The Chaldean primate invites us to deepen our understanding of scripture, to better understand the events of Holy Week. We must fight against intellectual poverty and spiritual decline. From the Church the example to be humble and know how to ask forgiveness. In a Muslim society find answers to the question: how to witness to Christ?
Baghdad (AsiaNews) - My invitation for Holy Week is to "read the texts of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection", to understand the events, even current ones, in a "better and deeper" way, writes Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, in a message addressed to priests and faithful of the Chaldean community in Iraq and in the world, on the occasion of Easter.
In the letter sent to AsiaNews for information, the Cardinal urged people "to renew our trust in Christ, our hope, our communion and our unity" so that we can all say aloud: "He is risen, Hallelujah".
In this week of fasting, reflection and prayer, Card Sako recalls the ongoing struggle against intellectual "poverty" and the "spiritual decline" present "in many institutions", often favored by overly-easy "access" to distorted information "from social media". This is a privileged time, he warns, "to move forward on the path of unity and to seek peace in the world".
"The Church needs more priests - the Chaldean primate admits - of men of prayer, leadership, wisdom, courage, service and sacrifice". People need, he adds, able to understand "cultural, social and political changes" and current challenges, to "live their priesthood with dedication, loyalty, creativity and joy", setting aside "complaints, coldness and boredom".
Renewing the invitation to work "for the sanctification of the Church", he urges priests and faithful to "work with passion, humility and sincerity". "Living in a 95% Muslim society - he adds - we must find an answer to the daily question: how can we be witnesses of the universal love of Jesus". And for the Iraqi nation and the entire Middle Eastern area, which are going through a "complex and problematic" phase, Christ's warning is valid: "Do not be afraid".
Christians, the cardinal said, must have faith in Jesus and nurture hope, a hope that is founded "on faith, otherwise it will be just an empty and meaningless word". "We have hope - he warns - because God loves us as his children" and the "sufferings of our Church must not weaken the attachment to our identity, to our roots and to the motherland".
Finally, the Chaldean primate recalls the importance of forgiveness in this period which is the most important in the life of the Church. "As human beings - he emphasizes - we cannot claim perfection, because we are weak and we make mistakes". However, what matters is that "we are humble enough to ask forgiveness. And I hope that each of us has the same courage that the Church has had in recognizing its mistakes! ".
"Nevertheless, - the Cardinal concludes - these errors do not deserve a criticism so fierce as to negatively influence the relationship between the faithful and the Church itself. [...] This is the point on which Pope Francis insists with greater strength and which asks all of us bishops to do".