Christ is Risen!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Saturday 28 May 2022. Ukraine is already experiencing 94 days of nationwide resistance to open Russian aggression against our people and our state. And we thank the Armed Forces of Ukraine for surviving the last night, and that we are able to greet a new morning.
During the last day and last night, Ukraine was flowing with blood again. Very heavy fighting is taking place, in particular in Donbas, where the enemy has concentrated all its forces. The war is on land, in the sky, and at sea. And the impression is that the devil uses all possible military tools to destroy life in Ukraine and to kill. Heavy fighting is going on in the Luhansk region. A very intense attack is taking place around the city of Sievierodonetsk, which survived another night, despite the incomplete siege. Heavy fighting is also going on in the south of our homeland. A very powerful missile strike was inflicted on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia region, the Dnipropetrovsk region.
But despite such difficult moments, Ukraine does not lose hope, because we are praying. We believe in the Resurrection. We are the ones who really feel that only God’s power, along with the universal international support for Ukraine, gives us the opportunity to effectively stop and defeat our enemy.
Today I would like to reflect with you on another sin, which we call the sin through which we can become an accomplice in the evil of this sin of our neighbour. We continue the series of reflections on “other people’s sins”. And among them there is one very particular that is especially dangerous today. This sin is called “praising sin.”
When we talk about praise, in particular the praise of sin, we are talking about something much deeper and more serious than expressions of sympathy or even intellectual support. To praise, in the Christian sense, means to desire to become what you praise and glorify. Therefore, the early Christians were ready to die, rather than to praise idols. They were ready to die, rather than to sacrifice incense to the Roman emperor. In the Book of Revelation, which concludes the Scriptures, we see that the antichrist will demand praise from mankind and will demand that his deeds be praised in the same way that people praise God. And every time we praise crimes—because we try to justify to others why it was necessary to act in this situation; every time we praise dictators who have their hands stained with human blood; every time we praise evil—we become complicit in that evil through our praise.
The prophet Isaiah says, “Woe to those who call evil good and call good evil.” Too often we do not realize that we are in danger of praising evil and praising sin. That is why Christians of all times and all nations say that all praise and honour and worship is due to the one God.
Today, indeed, the crimes committed in Ukraine deserve unanimous condemnation. Anyone who today, whether at the international, economic, or even ecclesiastical level, is trying to justify, support, or praise the actions of Russian criminals is sadly at risk of being guilty of the very sin we are contemplating today.
Let us be very careful about what we say, what we praise, whom we exalt, whom we set as a role model. Because with our praise we multiply the patterns of criminal, sinful behaviour.
O God, give us Your Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of glorification! Teach us to glorify You alone. Teach us Christians of the new time to proclaim that all glory and honour belong to God alone. O God, bless all those who do good! Give us the strength to glorify and to praise the heroes, the heroes of love for God and for our neighbour of our time. O God, into Your hands we entrust the cities and villages of the Ukrainian Donbas! We entrust into Your hands the life and health of the defenders of Ukraine. Into Your hands we entrust the lives of all those who find themselves in the occupied territories and no longer have hope to receive help from anyone. O God, bless Ukraine!
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love for humankind, now and always, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!