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Easter Sunday: He is risen, He is not here!

The Scouts’ bagpipes and drums went silent. After the Easter Vigil at St. Savior’s parish in Jerusalem, they paraded through the streets of the Christian neighborhood, bringing with the new fire, the symbol of resurrection, to different homes. .

The old city has become calm once gain. Yet in the garden of the resurrection, a certain excitement is palpable. Many people are coming to see the empty tomb.
The Franciscans also start moving a little after midnight and they sing the liturgy of the hours.

The doors of the Basilica did not close all night long, and in the early hours of the morning, masses took places one after the other at the empty tomb up until the beginning of the solemn mass.

The joyful celebration begins with the Resurrexit Dominus Alleluia! at the Holy Sepulcher.
The slow, somber songs of Good Friday sung by the choir of the Custody in black uniforms have disappeared. Now, there is a room full of colorful clothes and the joy of the Resurrection!

The crowd brought together faithful from around the world. The consuls general of the four traditional Latin nations—Belgium, France, Spain and Italy—were also present.

Although Calvary was almost deserted on this day of the Resurrection, the large crowd gathered around the empty tomb, sitting on the floor, standing as close as possible to the shrine, and sitting on pews, they took full advantage of their opportunity to pray HIC ET NUNC, here and now, at this place on the very day of Easter.

André, a Brazilian pilgrim, attended all of the Holy Week ceremonies at the Holy Sepulcher. “It’s like a dream to be there. We came here two weeks ago in order to discover the Holy Land, and we are finishing with Holy Week. The energy that we feel here is amazing; I’m returning home renewed.” He is convinced: if more people listened to Jesus’ message in their heart, and acted accordingly in their lives, the world would have more peace.

After wishing everyone a happy Easter, Patriarch Fouad Twal, emphasized the effects of Christ’s Resurrection in our lives in his homily. “Our heart is restless—restless, because apparently it is not always where we would like it to be: in our families, in our cities, in our regions affected by war and violence, and in our often broken families. Like the holy women seeing the empty tomb for the first time, we let ourselves become overwhelmed by the anxiety of emptiness and absence, but let us not be overcome by fear. For Christ asks us to bring his message to the world,” he added, “like Mary Magdalene did to the disciples. Everyone is waiting for this Good News: the God of Love-become-man frees us from death and sin.” It is faith, God’s supernatural gift, which bears fruit in man’s heart, who transformed women into missionaries. Like them, insisted the Patriarch, we are called to overcome our fears and prejudices and to be witnesses to the multitudes of nonbelievers.

After communion, the solemn procession made its way around the tomb. The four Gospels of the Resurrection were read by four deacons in the northern and southern parts of the Shrine, at the Stone of Anointing and at the tomb’s entrance, which is still empty. It is now up to us to announce the Good News!
The seminarians did not hesitate in singing “al-Masih qam min bayn il-amwaat” while re-accompanying the Patriarch back to the patriarchate: Christ is risen from the dead!

Happy Easter to everyone!

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