12/24/2020, 09.29
HOLY LAND
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May Jesus overcome fear of Covid that paralyzes the world

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Msgr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa has recovered from the coronavirus and been cleared to preside over the Christmas Eve celebration in Bethlehem. The pandemic has erased the pilgrims who "bring a smile to many families". Christ is "the only logical response to the sad reality of our world".

Bethlehem (AsiaNews) - The new coronavirus pandemic and "the fear that derives from it" have marked "the civil and religious life" of the Holy Land and "seems to have paralyzed us". 2020 "was a year characterized by fear: health, economy, and even politics ... everything seems to have been overturned by this small but powerful virus" which "canceled projects" and "left us disoriented".

This is what the new Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins Pierbattista Pizzaballa writes in the message to the faithful for Christmas. Indeed, he himself recovered from Covid-19 and only received the green light from the Israeli health authorities to preside over the celebrations on 22 December last. "It is a huge challenge - he continues it is a huge challenge to live without fear in our world, a world with its dynamics that never cease to feed so much anxiety."

His Beatitude will lead the mass to be held in the evening in the Basilica of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, in a community that has been overturned by the pandemic and which has emptied churches and places of worship like never before, even at the time of the second intifada. The patriarch himself in recent days wanted to communicate in a note that he will be celebrating, following the authorization of the Israeli Ministry of Health, which allowed him to conclude the quarantine. He took the opportunity to thank those who "have expressed solidarity and prayer in this period".

Addressing the faithful, Patriarch Pizzaballa affirms that " he eyes of the body see all the reasons for fear. However, the eyes of the Spirit see the signs that God provides to man: the signs of His presence, His hidden strength, His kingdom, that arise within us when we give Him room." "We will not have tremendous and striking proofs. " he continues, because the "sign of the beginning of the new Kingdom" will be "a child in a manger".

He continued: “It is a sign that we can easily let slip; we can pass by without even realizing it because we are so wrapped up in our anxieties and fears. We close our minds so willingly in our human perspectives that we do not recognize God’s presence; we do not make room for faith in Him: “there was no room in the hotel” (Lk 2:7). Fear prevents us from opening up, and so we become sterile instead of responding to our call to become bearers of God.”

In this context in which " Everything is reduced to the essential minimum, and there is nothing of the festive atmosphere that usually characterizes this period: no more pilgrims, who brought their joy to Bethlehem from all over the world for the birth of the Savior, bringing a smile to many families, who have now been out of work for several months; we cannot meet in large numbers in the community for liturgical celebrations; we have been unable to meet with the different groups that organize parties and meetings in this period; in short, we have a low profile Christmas, one to forget.”

However, concludes Patriarch Pizzaballa, " Jesus came to overturn our thoughts, to surprise our expectations, to shake our existence, to awaken us from the illusion that everything is known, everything is under control, that discouragement is the only logical answer to the sad reality of our world. [...] Let the Holy Spirit guide us to recognize once again, in the face of adversity, the sign of His presence in our reality.”

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