The hope of peace: Easter message of Fra’ Marco Luzzago
Dear confreres and consoeurs, dear volunteers and supporters of the Order of Malta around the world, I wish you and your families a very happy Easter.
We find ourselves once again living this time when we Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with a sense of dismay in the face of the terrible news and images coming out of neighbouring Ukraine. Every day we learn of senseless violence: missiles targetting unarmed civilians, cities destroyed, rape, torture and murder. There is a growing sense of powerlessness and pain in the face of this brutality, this lack of humanity.
Pope Francis’ words on Palm Sunday, however, offer us hope and above all remind us of the principles of the Church’s teaching.
“When we resort to violence, we show that we no longer know anything about God, who is our Father, or even about others, who are our brothers and sisters. We lose sight of why we are in the world and even end up committing senseless acts of cruelty. We see this in the folly of war – where Christ is crucified yet another time – in mothers who mourn the unjust death of husbands and sons. He is crucified in refugees who flee from bombs with children in their arms. He is crucified in the elderly left alone to die; in young people deprived of a future; in soldiers sent to kill their brothers and sisters. Christ is crucified there, today”.
Let us cultivate together the hope for Ukraine, as well as for the many countries torn by wars and internal conflicts – from Syria to Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Ethiopia – that the weapons will be laid down, that the bombs will stop exploding and peace will be restored.
From the pandemic crisis to the war in Ukraine, our members, volunteers and humanitarian workers have put into practice the values of justice and brotherhood expressed by the Order of Malta with conviction and courage. They are now working in and outside Ukraine to provide relief and assistance to fleeing refugees. Trucks loaded with basic necessities regularly reach western Ukraine where our operators are in charge of distribution. Food and medicines are distributed daily. Medical, social and logistical assistance is offered to refugees who have fled their homeland. In the host countries, the Order of Malta provides them with support and helps them to integrate.
My gratitude goes to all those who have personally sacrificed themselves in these weeks to manage this humanitarian emergency.
It comforts me to think of my next pilgrimage to Lourdes, after an absence of three years due to the pandemic. In that holy place I will pray for peace and coexistence among peoples, together with the many members and volunteers who will join the pilgrimage in the first days of May.
Once again, I appeal to all of you to pray for Pope Francis and for the success of our constitutional reform.
I renew to all of you and to your families my best wishes for a peaceful Holy Easter.