Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Friday 3 June 2022 and Ukraine is already experiencing 100 days of this great war that Russia has brought to the suffering, long-suffering Ukrainian land. Ukrainians have been defending their land for a hundred days. For a hundred days, Ukrainians have been holding back the Russian invasion, which exceeds all the resources which we have to oppose it. But these were 100 days of the great manifestation of God’s presence among us.
Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. And on the hundredth day we have good news from the front. Our troops repulsed the enemy in four directions. In the south of our homeland in the Kherson region, more than 20 settlements were liberated. In this way, Ukraine shows its strength and will to be free and independent. And the Ukrainian people show their steadfastness in this struggle and amaze the world with it. But for each day of this resistance, the Ukrainian people pay the highest price. Yesterday, the President of Ukraine reiterated that at least 100 Ukrainian soldiers die every day, and 400 to 500 of our soldiers are wounded. Blood flows throughout the Ukrainian land.
We believe that the Lord God is the One upon Whom we can and should place our hope. And today, on this hundredth day of the war, we begin the first day of the “Decade of Mission.” In these 10 days of waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit, our Church prays for a missionary spirit, prays to be able to share its faith with those who are not yet Christians today and did not encounter Jesus Christ.
Today, the Holy Gospel, the Word of God, which is the source of Christ’s Truth for us today, tells us about the conversation between Christ and His disciples at the Mystical Supper. And then Philip said to Jesus, “Show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied” (John 14:8). This apostle reveals the deepest desire of every person—to know his Creator, to know his Saviour. This is the deepest desire of every person, which they must realize in their life. And so, Christ says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life … Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? … Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?” (John 14:9–10) That desire, the desire to know the source, the source of their existence, is rooted in the life quest of each person. And this is the task of Christ’s disciples. The task of a believer who is called to missionary service in the Church is to show the way, to point out the path that is truth and life. When we talk about the way to know the Father, we are preaching Christ. When we talk about the search for truth, the understanding of what happens to a person, even in a brutal war, we are pointing to Christ. When we seek the fullness of life, when we desire to live, to live even in times of deadly military invasion, we preach Christ.
Today I want to invite everyone to walk this path of the Decade of Mission. I want to invite everyone to pray for all our priests, monks, nuns, and lay people who preach Christ to those who do not yet know Him. This is the missionary work of our Church. I ask you for a special prayer for our soldiers. They are special witnesses for us today, witnesses of God’s presence, because there are no atheists on the front line. Even unbelievers feel that there is Someone on the border between life and death, and Christians know who He is and point to the living God present in us in His Son Jesus Christ.
Today we pray for all those who do not yet know the true way, who are still seeking God.
O God, help us to fulfill our missionary vocation! O God, bless Ukraine! O God, grant joy to Your children through encountering You! O God, You are our Truth, You are our Life, let us live in You to know You, to encounter You, to help the whole world know You.
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of humankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!