Message of Easter 2018: Love and Move Forward in Doing Good for Making Peace
Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako
Resurrection and Peace
We celebrate these days the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which means His presence among us, by having faith that He is with us always, not physically of course. A glorified presence that makes us feel the existence of God in Him. This closeness to God offers us a kind of life that is different from what we used to, as if, we are in a presence of a lover with whom we interact joyfully by living our brotherhood and solidarity. Reaching this point of interactions means matching God’s design with the dreams of human beings in terms of dignity, happiness and joy. The resurrection teaches us that the love we carry in our hearts and live it passionately is what changes everything. We have seen people and groups such as orphans, widows, homeless and the elderlies, who were able to overcome their pain because somebody felt their soreness, loved them, and gave them a hope. When love fills our lives, just as it happened with Jesus, we become daughters and sons of God. Aren’t we praying daily (our Father who art in heaven …): “Everyone who loves, has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4: 7-8). We can understood love and live it to the full, only when we love each other, away from selfishness and personal interest. So, resurrection means that God loves us as a father and we are in His hands!
The question that Jesus asked Martha in the event of her brother’s death (John 11/26) was: Do you believe? The same question is directed to every one of us today in the amidst of all our tragedies, so as to change our way of thinking, dealing with life details: Do we believe in God, the Creator and Father of all human beings and not for one specific group of people? Do we believe that we are all brothers despite of our diversity, and that the land is our mother? Do we have hope, patience and energy to be stronger than strikes, insults, routine and frustration? Do we have the ability to forgive and forget the past to open a new page with whom we disagree? Do we understand properly God’s free and unlimited mercy toward all human beings? Therefore, the message of resurrection this year is to do good; be bridges for dialogue, reconciliation and peacemakers; and be a gateway to grace and blessings. Let us listen to Jesus Christ, when he called us to become peacemakers: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5: 9).
Hope is the “Bread” of Life
Iraq, is the Cradle of Civilization, country of fortune and glory, but has been transferred to a country of disasters by the wicked, who came for killing and robbing. As a result, Iraq lost its’ security, stability, wealth, as well as many of its’ citizens, who have been humiliated. The Iraqi people seek; security, stability; social, economic and cultural prosperity. Therefore, these tragedies must not lead us to give up, despair and frustration, but rather to look at these events by the eye of faith in addition to historical and political way of analysis.
Suffering is human beings “bread”, personal hardship, problems and difficult circumstances, come across the way in our life especially those who are serious and enthusiastic. However, our attitude towards them, will be reflected on our personality. Therefore, we can use it as a cause to unite and collaborate, away from differences in religion, race, color majority or minority. We should also grab this opportunity to meet, build trust, think and work hand-in-hand to put an end for our suffering, and forever, by accepting and respecting our diversity, since it is at God’s design for us. Our mission as human beings and believers is to serve others because they are our brothers and sacrifice ourselves for them, whoever are they, even if we will smashed like grapes. Every Iraqi should feel responsible morally and nationally for this situation and can contribute through individual and / or group initiatives. Let us follow the example of Gilgamish “the son” of our ancient civilization, before Christianity and Islam, who sailed to the other side of the world searching for an eternity herb for his friend Enkidu. Let us be motivated; to get out of the conventional mentality: to promote the concept of full citizenship; rehabilitation for peace building; and adopt the language of dialogue, affection and solidarity.
Voting is a National and Moral Responsibility
The upcoming Parliamentary Election is few days away, which is our golden opportunity to “change” and ensure a bright future for our people. Therefore, I urge all Iraqis to participate in voting for those who are the best and most suitable to make our dreams come true, in having Iraq prosperous and strong socially, economically, educationally and culturally. A civil state, in which the law protects and applies to everyone “equally”. Iraq is for all of us, is our identity and shelter. Religion is for God and must be protected from politicization and distortion. Religion respects persons and does not enslave them and the God in whom we believe is a loving and merciful Creator. He knows every one of us and loves us unconditionally. He wants us to love each other and to live as brothers and sisters with pride, freedom, dignity and happiness. He is the God of life, peace, love, mercy. So go and vote.
Happy Easter, Long live the Iraqi people! Long live Iraq.