Homily of Patriarch Fouad Twal on the Solemnity of the Annunciation
NAZARETH – Homily of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.
“All generations will call me blessed, for the Lord has done great things for me.” (Lk 1 49)
Dear brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear priests, men and women religious,
I welcome all of you who came from Galilee and Palestine, as well as all of the pilgrims who came to celebrate with us the Virgin Mary.
We gather once again in this Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, to join our voices to that of Mary who magnifies the Lord. We also join with all who call her blessed in all the sanctuaries of the world because God has chosen her, has done great wonders in her and salvation was fulfilled through her.
We join, in particular, the Sisters of the Rosary, who are present in many Arab countries; and the Discalced Carmelite Order throughout the world, to thank God for the recent announcement of the Canonization of Blessed Mother Marie-Alphonsine, foundress of the Rosary Sisters and Blessed Mariam of Jesus Crucified, foundress of the Carmel of Bethlehem. We were in Rome when the Holy Father announced the forthcoming Canonization of these two nuns, to be held on May 17. We hope to see in Rome the largest number of faithful paprticipating in the celebrations.
We are very happy to celebrate today this special feast of the Annunciation, right here in the same city where the Virgin Mary lived. So it is your feast day! We also take this opportunity to greet the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land, who prepared this celebration, first to Father Bruno, the guardian of the convent. We also thank the Mayor, and the various civil authorities who welcomed us yesterday.
We pray for the scouts, and we thank them, as well as the choir. Today we pray and ask the Holy Virgin to protect you, your families and your institutions, invoking upon you the blessing and grace of God. We ask the Queen of Peace, to intercede before God for peace in Syria and Iraq and all countries of the Middle East, a peace and justice reform, a peace of brotherhood and co-existence, a peace of love and reconciliation among all peoples.
We thank the television network of Cançao Nova and Telepace, and other media agencies for the coverage of these celebrations. We pray for consolation for our churches in the East, especially in this time of crises, persecution, wars, massacres and banishments. We pray for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel through peaceful solutions, dialogue, negotiations, and for an immediate end to the cycle of violence.
– In this Year of Consecrated Life, we ask the Virgin Mary to help us live our Christian life in serenity and piety.
– In this Year of Consecrated Life, we thank God for the arrival of the Poor Clares from Mexico to live with us in Nazareth, pray for peace in our country, for the sanctification of our people, and for prosperity .
– In this Year of Consecrated Life, we remember Mary, daughter of Nazareth, who was the first to be consecrated to God. She is the model for every person in relationship with God,and in the way of being with brothers and sisters every day.
Through Mary, daughter of Nazareth and Our Lady of Palestine, we ask God for the grace to walk in her footsteps towards the love of God and love for one another, that our lives and our actions be hymns of Magnificat for God. We need to be good examples for our brothers and sisters, and a living testimony for pilgrims coming to our country from around the world.
O Mary, Queen of Palestine, pray for us.
O Mary, Queen of Palestine, save us from wars and advocates of wars.
O Mary, Queen of Palestine, protect our families and our youth. Amen.
Beloved, consecrated and religious who are in the service of the Holy Land
Dear contemplatives, you who have chosen “the better part” Welcome! Welcome!
I greet you with affection, and I wholeheartdly congratulate you for who you are and what you do through your work, prayer and silence. I think in a special way for those who are celebrating their Jubilee of religious consecration …
Here, lived the first who was consecrated to the Lord: Mary of Nazareth.
Here, was the first call for mission and here,was given the first response to this call, “here I am” and “Fiat Voluntas Tua”.
Here it was, in Nazareth that the question was asked for the first time: How Lord? How is this possible?
Here, was the first disturbance in the face of God, caused by the gravity of the proposed mission.
Here, dear friends, consecrated and religious men and women, we can rekindle with a renewed heart, our vocation, our response, our hesitations and even our failures to start again, to be reborn.
And we live with Our Lady as our model,walking hand in hand until the end, on the way to Calvary …
We have two concrete and bright examples before us, an example of active life, Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, and of contemplative life, the Carmelite Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam Baouardy).
Their humility, evangelical wisdom, perseverance in trials encourage us, and with certainty, we have two new advocates interceding for us before the Father, and to whom we can ask for help in our needs and times of trial.
Dear friends, let us live this year dedicated to Consecrated Life, to first of all, thank the Lord and to remember the many blessings received and continue to receive through the holiness of our founders who have preceded us in the house of the Father and in fidelity to the charism of our institutes, and holiness consolidated with these holy places.
I renew my sense of gratitude to the Lord and to all of you, especially for those who are celebrating their jubilee of consecration (25, 50, 60 years lived with and for God!)
I ask the Lord, through the intercession of our two new Palestinian saints, to grant us new eyes, ” eyes that are able to look beyond the appearances of a life of contradiction (…) that illuminate tenderness and peace”(from the Message of the Permanent Episcopal Council for the 19th World Day of Consecrated Life – February 2, 2015), for our good, and that of all those to whom we are sent,within the Church and the whole world.
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem