Christ is Risen!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Thursday 19 May 2022 and the Ukrainian people have been fighting against full-scale Russian aggression for 85 days.
The war continues. Bombs and rockets continue to fall from the sky upon our peaceful cities and villages. According to reports from the front, we know that today the largest fighting is taking place in eastern Ukraine, in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. But the military gave us encouragement today, informing us that the Russians had completely failed in their offensive in four directions. And our army is successfully defending our homeland.
But air strikes on various parts of Ukraine, where people would like to live a peaceful life, continue. Air strikes on Odessa region, Dnipropetrovsk region, Mykolayiv region. We especially pray for the city of Mariupol, for those people who still need the special attention of the world community. We pray for all those who are in the occupied territories of Kherson, Melitopol, Berdyansk, and in all those towns and villages that today are cut off by the invaders from the body of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
We pray especially today and want to help all those affected by this war in different ways, especially the forcibly displaced persons, those who are far from home, those who are wounded. We pray for those soldiers of ours who have been taken prisoner by the enemy.
But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is conquering. And the whole world today sees the real will of Ukraine to be a free and independent state.
Today I would like to reflect with you on another work of mercy for the soul of our neighbour. The work of mercy that best reflects God’s mercy, God’s love for all of us. This work sounds like this: “To forgive offences.” Of course, when others do us harm and evil, we are offended in a human way. All evil, especially injustice, hurts us. But this act of mercy, on the one hand, teaches us to overcome evil with our love. This act of mercy tells us that when the Lord God loves the person, He is not limited and does not depend on the influence of the person’s attitude toward Him. God’s love is greater than the sins and insults that a person can inflict upon Him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God’s love heals our sins, our hatred. The Lord God is pained by the fact that man’s evil first falls on his own head. When a person sins and offends the Lord God, first of all the person hurts themself. And God’s mercy saves man from his own evil. When we treat our neighbours the way the Lord God treats us or does unto us, we reflect His presence among us in a particular way.
Forgiveness from the heart, especially in our personal relationships, means overcoming the evil that someone else could do to me. It is humanly true that when someone insults me, he may not even notice it. But the insult I carry in my heart against my neighbour, first of all, creates wounds and oppresses me. But when I forgive this insult from my heart, I throw this inner evil out of my own heart and the offence no longer hurts
me. Moreover, by forgiving with our love, we destroy evil and sin. Thus, let us not let our insults destroy us from within. May our insults disappear with the power of God’s love which we are able to pass on to others.
O God, bless Ukraine! O God, heal the wounds inflicted on the souls of Ukrainians by this difficult war! O God, teach us to forgive, in particular our neighbours, our loved ones! Let small or large insults not undermine our families, our parishes, our communities. May every insult be overcome by the power of forgiveness in the name of God, as a work of mercy for the soul of our neighbour.
O God, bless Ukraine! Bless the Ukrainian army! Bless all those who help each other! Bless all those who struggle with their own insults! Bless all those who are defending our homeland today! Bless the Ukrainian people!
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love for mankind, now and always, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!