of the feast. It is hoped that by the year 2025, which marks the 1,700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea when these laws were approved, will mark the feast of Easter on the Sunday that follows the first full moon after the start of spring. It is hoped that this will be realized in Jordan, as we have been the only country that adopted a common day for the feast 42 years ago and we still adhere to this unitary option.
Second: A heartfelt prayer is said on this year's Easter imploring Lord Jesus to heal the world from the Corona epidemic. The Holy Gospel states that Lord Jesus performed numerous miracles, some of which happened in our country, especially in Umm Qais. We are hopeful that Lord Jesus would perform His miracle by healing the world and saving people from the Corona epidemic that has controlled most of their activities and their normal life. Consequently, we pray for the attainment of healing so that people can restore their normal life, after having learned lessons of life.
Third: We pray fervently for the souls of those who passed away after being infected with Corona this year, including doctors, nurses, and numerous people who passed away without being bid final farewell by anyone which caused sorrow to their families. The Easter message is a message of condolence, for all those who lost dear ones, so that Lord Jesus would have mercy on them as well as console and solace the mourners based on the strength of faith.
Fourth: Easter this year represents fraternal solidarity with all those who are suffering from the Corona pandemic and from the ongoing lockdown measures. There are studies that indicate the high rates of unemployment and poverty among people in our society and in the world at large. We pray to God that this situation would trigger solidarity between the rich and the poor, so that neither would people be marginalized and forgotten, nor the unemployed would suffer from numerous psychological complications after having been victims of poverty caused by this situation. Solidarity during the feasts, and during the month of Ramadan, is a fraternal manifestation where wealthy people extend a helping hand to aid the needy, the poor, and the families that sometimes find nothing to feed their hungry children. In our society there are rich and poor people, while feasts are occasions that can reduce the gap between the two sides through conducting real institutional and individual solidarity actions.
Fifth, we are proud in Jordan that this is 100th anniversary of the Feast of Easter in the wake of the establishment of the Jordanian state. This confirms the strong Christian presence in our society, as a pluralistic society is a real treasure in our society. We preserve this situation in order to always serve as a model for common living based on mutual love and respect. Sometimes problems and discussions arise on social networks sites, but the generalization is not correct! Consequently, it is better to talk about the sublime relationships as well as to view the others as citizens with full rights and duties. No one can claim that one has the right to exclude anyone from acquiring the mercy of God in one's home and heart particularly in cases sadness and pain.
May God protect you, protect our homeland, and protect our dear national unity.