LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD
A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
This year we have a wonderful opportunity to rejoice and be glad. The sad events in Ukraine, the gun violence in the United States, and the natural catastrophes in the World have broken our hearts and saddened our spirits. We need to be uplifted, comforted, and have a reason to hope. Ramadhan, Passover, and Easter all intersect this year as we eagerly await the arrival of Spring.
The conjunction of these three observances invites us to explore and rejoice in the three great Faith Traditions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
With its great fast, Ramadhan invites us to be well-fed by the Word of God. The Quran reminds us we are created differently, so we might meet one another. Passover reminds us of the liberation of the slaves from the oppression of those who would enslave others. The observance of Passover invites the people of the World to be free of any desire to hurt or oppress another. The blessed Feast of Easter tells the story of love rising from the dead. Hatred, anger, greed, and the lust for power pale in the wake of the rising of new life.
The courageous witness of those who observe and celebrate these feasts and seasons brings hope to our World. As these three great observances intersect in our time, let us commit ourselves to savor the beauty, wisdom, and gifts of each. Let us consciously and lovingly meet people who celebrate and observe these three wonderful events.
As these Feasts converge chronologically, the believers in the three great Abrahamic religions must do all in their power to meet one another in friendship, understanding, and mutual cooperation.
The history of conflict and division that often marked the history of these three religions must now be surpassed as together we work for justice and peace. Recall the words of Pope Francis, “Religions cannot be used for war. Only peace is holy and no one is to use the name of God to bless terror and violence. If you see wars around you, do not resign yourselves! The peoples desire peace. Peace is at the heart of the religions, their sacred writings and their teaching.”
Gratitude to you, Holy Community, for accepting the invitation to explore the depth of the Faith Traditions blessing us this year. May we stand together so justice might flourish, the children might be cherished, and the Earth respected.