Catholic New Agency, covering the Pope’s morning Mass, headlined their summary of his homily as “Dark moment reminded Pope to seek God’s will above success”. What is clear from their story, however, is the Pope is not happy with a triumphant Church or with triumphant Christians. He said,
“Triumphalism in the Church, impedes the Church. Triumphalism among Christians impedes Christians. A triumphalist, half-way Church, that is a Church that is content with what it is or has, well sorted – well organized – with all its offices, everything in order, everything perfect, no?”
How does this relate to Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land? Well, having been there I can tell you that it’s hard for a persecuted Church to be triumphalist. Not impossible. But hard.
It’s doesn’t take much imagination to see my point. Christians are leaving the Holy Land in alarming numbers and have been doing so for quite some time. Some might say the Church in the Holy Land has failed. Those who say so lack hope. May they find it through faith.
“A Church that only thinks about triumphs (and) successes, does not know that rule of Jesus: the rule of triumph through failure, human failure, the failure of the Cross,” the Pope said.
Jesus suffered and died in Jerusalem. It would make sense that his apparent failure would still be visible even today. Working and praying to end the plight of the Palestinian Christians is not to remove the suffering of Christians. It is to infuse those same Christians with faith, hope and love in the midst of their suffering, encouraging them to remain and witness to the good news. Holy Spirit… fortitude we pray.
الإخوة والأخوات والمثابرة!