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

Shedding light on Arab Christians

Yet, another Sunday passes, and we are still at home.A weekend no longer holds the same meaning of “an end of” a week.The day when you wake up late, have a splendid breakfast, spend time with the family, do the things you could not do during the weekdays and prepare for Sunday.The day of God, Sunday was a day of jubilation.Actually in our context, Sunday is one of the most important days in our week for it is the day that we are reminded of how big a family we are and what colorful family we have.

During the weekdays, one is consumed by professional and personal responsibilities that are usually confined to a limited number of people and to limited duties.On Sunday, we become part of a family that transcends boundaries, hierarchies, race and sex; we become one in God.Sunday is the one day we are reminded, spiritually and physically of how blessed we are to be alive while having faith in God.

But, Sunday is also about getting dressed for another reason than to work, to leave the house for another reason than buy groceries.It is about getting dressed, getting the kids dressed up too, planning the shortest way to get to church on time, avoiding traffic and loony drivers, walking down the alley of the Cradle, to the altar of the Church of the Nativity, locating the empty bench, kneeling to pray, and singing along.Hearing and listening to the words of the gospel, receiving communion of the body and blood of Christ, in God, being blessed for the day and the week.

After Mass, and important for Sunday, is greeting family, friends, your loved ones, your neighbors, meeting the people of your town, Bethlehem, our people.The 30 to 45 minutes we spend in the outside court just after mass also bless us.The shaking of hands, the hugging, the greeting with a smile, the ‘I miss you’ looks, the young, the middle aged, the elderly, the priest, the lay, the Catholic, Orthodox, Assyrian, the Copt, the rich, the poor, the cultured, the ordinary, the influential and the influenced, all together.During curfew, I miss the warmth of our people.

This Sunday is the 16 Sunday that we are bound to our homes by Israeli curfew.Our souls are clinging to fading images of St. Catherine’s church, its ambiance, its warmth, its odors, its candles, its people.Today, I wake up early to prepare breakfast, the first part of the Sunday ritual, prepare the crepes with whole nuts and almonds, chocolate and sugar.The feast of the morning.The kids woke up early too, all awaiting the start of the Sunday, the best day.

For the sixteenth time, we miss church.We could still pray, of course, at home.We could put on the radio and listen to mass, turn on the TV and watch mass in churches in Greece, Italy, Spain an the Netherlands.We might not catch the meaning but the rituals are similar.But, we do not.Our church is only 1200 meters away, its radiant structure and powerful meaning is enough!We pray at home.

But it is still Sunday, in few hours to the west from Palestine, people are awaking, others are still asleep, others to the east have already had lunch and are about to sleep, but Sunday is a Sunday.They must have gone to church; those who practice of course, others would be planning to go.They must be preparing the Sunday clothes, the Sunday lunch, the Sunday outing, the Sunday brunch and dinner, the Sunday program, the Sunday talk show, the Sunday news, the Sunday nap, the Sunday everything.We are the only people
in the world who, on a Sunday, must stay at home against our will.

Those of you, who had already prayed, I hope you had us in your prayers, those of you who are still to pray, do lift up a prayer for us, a wish or two.Cherish this Sunday of yours, keep the family close, enjoy every minute of it in love and in God.Embrace others with peace and welcome strangers to your life.Plan your day.Hope that time goes by slowly, that your Sunday might never end.Think through this Sunday, of the blessings you have in life, the time that was given to you to make good in life, but do not take the Sunday for granted.

I did, a year ago.Sunday was one of the “take for granted things in your life.”Sunday will remain a Sunday, it is a day in the calendar, I used to tell myself, it is the only meaningful day in the calendar.Monday and Wednesday are weekdays; Sunday is the day for God.I know Sunday will always be the day for God, that will never change, but it seems that we are the only people who are requested to improvise, adapt to the new Sunday of curfews, the Sundays of stay at home all day.The truth, I do miss it.I do long for setting out free again to pray.

I want to exercise my need to be free to worship.Now, we are under curfew and that is not possible.This right to worship is a right that is not bound to political decision and power politics; it is a heavenly decree, a heavenly promise for a better humanity on earth.A curfew on Sunday or a Friday or a Saturday, is an evil breach of all human and ethical spiritual needs.All curfew justifications are sinful justifications.A curfew is the curse of ethnocentric, egotistic and selfish people.It is the antithesis of belonging and truth, and the blessings and fruits of God.

Cherish your Sunday, remember that God is the truth and Life, and God is love and he is not found in curfew.

2016-10-24T07:33:31+00:00 July 21st, 2002|Categories: News|