From Jerusalem: "But your sadness will turn into joy"

on 12 Oct, 2023
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Jerusalem (Israel), 10/12/2023, Sr. Luz Mery Chaverra Rodríguez.- For us believers, Gospel message always brings joy, encouragement and hope in the midst of many events of this world where we experience anxiety, sadness and depression. In Jerusalem and throughout the land of Israel, we are going through one of those moments when it becomes quite complicated to understand Jesus' promise in John 16:20, "you will be sad, but your sadness will be turned into joy".

Saturday morning, October 7, in Israel, atmosphere around invited for joy, joy, joy... Jews were celebrating a very special Shabbat, the festival of Simchat Torah, in which they express the joy of singing and dancing, rejoicing at the end of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings.

Whereas for us, in the House of Abraham, the flowers, music, invitations, meal - everything was ready for the celebration of the feast of Saint Abraham. A few minutes before the Eucharist at 11 am, we began to hear alarm, sirens of war and signals in the sky indicating the route of thousands of missiles. And through the means of communication, the whole country understood that Israel has been attacked through sky, land and sea and that this was the beginning of many days of pain and suffering for all; that the feast day was becoming one of deep mourning.

Pain and suffering hit all Israelis, Palestinians and foreigners; all became victims of these consequences of violence, hatred, lack of tolerance and lack of forgiveness. We were in the midst of a war that began about five decades ago and seems endless. Because when the mind and heart become darkened by these feelings, the forces of love are exhausted and the meaning of Jesus' promise changes: Joy becomes sadness and mourning.

But there is always a light that shines in all adverse circumstances. We trust in God who always saves those who hope in Him; many people have carried His voice and sustained us in hope with their appeals, messages and voices of solidarity. Sisters from all the provinces, families, friends, volunteers, pilgrims who have passed through this house, some of whom we don't know yet because they have only taken their reservations for the following months, have showed us their presence and support.

It was also providential to inspire the General Government to make this the right moment for the Canonical Visit to Jerusalem. The simple, open, near and fraternal qualities of sisters Mariamma Paul and Martha Mendieta were of great support for us. Thank you so much for them and for all of you.

A promise of prayer in every message means a lot, because it speaks to us of a sisterhood that heals and strengthens us in our faith. And let us unite ourselves to these two peoples in the same prayer that one day they may understand and assume that they are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same Father, that they can share this promised land in peace and will continue to allow those who visit this country to experience that they are walking through a sacred place, that they are visiting the Holy Land.

We continue to trust that our sadness will be transformed into joy; we remain confident that God continues to guide his people along paths of peace and love; we believe in the strength and power of prayer.