Easter Solemn Mass at the Holy Sepulchre
Below is the Patriarch’s Easter Sunday homily.
Easter Sunday Homily
Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher
April 20, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
Christ is truly risen! Alleluia!
It is with this immense joy that I address you today, of the joy of so great a mystery that constitutes the heart of our Faith and of our Hope.
After the Resurrection, the disciples withdrew to Galilee, and the Lord appeared to them in his Glorious Body, saying: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”(Mt 28:18-20)
The mission of Jesus on earth ends in Galilee. It is in Galilee that the disciples’ life begins, as the Master wished and as the angel that guarded the tomb announced to the women:
“Do not be alarmed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here… But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him,’ as he told you.”(Mk 16:6-7)
So it was that the Good News spread from Galilee to the ends of the earth. From that moment on, every gathering of the faithful, whether within the family, at work or during a religious celebration, becomes our Galilee, to bear witness to the Resurrection. And this is what the disciples did, “For there is no other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”(Acts 4:12)
This feast of Easter offers us once more, the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the disciples, to declare and to proclaim that Christ is our Lord and Saviour. May we reinforce our declaration through our testimony and our example of charity, as through our commitment to the good of all people and to the cause of justice and peace.
Dear brothers and sisters, Saint Paul reminds us, we do not have the right to remain silent: “If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!(1 Cor 9:16)
Indeed, Peter and John said to those who would arrest them: “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”(Acts 4:20)
Such declaration is a reason for joy, even if it causes hardship and persecution. Nevertheless, we can be sure of the success of our mission, even here, however difficult that may be in this strife-torn Holy Land. The Lord promised us: “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”(Mt 28:20)
He is with us today and for eternity, through his Grace and his Strength.
He is with us through his Church, built on the rock of Faith.
He is with us through the Sacraments.
He is with us, so close, so humble yet so powerful in the heart of the Eucharistic mystery.
Jesus said to Martha, the sister of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”(Jn 11:25-26)
Brothers and sisters, do we believe this? Do we believe in his all-powerful Love for us, and in the omnipotence of his resurrection?
Today, let us make Martha’s and Mary’s lamentation our own, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (Jn 11:21)
Lord, if you were with us, our Christian families would not have been dispersed and have emigrated all over the world, our cities would not be plundered and destroyed, our churches would not be desecrated! And our hearts, would not be torn and sick, nor our priests and bishops kidnapped and imprisoned!!!! “Lord, if you had been here…’
But together with Martha, we also need to say: “even now we know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”(Jn 11:22)
Forgive us Lord for our little Faith!
Forgive us for our impatience and lack of understanding!
Come and heal us! We are tossed about by the turbulent and violent waters of this world, as were the disciples in the midst of the storm while You slept. We beseech you “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk 4:38)
We believe Lord that “You are the Messiah, the Son of God who came into this world to save us” and for whom “nothing is impossible”(…)
Lord, May your Resurrection also be ours.
May your Easter rise like a Light over this Land weighed down by division, violence and hatred.
May your spirit, like an all-consuming fire, invade our hearts, open our eyes to Faith and make of us living witnesses of Your Resurrection.
Let us pray, brothers and sisters, that the Lord, who is the “Resurrection and the Life” will come to deliver us from fear, doubt, hatred and our lack of hope. Let us walk together towards Emmaus and Galilee, to know Jesus better and to discover his holy Face, Crucified and in Glory.
Dear brothers and sisters,
May the joy of the Resurrection be resplendent on our faces and in our lives, so that the world may recognise its only Saviour, that we may believe and be saved from sadness, despair, hatred and divisions.
Happy Easter to you all.
Resurrexit sicut dixit: Alleluia, Alleluia!
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem