Indian Bishop: Christ Is Working Through the Tragedy of Martyrdom
‘The Lord … is weeping with us for his lost brothers, sisters, father, mother. Just as his shameful death led to the glorious Resurrection, these currents events will lead to a new reign of God,’ said Bishop George Pallipparambil.
MIAO, India — In his Easter letter released this week, Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao reflected on Christ’s work through the tragedies of this life, noting the ongoing persecution of Christians and in particular the martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya earlier this year.
“The gory sight of the 21 young men being mercilessly beheaded recently, because of their faith, the forgiving attitude of their folks back home and the thousands of thousands who are being killed, jailed and tortured in many parts of the world and their refusal to deny the Lord is the greatest inner strength that the Lord gives us,” Bishop Pallipparambil wrote in the letter, released April 5.
“If Jesus had not taken our human form, lived like us, avoiding sin, undergoing humiliation and the Passion and death, our life, with all its crosses, would have no meaning.”
He noted recently that he was asked, in light of such tragedies, “Why is Jesus not doing anything?”
“I was not confused or shocked,” he wrote, recounting that he replied: “The Lord is doing a lot. He is allowing himself to be crucified, beheaded, persecuted; he is also weeping with us for his lost brother, sisters, father, mother. Just as his shameful death led to the glorious Resurrection, these currents events will lead to a new reign of God.”
However, Bishop Pallipparambil maintained that the response to the question does not end there, and “we need to go further.”
He turned to the importance of family, in light of the upcoming synod on the family, saying, “We need to focus our attention to this most sacred organ of the mystical body of Christ.”
Bishop Pallipparambil called the family the “intimate and sacred unit of humanity, which is the foundation of the society and Church, where love is experienced, given and taken at great sacrifice, but without counting the cost, where values are imbibed without being taught, where attitudes are cultivated without questions and suspicion and where feeling of belonging and responsibility are learnt and taught, not through well-planned lessons or demonstrations, but by all the intricacies of plain lives,” lamenting that it is “fast becoming the most affected unit of humanity.”
Economic concerns should not push families “to the background or even out of mind,” he said, urging that Christians be a light for others.
The bishop asked, “Can we make this Easter a different experience? Not just for ourselves and our immediate families … but for the many families in our neighborhood that are struggling to survive.”
“Without making deliberate attempts to show the light, can we be emanating light as a natural outflow from life? The families of the young Egyptians who were beheaded have just done that. Can their example go unheeded?”
Bishop Pallipparambil concluded, praying, “May ours be homes where God has a place and he gives meaning. As history and the present age show convincingly, any attempt to silence or remove God from our families will be the destruction of it. The risen Lord has given us the Holy Spirit, who wants to be ever present with us. Do we have a place for him?”