Kairos Prayer for Peace at the Dominican Church in Jerusalem

Picture: 
Kairos Prayer for Peace and Launch of the Easter Alert at the Dominican Church in Jerusalem
Body: 

Dear Friends around the world,

We are in Holy Week, and pilgrims from all over the world have come to Jerusalem to prepare for Easter celebrations. But Palestinians from Bethlehem, Ramallah and other West Bank cities cannot. In a last minute decision, the Israeli Security Forces issued a travel ban for the time from Wednesday the 23rd until Saturday the 26th. Even Palestinian Christians - some of us were given special permits for Easter - have severe trouble in getting to Jerusalem and have to deal with a complicated and unclear permit system and inhuman controls.

Despite the Israeli closure of West Bank cities towards Jerusalem, Kairos Palestine held an Ecumenical Prayer for Peace and launched this year's Easter Alert, "Together towards the Year of Jubilee," on Wednesday, March 23rd. We were kindly hosted by the Dominican convent at St. Etienne Church, next to the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. The service was led by H.B. Bishop Atallah Hanna and the sermon was given by H.B. Patriarch emeritus Michel Sabbah - both prominent authors and members of the Kairos Palestine movement. Hind Khoury, KP Secretary General said in her statement: "We, Palestinian Christians, will not stop seeking the salvation promised to us through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem: a salvation from the mourning and sadness we feel with every Palestinian killed, held in prison or evicted from his or her home. As people of faith and conscience, we hold on to the promise of life with dignity." Guided by the Holy Gospel of Luke 4:18-19 we proclaim 2017 a year of Jubilee and will campaign for a year of salvation, a year to end the oppression of Palestinians and seeking a just truth.

We read in the gospel of Luke and in Prophet Isaiah: "The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me, to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim good news to the captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord" (Lk 4: 18-19).

This prophecy is in harmony with the spirit of the Jubilee, referred to in the Law of Moses, to be celebrated every 50th year. In the jubilee year everything has to be returned to its legitimate owner. This year of Jubilee is the acceptable time in which man comes back to God and to his brothers and sisters. It is the time people remove themselves from all oppression.

Kairos Palestine has wanted to see the passing of 49 years of occupation, as a year of jubilee. Next year is the 50th year of occupation. It should be the year in which the return to God and conversion must happen. Return and conversion means for the Israelis to end their occupation of the Palestinian land. It must be a year of liberation for them, the occupier, from the sin of the occupation. It should be a year of freedom for us, freedom based not on wars or weapons, but on the law of God, the same law that governs all human beings, Israelis as well as Palestinians. The law of God for us all is the law of love.

We have come to pray together for peace, to send a message of peace and love to all Palestinians, to the Israelis, and to the Churches of the world, who celebrate Easter and the triumph of Jesus’ Resurrection over evil and sin.

We pray for peace so that each one of us learns how to make peace in himself first. In the soul of each one of us, there is a war, with ourselves, with our own deviations, with people whom we love, or we do not love. We pray for peace, for learning to make peace in ourselves, and with all people with whom we live together; those who are near and those who are far. Peace is a power that imposes itself. War, instead, needs fighters and death makers to make it. Peace is a power that God gives and with it he changes hearts and people. We believe in what Jesus said, "Blessed are the peace makers, they will be called sons of God" (Mt 5: 9). We also believe in what he told us, that we are strong with his power. He said, "Whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works" (Jn 14: 12).

Kairos Palestine

 

(25 March 2016)