Palm Sunday message from His Beatitude Michel Sabbah – Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
End of Beth Fage procession
We prayed this morning in the Basilica of the Resurrection, in the place where Our Lord Jesus Christ was buried and rose. We prayed this afternoon, as we walked from Beit Fage until here. With these prayers we have begun our Holy Week, the most important time in the year, for us and for the renewal of our faith. To renew our faith means to know better the one in whom we have believed, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God, and to know better His teaching, summed up in the unique commandment of love. In the last week of His life, Jesus reminded us of this commandment, when He said: “Love each other as I have loved you”.
St Paul says: “Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17). We become a new creation because of the good actions proceeding from our faith. The most important good action is to love God and all God’s children, of whatever religion or nationality. We are a new creation, when we keep within us the life that God gives us every day, when we take it, every day, from His hands and we keep it full of His holiness and a source of blessing for us and for all those with whom we live.
St Paul says also: “Brothers we ask you to reconcile with God”, by remaining faithful to his commandment of love, that gives us the power to forgive each other, to be patient with each other, to care for each other’s burdens and needs, and to resist every evil and aggression. Strengthened by our love of God and of all, we draw the attention of the aggressor and tell him clearly that he is an aggressor, that he must stop his aggression, and that he too must become an agent of reconciliation.
St Paul says: “Reconcile with God who gave us the ministry of reconciliation”, a difficult ministry, because it is an invitation to forgiveness and at the same time to keep proclaiming truth and justice. By our prayer and presence before God, by our faithfulness to the love of God and all God’s children, we can be ministers of reconciliation in our society, which is, after forty years of war, hatred and bloodshed, in permanent need of reconciliation
May this week be for all of us a source of blessing and strength, so that, despite the forces of death that surround us, we might be a source of light that guides us and gives us the ability to be ministers of truth, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation in our Holy Land. Amen.
+ Michael Sabbah, Patriarch
Jerusalem – Palm Sunday, 1st April 2007