Archbishop Fouad Twal of Jerusalem affirmed this today at the closing Mass of the annual meeting of the Holy Land Coordination.
The coordination group, including bishops from Canada, England and Wales, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United States, was set up in Jerusalem in 1998 at the request of the Holy See. It is organized by the bishops’ conference of England and Wales.
“In our life of faith, we live a foretaste of Christ’s victory,” Archbishop Twal affirmed. “We experience the peace of Christ and are eager to share it with everyone.”
He added, “The Church in the Holy Land also longs to taste Christ’s peace, in an end to the extended period of struggles that has scattered so many of her sons and daughters!”
The prelate told the coordination group: “Your presence among us is another sign of how God’s grace can always surprise us.”
“Certainly, no one ever imagined the Incarnation beforehand, and the Incarnate Word being born in a cave in Bethlehem,” the archbishop noted. “That was and still is a surprise for us.”
He affirmed: “And this same man, Jesus, continues to astonish us by his sacrifice on the cross and his rising from the tomb to open for us the way to eternal life.
“Though it was what the world was waiting for, it was still unexpected.”
Archbishop Twal added: “Your presence encourages us to remember this and to look for this surprise. We must never lose hope, and with courage, patience and determination, we wait, we pray, we trust — may this revelation come soon!”
“By the same grace of God, your solidarity with the Church of the Holy Land surprises us, making us profoundly grateful,” the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem stated.
“This diocese,” he noted, “Christ’s living body in the Holy Land, is very much alive even though it is living through a prolonged period of Calvary, as indeed many dioceses in the Middle East do.”
The prelate exhorted his listeners, as they return home, “May you find the courage to speak to all of what you have seen, heard, and touched; and to share your experience and encounters with the living stones of this land during your visit.”
“As you return to take on the responsibility of tending and feeding the flock entrusted to you, may their meeting be a touch point for a future of ongoing communication, consultation, affirmation, spiritual nourishment, and communion,” he added.
“By being so well covered in the media,” the archbishop acknowledged, “your visit has made a certain impression on our people: the Israelis, the Palestinians, the civil and church authorities.”
He affirmed, “It has created a certain expectation, a confidence, that you and the faithful of the world will not forget their brothers and sisters in faith, here in the Holy Land.”
— — —
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31443?l=english