Holy Family Catholic parish in Gaza on Palm Sunday  (AFP or licensors)

By Fr Gabriel Romanelli, IVE*

Apr 1 2024

As Christ’s Resurrection at Easter dawns in the Holy Land, Fr Gabriel Romanelli, parish priest of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza, reflects on the hope for peace that lies hidden in the Calvary of Gaza.

Jerusalem, three days after the massacre. Calvary remains a place of disaster: crosses, hammers, nails, ropes. The morning dew covers the wildflowers growing among the stones.

Silence. Broken stones. Endless solitude. It seems that everything is over. From there, God “departed” from the Earth, though He never truly left it.

The Most Holy Soul of the Redeemer separated from His Body right there, on Calvary, on that day of darkness, around three in the afternoon. Three days have passed since that disaster… and yet, very close by… there is the place of the true new beginning of Humanity: the Tomb of Christ.

Yes, but the tomb is already empty! He has emerged alive, He is resurrected, and He will never return there.

As for the Calvary of Gaza, today it is also a disaster: so many dead!

Wounded, sick, hunger, people left to their fate, hostages and prisoners, loneliness, and depression. Only the morning dew on some grass and a few flowers of the remaining plants indicate that spring has arrived.

Spring is here. And even so, we cannot cover the sun with our hands or pretend thinking that the reality in Gaza is fine. No, things are not fine; they are very bad, extremely bad!

But we, as believers in the Risen Lord, cannot cover that other Sun either, which is Jesus Christ returned from the dead.

In Gaza, and thanks to the Easter celebrations, we know that Christ has returned risen there.

And today, He was received by the majority of our brothers in faith in Holy Communion. But we also believe that, with the grace of His coming, He fills and enlightens every righteous soul.

It may be that many have not yet known the design of God’s Love revealed in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, the Son of God and son of David, the Virgin born of a Virgin, but this does not mean they could not mysteriously partake in the grace of Easter.

Saint Paul teaches us that whoever is born without the Law will be judged without the Law. That being the case, it is up to Him to judge and see every single human being, including each of us.

We know that He loves those who seek Him with a sincere heart, and I am convinced that the majority of these blessed people in these lands do not desire, deep in their spirit, this war. They do not want it; in fact, they detest it.

From Gaza, from those tombs, many, indeed very many, await the day of the final resurrection. But we, who have so often seen entire peoples reborn from the ashes, can come to think that from there resurrection will begin again.

Perhaps there is still some time to wait, unfortunately. But God, because He is Just, will not abandon those poor people on Calvary.

Sooner or later, the light of a new hope, human, limited yes, but which will be, at the same time, a sign and opportunity for all to believe in Him, wait for Him, and love Him.

With hearts full of the joy of the Resurrection, and even amidst tribulation, our Catholic community in Gaza wishes you a happy Easter and thanks you for so many prayers and support.

*Parish Priest of Gaza Vatican News