After our Lent journey, here we are reaching the port of Life and Resurrection. The penitential tears along with the tears of our numerous brothers and sisters who are suffering all over the world, make us discover the face of the Merciful God who heals us all, either near or far, because He is God – Love, the source of hope for humanity.
Through the Risen Christ, the world re-enters in the harmony and we all become one in Him, because with Him “ There is neither Jew, nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). In Christ, we are “a New Creation” (2 Cor 5:17). In Him, the walls were destroyed and those new that we build, will certainly be destroyed again, because the power of love, of forgiveness, the strength of the Word and the Eucharist, will triumph over all the forces of the world.
In Christ, we all become “one Human Family” seeking others in the dynamism of “the Church which goes forth”, meeting those who are “in the suburbs”, to extend our hand to those deeply wounded by injustice, but healed by the power of Love.
The cry of the poor of our times is raised up to the heart of the Lord Jesus. It is the cry of those who are placed at the margin of life, individuals and communities that are lost in the streets, that are homeless, refugees in camps, chased from their homes because of war and conflicts; the migrants, the prisoners, the trafficking victims, all those who suffer sickness and isolation in their proper house. Let us meet them by “The wisdom of the heart which is no theoretical knowledge, but a gift of the Spirit that allows people to be sensitive to the sufferings of their brothers and sisters and recognise in them the image of God”, as Pope Francis says.
It is worth bearing in mind the suffering of communities in Iraq, Syria and the Middle East; the Ebola victims and the war challenges in some African countries; the climate’s change negative effects, the lack of basic food and drinking water; the dead by natural disasters, particularly in Asia; seeking stability and social justice in South America; the big migrant movement towards North America and Oceania; the European economic crisis searching solidarity and social cohesion. All these human realities await the hand of Jesus to lie and touch their hearts. This is the Church’s mission to be “poor for the poor” as Pope Francis wishes; this is the meaning of Caritas as “diaconia”, manifesting God’s mercy to the world, renewed by hope.
Caritas is always called to be present and ready to accompany. Etymologically the accompaniment means (walking with = Syn Odos = Synod). It requests initiatives, no matter how big or small, but that are made only out of love, care, tenderness and perseverance, revaluing the human dignity. Caritas, the Church charitable instrument accomplishes an “organised charity” realised by our commitment, as clergy and laity. In this regard Pope Benedict mentions in Motu Proprio “Service of Charity”: “who work in the Church’s charitable apostolate, along with due professional competence, give an example of Christian life and witness to a formation of heart”.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I wish you a Glorious Feast of Resurrection in a warm family atmosphere where the Virgin Mary accompanies all of us to be one in the Risen Christ.
† Youssef Soueif
The Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus
President of Caritas Cyprus and member of the Caritas Internationalis Executive Board.