INFORMATIVE BULLETIN OF THE PAPHOS LATIN PARISH
Για Ελληνικά κάνετε κλικ εδώ
The Resurrection is a cosmic event!
For Christians, memory is too lofty and noble a sanctuary to be defiled by human sin.
This is what Saint Pope John-Paul II said, among others, while he was visiting Greece, in May 2001.
Indeed, the memory of the Christian is lit by the remembrance of Christ’s Resurrection! The Resurrection is the decisive event which shines upon the Church’s memory and which remains her permanent message: Christ is risen! The same Jesus who died upon the cross has defeated death and is now alive! Not only that, but he has opened the door of Life to all of us who listen to his voice!
Let us, therefore, spare no effort in making it possible for memory once again to illuminate the great things which God has done for us. Let us lift our gaze from human pettiness and sin, and let us contemplate the Risen Christ.
Our memory gets purified when we let it be imbued with the presence of the Risen Lord. Bitterness, anger and remorse have no place in us if we wish to be free from the sins of the past.
Self-knowledge is only possible when we share in a greater memory, says Pope Francis. We do share in the memory of the Apostles, in the memory of the Church! So, we do not forget the past, but we strip the past traumatic events of their power to still harm us, when we have as our point of reference the cosmic event that changed history forever, i.e. the Resurrection of the God-Man.
I pray that out of his glorious riches God may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.
(Eph. 3: 16-19)
The Easter eggs
Because many are the faithful who abstain from eating eggs during the Lenten season, ways had to be found for the eggs to be preserved and eaten at the time of Easter.
The custom of the coloured Easter eggs is very old and its explanation goes beyond the practicalities of daily life.
Actually there is a theological backdrop to this custom: the hard-boiled egg signifies the Tomb of Christ.
The “bashing” of the eggs remind us of Christ’s victory over death; when the shell cracks open new life springs forth.
The red colour—the traditional colour in the Greek world—symbolizes the Blood of the Passion of the Lord.
The multi-coloured Easter eggs, very popular in Eastern Europe, refer to the gifts of God and divine grace which embellish our inner life.
The old is destroyed, however, new life springs from death.
The mystery of Jesus
Jesus is historical but he goes beyond history. Considering the number and the convergence of the documents concerning him and the abundance of the manuscripts that have transmitted to us his Gospel, we must admit there is no other personality of his time on whom we are so well informed. Yet, “sign of contradiction” as he announced it himself, he remains the occasion of a millenary dispute that every generation deems useful to take on in its turn at its own cost.
The fact is that this man of a small people without culture renewed in one thrust the base of philosophy and opened to the future world a field of thought hitherto unknown.
This humble son of a disillusioned nation, born in the obscure canton of a small Roman province, this Jew without a name, similar to so many others whom the Procurators of Cesar despised, speaks with such a powerful voice and covers the voices of the Emperors themselves. Here are the surprises history may still admit.
His life, such as it is told to us, is woven of miracles. It all bursts with supernatural evidence. Were those supernatural facts to be separated from the fabric of his existence would deny his whole existence, would put into doubt the word of all his existence. To take them away would be to tear apart that same fabric.
Even more amazing: this life that terminated in anguish returns in an astonishing manner. This dead man lives again: he speaks, acts, shows himself to those who had known him alive; This supreme challenge to logic his disciples will claim as their most solemn witness, the most unquestionable. “If Christ is not risen, Saint Paul will cry, our proclamation is vain, vain also is our faith!” (1 Cor. XV, 14). History must either refuse Christianity or accept the Resurrection.
(From the Introduction of “Jesus in his time” by Catholic historian Daniel Rops)
Centered on truth
What is truth? Pilate was not alone in dismissing this question as unanswerable and irrelevant for his purposes. Today too, in political argument and in discussion of the foundations of law, it is generally experienced as disturbing. Yet if man lives without truth, life passes him by; ultimately he surrenders the field to whoever is the stronger.
“Redemption” in the fullest sense can only consist in the truth becoming recognizable. And it becomes recognizable when God becomes recognizable. He becomes recognizable in Jesus Christ.
