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A view of Jerusalem shows the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqusa mosques compound and the Abbey of the Dormition on Mount Zion in Jerusalem A view of Jerusalem shows the Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqusa mosques compound and the Abbey of the Dormition on Mount Zion in Jerusalem  (AFP or licensors)

Jerusalem's Latin Patriarch calls for peace and forgiveness in the Holy City

On Pentecost Sunday Patriarch Pizzaballa calls for peace and forgiveness in Jerusalem.

By Lisa Zengarini

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, focused his homily for Pentecost Sunday on the theme of unity. Speaking at the Basilica of the Dormition, he reminded the faithful that the “work of the Spirit is an event of communion” that “creates a fraternity, composes differences” and “it is at the origin of the Church”.

The gift of the Spirit and the gift of forgiveness

“The new life of the Spirit is a life no longer lived in the solitary search for one's own fulfilment, but in the encounter with the brother with whom life is shared: it cannot be lived if it is not in turn communicated, shared, given, because this very life, in itself, is nothing but a gift”, the Archbishop Pizzaballa said. “If we hold it back and if we possess it, the Spirit is extinguished, and we return to death. For this reason – he added - closely linked to the gift of the Spirit is the gift of forgiving sins (Jn 20:23) or the ability not to let evil overwhelm man, destroying his relationships”.

Divisions in Church and society

However, the Patriarch noted that human reality is different, starting from the heart of Christianity: “Here in Jerusalem, we certainly see the Churches in their diversity, but not so united. We are witnessing divisions of all kinds, in the Church, in society, in politics, in families. We have just emerged from yet another cycle of violence, a cause of resentment and profound frustration”, he said referring to the recent spate of violence in the Holy City resulting in the new bloody 11-day war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. “It seems that the Spirit in Jerusalem is unable to break through the heart of its inhabitants”, he commented.

Activities of unity, sharing and mutual love still exist  

On the other hand, the Patriarch also called attention to the “many beautiful realities”, that still exist in the Holy Land: “Refusing or being unable to see the many people, institutions, activities of unity, sharing and mutual love that still exists among us, is a way of extinguishing the Spirit with which we have been marked”, he pointed out. 

Pentecost calls us to build unity, sharing, love and peace

He furthermore emphasized that: “Pentecost calls us to become those who build unity, sharing, love, peace. Those are a gift that comes from above, but which must be built with our hands, our commitment and our sincere desire. The Spirit is the power that sustains us, but it cannot replace our free choice to live as children of God”, he reminded

Archbishop Pizzaballa concluded his homily with a prayer: “May the Lord forgive our infidelities, make us in turn capable of mutual forgiveness and support us in our common desire to become operators of the action of the Spirit and builders of unity and peace in the world.”

24 May 2021, 19:10