“With Jesus, we go in the desert of Jericho – a city that is a prison, like all the Palestinian cities, the symbol of the conflict that has become our living environment – we fast to make our peace with God, with our friends and enemies; we fast to renew the acceptance of our faith. True faith drives fear away and enables the believer to build the common good,” said the patriarch in his Lenten message.
Christians are called to be “leaven in the land of Jesus,” he continued. They are asked to remain in these holy places and “experience the commandment of love, to forgive by claiming our lost rights and to share the goods and the sacrifices with everyone” with no difference of religion or nationality.”
He denounced the occupation of Palestine, the limitation of freedom, the wall, “the Israeli servicemen entering the Palestinian cities at any time, killing, taking prisoners, uprooting trees and pulling down houses.”
He said the lack of vision within Palestinian society has been exploited by some to breach laws and oppress people. He remarked that the international community has not responded to “the many voices of peace that rise from the region”.
He reminded Christians of the importance of fasting and invited them to take part in this Lenten practice, looking “for God’s will in the true ordeals” and to “see sense in these events and find a way to convert them into mutual love.”
“Not to demolish or bear a grudge against the opponent, but to put an end to occupation, oppression and live a new life,” he encouraged.
.- The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, said Lent reminds Christians in the Holy Land that military occupation, the limitation of freedom, the lack of security, and violation of the laws can be turned into an opportunity for new life.