The Homily of His Beatitude John X In the Bright…
“Blessed is the stone that covered and revealed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! Blessed is That Who opens hearts like graves. Blessed is That who renders us faith through Resurrection, and Resurrection through faith witnessing that the Divine Body has risen! Here, the order of nature does not work anymore. The grave does not swallow the dead anymore, but death; the habitation of death becomes a life-giving chamber. Behold! It is a new kind of wombs that receives a dead and give birth to him alive”.
With these words Peter, Bishop of Raviena, summarizes the miraculous event of Resurrection, And our hearts, we, the Church of the Christ, beat out of joy, because of our Lord’s triumph over death that once dominated our nature. Our feast is the feast of the Godly love, and “the passing over unto heaven” as called in the liturgical text of Resurrection’s Matins. Today is the day of the Divine wisdom which achieved a victory seeking what she has lost once, she swept the world looking for her piece of silver, Man. Our feast today is the feast of Pascha, the feast of passing over from the old to the new man, who is overwhelmed with Godly love which fills him with anticipation, and descends him with Christ from the highest of His Cross to the depth of His grave, watching Him crashing the bands of death and the locks of hell, proclaiming to the whole world the tidings of triumph, shedding with the Myrrh-bearing women the tears of joy.
Our feast today is the feast of scattering the darkness in front of That who has risen from the tomb. Our eyes cry of joy today after being wounded of grief. Our feast today is the feast of Godly love transfiguration. Today the thorn of death has been broken and our anticipation to meet God shines. Today the shepherds’ joy has been accomplished, and the waiting of John the Baptist has been over. The feast today is the feast of Salome’s rejoicing, the happy tears of Mary Magdalene. It is the feast of Peter’s confession and Tomas’ certainty. It is the feast of Saul’s death and Paul’s resurrection. It is the feast of Caiaphas’ shame and the thief’s glory, the confusion of Pilate and the nobility of Longinus the centurion. Today is the day of hope and the spring of the creation which is saved by the honorable Blood. Our feast today is a spear that pierced the side of the Lord and came there out the fountain of Church’s life, a paschal spear that pierced the power of death, tearing desperation and giving life to everyone. Our feast today is a new grave that receives one of the dead, but becomes a womb that gives birth to the children of life, sending a light that overwhelms the whole universe.
The original meaning of Pascha is “passing over”. So, we hereby, pray and ask our Creator to make this feast as the Pascha of Syria and her passing over to the port of safety and tranquility. We ask you, O Lord of the world, to cover Syria with your mercy, and to dry the tears of our eyes which long to peace. Give us O God the light of your peace, teaching us that the tax of violence is more expensive than the tax of peace. Give everyone the wisdom to realize that Syria, which invented the letter deserves from our part and from the world’s part to the endeavor to remain the bride of the letter, not a place for terrorism and extremism. Moreover, the abduction of the bishops and the priests will not steal from us our hope that the country which has known once the beauty of peace will be back to its former glory, by God’s Will and by Syrian’s will. For God’s sake, tell us, what was the bishop’s fault? I will tell you what was it, it is the fact that they were messengers of peace, and it is our destiny, all of us, to be messengers of peace, not messengers of surrendering and submission to some currents that does not fit our way of thinking and the coexistence between us Muslims and Christians. We pray for our Lord to give Syria the spirit of His true peace. We ask you, O dear God to look with your mercy upon this beautiful country and to give its children the glimmer of your peace.
From the Mariamite of Damascus, we send the peace of Resurrection to Lebanon and to our children there. Lebanon is called upon to avoid the absence of authority and to consolidate the basics of citizenship through dialogue and coexistence. When talking about citizenship, it means to put the country above our personal calculations. When talking about citizenship, this means to look for the good of its inhabitant, using its sources for the benefit of people, without taking other interests in consideration. In the country case, our small cases should disappear, Then, and only then, citizenship will be manifested in its correct form.
From here, from the alter of the Mariamite Church, I raise my prayer to the almighty God for Iraq which suffers, like the other countries, under the yoke of bombs. We pray for our dear Egypt which passes a difficult period, for Palestine, the cradle of Jesus whose Resurrection we celebrate today. I raise my prayer for all East and the whole world, especially for our Antiochian children in Diaspora. I send them my greetings in Jesus who is risen from death, and my message for them is a message of gratitude as they are fulfilling their duty supporting their brothers in our country and helping them in this time of tribulation.
Give us, O Lord to pass, with your help, over the Cross of our country and to witness through your Resurrection the resurrection of our countries and our human, so we may cry, in the likeness of Saint John, the righteous son of Damascus:
“Yesterday, O Christ, I was buried with Thee, and today I arise with thy arising. Yesterday I was crucified with Thee. Glorify me, O Savior, with Thee in Thy Kingdom”.
Christ is risen! He his risen indeed!