In Christ, God entered the world and set up the criterion of truth in the midst of history.
Truth is outwardly powerless in the world, just as Christ is powerless by the world’s standards: he has no legions; he is crucified. Yet in his very powerlessness, he is powerful: only thus, again and again, does truth become power.
In the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate, the subject matter is Jesus’ kingship and, hence, the kingship, the “kingdom”, of God.
In the course of this same conversation it becomes abundantly clear that there is no discontinuity between Jesus’ Galilean teaching—the proclamation of the kingdom of God—and his Jerusalem teaching.
The center of the message, all the way to the Cross—all the way to the inscription above the Cross—is the kingdom of God, the new kingship represented by Jesus. And this kingship is centered on truth.
“Jesus of Nazareth”, Part II, page 230, by Benedict XVI
The treasury of memory
It is evident how historical oblivion bears a danger for the integrity of human nature in all its dimensions.
The Church, called by God the Creator to fulfil the duty of defending mankind and its humanity, has at heart an authentic historical culture, the effective progress of historical sciences.
Indeed, high-level historical research also concerns the specific interest of the Church in a strict sense.
Even when it does not precisely concern Church history, historical analysis commonly concurs with the description of that vital space in which the Church has carried out, and carries out, her mission down the ages.
Undoubtedly, her life and ecclesial activity have always been determined, facilitated or made more difficult by the various historical contexts. The Church is not of this world, but lives in it and by means of it.
Its essential duty, in fact, turns out to be the complex mission to investigate and clarify that process of reception and transmission, through which was substantiated, in the course of the ages, the Church’s raison d’être.
Indeed, it is beyond a doubt that the Church can draw inspiration for her choices by drawing on her centuries-old treasury of experience and memory.
Benedict XVI, 7/3/2008, to members of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences
The Day of Easter
Clearest skies promised the late cool star of dawn. Cloud or mist did not traverse the least part of the sky. Thence slowly moved and blew upon the face the sweet breeze. As if it softly murmured in the heart: Life is sweet, but death is total blackness.
Christ is Risen! Youth and elders, maidens, all, young and old get ready: inside the laurel-strewn churches under the light of joy together gather. Open your peace-bearing arms in front of the Saints and kiss each other. Kiss sweetly friends and foes, lips to lips, and say: Christ is Risen!
Laurels are on every tomb and beautiful babes in their mothers lap. Looking at the painted icons, sweet-voiced cantors sing. Shines the silver and shines the gold in the light the candles shed. Every face is sheeny from the holy candle, which the Christians in their hand do hold.
(By Dionysios Solomos, 1798-1857, the National poet of Greece. Editor’s translation)
Did you know…
«Ευαγγέλιον» means the news, the good news. The Jewish usage (conserved in the pontifical diplomacy in the case of the Encyclicals for example) was to name a text by its first word(s): the most ancient narrative, the one of Saint Mark, began with this word: Ευαγγέλιον (Gospel). Initially, the Greek word Evangelion was employed signifying at the same time the good news as well as the tip one gave to the messenger. It was later reduced to its first meaning
In the Greek version of the Seventy the verb “to evangelize” is used for the Messianic announcement of the good news (Isaiah XI 9, LXX 7, XL 27). In the New Testament the term has an even more complex meaning: the Gospel is at the same time the good news that Jesus reveals and incarnates, as well as the promise of salvation it brings. ”The Gospel, therefore, is a religious testimony, a document of faith coming forth in a way-as we have seen- from those primitive communities that transmitted the living tradition. It is very clear, at the same time, the Gospel is the result of individual labour, bearing the deep personal marks of its authors. It is an authentic literary work having four authors; each one follows a plan, having his personal style, obeying to the same intentions. According to the Christian faith they are inspired books i.e. their authors produced them having received a supernatural impulse and having been assisted as they wrote, “in such a way that they exactly conceived, wanted to report with fidelity and expressed with real infallibility all that God ordained them to write and only that” (Encyclical “Providentissimae Deus” of Leo XIII).
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