“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Patriarch of Jerusalem: Respond to division with unity and faith

Amid the turmoil in the Holy Land, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, has told the faithful to not be discouraged or afraid, and to counter division with attempts to build unity.

Speaking at the Palm Sunday procession yesterday on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, he welcomed those from all the parishes who traveled from Palestine and Israel for the day of celebration, prayer, and communion.

“Faithful, religious, priests, bishops, Christians from different churches, we are all united with joy in the name of Jesus, the most beautiful name of all, one that we will never cease to pronounce and celebrate,” he said.

Being united in Christ, he underscored, “gives us renewed strength” and “warms our hearts,” and enables us, “once again, from Jerusalem, to carry this proclamation of love, freedom, and life throughout the world, as people did two thousand years ago.”

Must not be afraid

Despite everything, he said, Jerusalem is still capable of generating this experience.

Not only is it a city of conflict, division, of political and religious tension, of possession and exclusion, he said; but it is also a place of encounter, faith, prayer, joy, communion and unity.

He lamented the many incidents of violence in this city, in recent weeks, including against churches and Christian symbols.

“But we must not be afraid of those who want to divide, those who want to exclude or who want to take over the soul of this Holy City.”

No one, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem stressed, will be able to possess it exclusively. “As I keep repeating, we belong to this city and no one can separate us from our love for it, just as no one can separate us from the love of Christ.”

“To those who want to divide, we will respond with the desire to build unity. To those who express hatred and contempt, we will respond with the healing power of love. To those who wish to exclude, we will respond by seeking to meet and welcome,” he said.

As the Church of Jerusalem, he said, this is also our mission, “to build up, to unite, to break down barriers, to hope against all hope, to bear witness with serene confidence to a way of life freed from the shackles of any form of fear.”

No room for resentment 

Therefore, in our hearts, he said, there is no room for hatred and resentment.

“We do not want to hate or despise. The love of Christ that has conquered us,” he recalled, “is stronger than any opposite experience. And this is, and remains, our strength; this is and always will be, despite our many limitations, our witness.”

God’s love for us

The Cross of Christ is “the measure of God’s love for us,” he noted, saying that behind it, we will carry our labors, sorrows, and loneliness, but also our desire to experience once again the love of Christ.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov
2023-04-06T08:41:15+00:00 April 6th, 2023|Categories: News|