AN EASTER MESSAGE FROM SABEEL
APRIL 6, 2001
As we approach Holy Week and Easter,
the suffering of Jesus Christ at the hands of evil political and religious
powers two thousand years ago is lived out again in Palestine. The number of innocent Palestinians and Israelis
that have fallen victim to Israeli state policy is increasing.
Here in Palestine Jesus is again
walking the via dolorosa. Jesus is
the powerless Palestinian humiliated at a checkpoint, the woman trying to get
through to the hospital for treatment, the young man whose dignity is trampled,
the young student who cannot get to the university to study, the unemployed father
who needs to find bread to feed his family; the list is tragically getting
longer, and Jesus is there in their midst suffering with them. He is
with them when their homes are shelled by tanks and
helicopter gunships. He is with them in their
towns and villages, in their pains and sorrows.
In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with
thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight
to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian
men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge golgotha.
The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.
Using the Gospel story one can put it
in a different and still very poignant way. Four things are clear today. Jerusalem still does not know what makes for peace; Jesus is
weeping and his tears are mixed with many other
people's tears; the number of people who are carrying their crosses is multiplying
phenomenally; and the women of Palestine as well as many Jewish women are weeping over the
many killed and wounded innocents. This is the reality of life today.
In the midst of this hopeless and
confusing situation, inundated with injustice and death, we refuse to give in
to despair. We want to affirm the power of resurrection and life. With St. Paul we can say this Easter, "That I may know him,
the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings…"
(Philippians 3:10). Our faith in God does not allow us to lose hope. The
resurrection of Christ remains the reality that inspires and empowers us. The
day will come, and we pray soon, when joy will replace grief, trust will remove
fear, justice will triumph over oppression, and reconciliation will supplant
alienation. The living Christ is urging us to stand firm and be
assured of the inevitability of the resurrection. We will,
therefore, continue in our struggle against the evil structures that
dominate and oppress. Our hope is in God. The resurrection is coming, and it
will bring with it the promise of a new life and liberation for all the people
of our land.
We count on your prayers and
solidarity. Thank you for your continued support.
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center