Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul reminds us of the importance in persevering even when we grow weary. With the Holy Triduum upon us, we also remember those heartbreaking words of our Lord on the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me.” Those words reveal to us that we all, including Christ in his human aspect, can get so weary following great tribulation. Given the turmoil and conflict in the land of our Savior’s birth, death and resurrection, there is no doubt that our brothers and sisters have developed a great weariness from the tribulations in their daily lives.
Last summer in June, I was able to share a small aspect of that weariness when I escorted a number of young men and women in a Know Thy Heritage pilgrimage. As we crossed the King Hussain bridge through a checkpoint between Jordan and Palestine, we were held and interrogated for over 6 hours and the authorities threatened to deny our entry. While this was not the first time this has happened, it was one of the more extreme instances. And this February I was held again for over three hours. The interrogation focused on why a Christian had any business traveling to Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories. My weariness from the wait and questioning was relieved thanks to the intervention of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It was made clear to the soldiers that Christians, including myself, had every right to be there, and to work with the church and visit the holy cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. This is the right of every faithful, Christian Muslim and Jew.
However, this experience was not lost on the youth travelling with me. They recognized that they just had a brief glimpse of the struggles that the average Palestinian faces daily going through checkpoints. However, unlike myself, those Palestinians may have a sick child or perhaps are just trying to get to school or work. And they may not have the Patriarchate’s intervention to rescue them.
But they have us. For their sake, we must not grow weary in helping our brothers and sisters of the Mother Church.
As we approach Good Friday let us reflect on how Our Lord must have felt to be entering Jerusalem for the Passover. No doubt he was filled with a bubbling excitement to be able to spend this sacred holiday at the holy city of Jerusalem with his beloved disciples. But what did he encounter? Humiliation, ridicule, and abandonment. When he walked the streets of Jerusalem on his way to Calvary how different the scene that encountered him from his prior entrance on Palm Sunday. So it is for our Christian brothers and sisters when they enter Jerusalem, so it will be when they attempt to process in this holiest of weeks. The humiliation they face at each checkpoint every day is a small way in which they partake in our Savior’s passion. This Easter, let us remember that suffering that occurred those thousand of years ago and occurs today to the living Body of Christ that are our Christian brethren. But let us not forget that through His suffering, Christ reaped the most precious harvest of all — our salvation. So this Easter let us renew our commitment to follow Christ’s example in this world. Let us remember the model of Our Lord in persevering to do good despite His weariness.
Have a Blessed Easter. He has Risen!
Rateb Y. Rabie, KCHS
President and CEO