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This is happening nowadays mainly in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. It’s difficult for a Christian to stay there, but we need to stay. We are Arabs, this is also our land and if God put us in this part of the world, it is because he has a purpose: To be witnesses, to proclaim the Good News and to be peacemakers. It’s important to say to humanity that we can live together regardless of our various religions.

Part of the discipleship is persecution. The Lord told us: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt 16:24)

At the same time, and also in Galilee, Jesus promised that surely he would always be with us, to the very end of the ages. He is always with us and there is no need to be surprised; the cross and persecution are part of our daily life.

Near our cathedral in Nazareth, we have a chapel we call the Church of the Synagogue. There, Jesus read from the Prophet Isaiah: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.” (Isa 61:1-2)

Let’s keep doing this in the parishes, monasteries, schools, universities, hospitals, orphanages, social centers, prisons, with the refugees and all the needy. In this way, we will prepare for Christmas in Galilee, in the Holy Land, in the Middle East and in all our countries.

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