On behalf of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and the Holy Land Christians, I send you joyful Easter greetings. As we approach Easter, we remember that it is truly the day that Christianity was born, for it was through his passion and resurrection that Jesus opened wide the gates of heaven, offering salvation to the human race so desperate to be freed from sin, fear, injustice and sorrow. All of Jesus' life, ministry, wisdom and miracles would have been forgotten now, had His glorious resurrection not transformed the world and our lives! The opportunity to share in some part of Christ's selfless suffering, and to indeed relive this turning point in the history of mankind, is a great blessing. It is therefore with humble, hopeful joy that I look forward to Easter Sunday!
Sharing in Christ's suffering is part of living our Christian faith. Just as the Cyrene named Simon was compelled to carry the cross of Jesus, we are compelled to carry the cross for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, providing for them some respite from their burdens as they endeavor to maintain the Christian presence by remaining in the Land of Jesus' resurrection.
The difficulty of living as Christians in the Holy Land becomes especially pronounced during Holy Week. Due to harsh restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on gathering and movement, most of the local Christians, even those living in Jerusalem, are not permitted to commemorate Jesus' entry into the Holy city, his passion, death and resurrection! In the land where it all began, our faith is being suppressed; after 2000 years, the living stones are still bearing the cross of Christ, suffering daily for their faith.
In our continuous efforts to replace despair with hope, fear with security and humiliation with human dignity, we are forever committed to carrying the cross for our brothers and sisters, and for Christ Our Savior!
The Palestinian Christians, despite living under the burden of conflict and oppression, have not given up hope for peace, for a better day, and for the transformation of revenge into forgiveness and mercy. Sharing their trust in God, we must never give up hope either! Rather, let us live through this Good Friday with them, and walk the Via Dolorosa with them in prayer. Together, we will strive to manifest the Kingdom of God on earth, and rejoice in His great glory together with all peoples and all faiths!
May you have a joyful and blessed Easter!
God bless you,
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS
"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen!"
Luke 24: 5-6