04/14/2022, 14.01
IRAQ
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Sako: at Easter Christians, Muslims, Jews united against a 'devastating' war

by Louis Raphael Sako*

In his Easter message, the Chaldean Primate underlines the "dangerous moment" that could lead to a world conflict. An invitation to political and religious leaders to use "diplomatic means" to avert further escalation. Christians flock to celebrate the liturgies, from the plain of Nineveh to Baghdad.

 

 

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - The world is in the midst of a "dangerous moment" that could lead to a "devastating world war" with "heavy repercussions" on the entire "political process".

The Easter moment thus becomes an opportunity to invite "all believers" Christians, Jews and Muslims (who celebrate Ramadan at this time) to look at "the tragedy in Ukraine and in the countries of the Middle East," to their "humiliation" in order to find new ways of peace, writes the Chaldean Primate, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, in his message to priests and faithful of the community in Iraq and around the world, on the occasion of Easter.

In the letter, the cardinal invites "presidents, religious authorities and the whole of society" to use "diplomatic means" and not conflict to "solve problems" and stop "the production of lethal weapons." 

For Iraqi Christians it will be a Holy Week of rebirth, after the dark years of war, emigration, violence perpetrated by the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) and the closures imposed in the previous two years for the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a first moment of communal celebration on Palm Sunday, with packed services and crowds of thousands as had not been seen for some time.

Both in Baghdad and in the plain of Nineveh, where there is a slow but steady return of families that once fled because of the jihadists. A testament to a Christianity that is still alive in the region. "Every believer in God, and Christians in particular, must reject - observes Card. Sako - the logic based on 'war-death', because it clashes with the logic of love, peace and life." Below, the message of the Chaldean Patriarch:

 

Easter celebration this year reminds us, more than any other time, of God’s love for mankind, His closeness and His vast mercy to all, through the resurrection of Christ, which is an affirmation for brighter future and salvation of humanity, as long as it proceeds according to His teaching. His resurrection comes “to shine from heaven on all those who live in the dark shadow of death, to guide our steps into the path of peace) Luke 1/ 79).

Jesus’ resurrection is a consolation and a hope for us. Moreover, it is a “deposit” for the resurrection of all those who believe in Him. Ultimately His Gospel is a message of hope, reminding us of important things in our lives. The passion of Christ is a new birth, a glorious resurrection. and an establishment of a new congregation (Church).

Resurrection is an invitation to enter into a new era, and a new covenant, in which we love each other sincerely, and cooperate enthusiastically with impartiality, to be always present next to each other, following the example of Jesus’ disciples whose love brought them together when He was risen and shared what they owned freely.

I wonder why the Christian spiritual values disappeared in most of our societies. What have we done with the teaching of Christ, who called us to love everyone, including our enemies? What have we done with the values of fraternity, peace, stability, respect and the common good? It is a shame that our spirituality is getting poor. Why did our societies, especially the Western ones abandoned Christian Values?

The Church must work hard to restore these values so that our world may enjoy peace, security, justice in a spirit of love. The Church should reflect the light of the Gospel on the current affairs that shape the life of our societies. Otherwise, it will remain “idle - Out of order”.

Believers of all religions should communicate with every human being, regardless of his religion, sect or nationality, to reach an understanding and fraternal cooperation, fulfilling Christ’s statement “you are all brothers” which has been reflected in Pope Francis’ message “We are all brothers”, encouraging us to build a new world and a new civilization that defends human fraternity, human dignity and mutual respect.

Every believer in God, and Christians in particular, must reject the logic of “war-death” because it crosses with the logic of love, peace and life.

Presidents, religious authorities and the whole society should work hard to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, to resolve problems through diplomatic means rather than fighting. Enough wars, casualties, grief, destruction, migration, poverty and diseases. There should be an end for the production of lethal weapons here and there. Isn’t “natural” that such evil act creates guilt conscience that disturbs world's political officials? since every honest person would have reject this hell.

We are going through the “dangerous moment” that may lead to a devastating world war (God forbid), and will have serious impact on the entire political process. Therefore, I invite all believers, Christians and Muslims (as they are currently fasting Ramadan) and Jews as well to look at the tragedy in Ukraine and Middle East countries, their humiliation, and the “harsh” dismantling of its beautiful mosaic.

Finally, and regarding Iraq, our beloved country: the political forces must assume national responsibility in adopting the language of dialogue and mutual understanding, which is the only way to get out of the troubling “political blockage” in order to form a national government capable of real reform as soon as possible, because our Citizens are getting extremely tired and exhausted.

Hoping that the light emanating from Jesus tomb, enlightens our minds and spirits, so we may rise with Jesus Christ, and let our human senses enjoy “once in our life time” freedom, solidarity and fraternity.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter and peace on earth.

* Cardinal Patriarch of Baghdad of the Chaldeans

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