Christ is Risen!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Sunday 8 May 2022 and Ukraine is already experiencing 74 days of full-scale military aggression against our state and our Ukrainian people.
The enemy continues its offensive on Ukraine. Ukraine is flowing with blood again. Ukrainian cities and villages are experiencing enemy bombings and rocket attacks. Intense battles are being fought in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Ukrainian Kharkiv is fighting very successfully, trying to drive the enemy away from its borders.
Yesterday, Ukrainian Odesa suffered a missile strike of a special force. Odesa needs our prayers and to be remembered and our support. Heroic Mariupol is standing. Yesterday we received news that almost all people were evacuated from this Azovstal plant, children, women, and the elderly. But the defense of Mariupol continues. Today we pray that the wounded may be evacuated, those who are truly suffering the most today and need our prayerful attention.
But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is defending the world with its great sacrifices. Ukraine amazes the world with its heroism, its resilience. Because Ukraine is praying. She knows how to pray, she knows how to believe in God and completely trust Him with her life, her future.
Yesterday, you and I began to reflect on the good deeds that are essential to our spiritual, psychological, and moral health, especially in such an inhuman war. And we know that such deeds are the deeds that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself described in the Gospel of Matthew when He spoke of the Last Judgment. Every deed we have done for our neighbour, He says, “you have done this to Me.” Every time we fed the hungry, we honoured Christ Himself Incarnate and present in this hungry person.
Today I want to reflect with you on another good deed, which says: “To give drink to the thirsty.” We know that without food a person can live for some time, but without water one can live for only a few days. Water is an important element for a person, it supports their life. It is no wonder that in the Scriptures water is always a symbol of life itself, a symbol of the grace of the Holy Spirit, a symbol of a person’s deeper thirst, which is always thirsty for God. “As the deer seeks the springs of water, so my soul longs for the living God,” says the psalmist David. Thirst is a basic human need. But at the same time it is a symbol, a call, a manifestation of the person’s thirst for the only, eternal source of their life, which is the Lord God.
In the conditions of war, in particular, in Ukraine, we see that human access to clean water is a necessary condition for survival. We see, especially in large cities experiencing bombing, access to drinking water is becoming a paramount humanitarian need. Huge high-rise buildings after their bombing turn into reinforced concrete traps, without light, and without heat. And when they are without water, you really cannot live there.
Even when we supply various types of food, people do not have the opportunity to cook them and are not able to consume them. Therefore today Mykolayiv fights for water, calls to the whole world for help that it might be possible to open new sources of water, that there might be something to drink. Even when water supply is restored in large cities, it is not always drinkable. We take care of various means of water purification, in particular, we held a whole campaign in Kharkiv so that people could meet their basic needs.
We ask all those who really want to help Ukraine to help us gain access to drinking water, especially where there is the greatest need.
I remember the head of the Chernihiv city military administration saying that although the city has water sources, it is considering creating a strategic water supply so that in case of danger it is possible to survive under siege for this whole large city.
We ask: O God, we thirst only for You! You are also the source of living water! Open Yourself, open access to the living water of the Ukrainian people!
Today, Europe and the world are celebrating the day of reconciliation in Europe, the day of the end of World War II. Today we also join in prayers for all those who died in that terrible World War II, in particular in Ukraine, which is called the “Bloodlands.”
We pray in Ukraine for peace, because we not only need to win the war, but also to have victory over war, over the spirit of war so that those who plan wars, who carry the spirit of war and try to spread it in the modern world may be expelled from the world community and have no more place among people.
O God, bless Ukraine with peace! O God, bless Ukraine with Your personal presence as the source of everlasting water! O God, bless our Ukrainian army, which protects the lives of our Ukrainians! O God, bless the Ukrainian people!
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.
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!