It was on the cross that Jesus won: not with weapons, not with political power, not by great means, nor by imposing himself. The peace he speaks of has nothing to do with victory over others. He won the world by loving it. It is true that a new reality and a new order begin on the cross. The order and the reality of the one who gives his life out of love. With the Resurrection and the gift of the Spirit, that reality and that order belong to his disciples. To us. God’s answer to the question of why the righteous suffer is not an explanation but a Presence. It is Christ on the cross.
It is on this that we stake our faith today. Jesus in that verse rightly speaks of courage. Such peace, such love, require great courage.
To have the courage of love and peace here, today, means not allowing hatred, revenge, anger, and pain to occupy all the space of our hearts, of our speech, of our thinking. It means making a personal commitment to justice, being able to affirm and denounce the painful truth of injustice and evil that surrounds us, without letting it pollute our relationships. It means being committed, being convinced that it is still worthwhile to do all we can for peace, justice, equality, and reconciliation. Our speech must not be about death and closed doors. On the contrary, our words must be creative, life-giving; they must give perspective and open horizons.
It takes courage to be able to demand justice without spreading hatred. It takes courage to ask for mercy, to reject oppression, to promote equality without demanding uniformity, while remaining free. It takes courage today, even in our diocese and our communities, to maintain unity, to feel united to one another, even in the diversity of our opinions, sensitivities, and visions.
I want, and we want, to be part of this new order inaugurated by Christ. We want to ask God for that courage. We want to be victorious over the world, taking upon ourselves that same cross, which is also ours, made of pain and love, of truth and fear, of injustice and gift, of cries and forgiveness.
I pray for us all, and in particular for the small community of Gaza, which is suffering most of all. In particular, our thoughts go out to the 18 brothers and sisters who perished recently and to their families whom we know personally. Their pain is great, and yet with every passing day, I realize that they are at peace. They are scared, shaken, upset, but with peace in their hearts. We are all with them, in prayer and concrete solidarity, thanking them for their beautiful witness.
Finally, let us pray for all innocent victims. The suffering of the innocent before God has a precious and redemptive value because it is united with the redemptive suffering of Christ. May their suffering bring peace ever closer!
We are approaching the solemnity of the Queen of Palestine, the patroness of our diocese. The shrine was erected during another time of war, and was chosen as a special place to pray for peace. In these days we will once again reconsecrate our Church and our land to the Queen of Palestine! I ask all churches around the world to join the Holy Father and to join us in prayer, and in the search for justice and peace.
We will not be able to gather all together this year, because the situation does not allow it. But I am sure that the whole diocese will be united on that day in prayer and in solidarity for peace, not worldly peace, but the peace which Christ gives us.
With sincere prayers for all,
+Pierbattista Card. Pizzaballa
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Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem