Easter Greetings from DSPR in Jerusalem
We measure Easter in the Holy Land by the weather and its changes. When it gets a little warmer, balmy and overall pleasant, the earth shows its transformations in green shrubberies, yellow daffodils, red corn poppies, blooming rosy-white beautifully adorned almond trees and all the other colors of the rainbow.
This is a reminder of the miracle of transformation of two thousand years ago. While the resurrection of the entombed Lord is in and by itself the miracle that surpasses understanding, it symbolizes also the transformation from an old community of Old Testament contract to a new community of New Testament binding. The freshness and newness with which the resurrection molded the new community carries on with the faithful today. One can see the emotions of those pilgrims who weep on the Unction Stone at the entrance of the Holy Sepulchre. Even local faithful, accustomed to the scenes and places associated with the life of Jesus are taken aback by the faith that these weeping faithful exhibit.
Local faithful carry the cross through the Via Dolorosa while some days earlier they wave their palm branches as they make their way from Bethpage to the Old City of Jerusalem. Impressive scenes of the Saturday of Light celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Palestinian community with thousands of pilgrims from Cyprus, Greece and in years past from Egypt remind all of the meaning and sense of resurrection. The light that shines within and around us and that makes the difference in the way we see and experience the world. The beautiful chants heard in the Melkite Greek Catholic Arab community on Good Friday move the spirit as each chant refers to the various stages of Jesus’ life and to the impact of resurrection on our own lives.
Easter is a season of hope and anticipation as it carries a clear message that despair cannot triumph. Whether it is political leaders who spoil the chances of hope or military generals who trust their wares more than anything else, Easter and similar celebrations in other religions highlight the relativity of these leaders and generals. In the long run it is the triumph over death and despair that would forge the road forward. Easter in the Holy Land is a reminder that we cannot stay entombed in war, conflict and confrontation. Eventually we shall overcome and the faith in transformations will guide us onward.
Dr. Bernard Sabella
DSPR Central Office