Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is 7 April 2022 and Ukraine is experiencing forty-three days of terrible war.
But Ukraine is fighting. Moreover, Ukraine is fighting for the right to life, not only for her children, for her people, but for the right to life and respect for the life of every person in today’s turbulent world.
Today, we in Ukraine celebrate the Annunciation of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, which our Byzantine tradition calls the “beginning of our salvation”. Two weeks ago, on this holy day according to the Gregorian calendar, Pope Francis dedicated Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And in his word, the word of the Annunciation, the Holy Father in that event, the event of the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to the Immaculate Virgin in Nazareth, mentioned three words: “rejoice”, “do not be afraid”, and then “the Holy Spirit will descend upon you”.
What gracious, good news of God’s logic. God comes to become incarnate, to become human, to take on human history with all its drama. But He comes to tell us all, “Rejoice!”
When we are afraid, we are afraid because of loneliness, feelings of abandonment among that drama, the tragedies of the world, God tells us: “Do not be afraid.” When we feel powerless, helpless in the fight against evil, God says, “The power of the Most High will overshadow you.” The Feast of the Annunciation in times of war, indeed, today it is the key, the beginning, that is, the source of our salvation. Salvation of our Ukrainian people from the power of the murderous Russian hand.
These days, Ukraine and the world are once again shaking at the discovery of the war crimes of the Russian occupier. Yesterday, we learned that Russia, together with its artillery, missiles, and heavy weaponry, brought mobile crematoria to Mariupol, our city of martyrs. Day and night they burn the bodies of the innocent killed civilians. With this aggression, Russia, together with its army, brought to our lands death, the logic of death and war, and the logic of destruction. Europe saw this type of crematorium near civilian cities only during World War II. In Majdanek, in Oświęcim (or Auschwitz as it is known), and in other Nazi concentration camps. Thus, through the crematorium they rise again to heaven from the Ukrainian land. And this ideology of the final solution, that is, the destruction of the Ukrainian people, which numbers almost 60 million, repeats Nazi models, deaths under the authorities of the new order.
And today we see these two logics, the Divine and the human. The logic of life and the logic of death. Nevertheless we still look for and accept the logic of divine power. And we ask: Lord, let not the crematorium, but Your Holy Spirit descend on us, let the power of the Most High overshadow us. And just as after the Annunciation the Mother of God ran, she hurried to Elizabeth’s aid, we ask on this holy day: O Mother of God, save us! Hasten to help Ukraine! May the power of the Almighty save our future in Ukraine and the world!
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love for humankind, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Video in Ukrainian with the Spanish subtitles