Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to attest these things to you for the sake of the churches. I am the sprig from the root of David and the bright star of the morning.
The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!' Let everyone who listens answer, 'Come!' Then let all who are thirsty come: all who want it may have the water of life, and have it free.
This is my solemn attestation to all who hear the prophecies in this book: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him every plague mentioned in the book;
Eminences and Excellencies,
Brothers and Sisters, beloved Children in Christ,
“Come” summons the writer of the Revelation, in the passage we have just read, and in obeyance to this command, we have come to this holy city from various corners of the world. We are together as Christians in this holy place, to invoke the Lord for the greatest of His gifts, Peace, from Him, the King of Peace. For the Lord has borne witness with his very life to love encarnate – peace of humankind, inner love – the peace of God, love of the Cross and of the Resurrection – cosmic peace.
The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, through these verses of John’s Revelation call the Church to its great responsibility to proclaim Salvation for everyone and everything in the world, in the present, prophetic spacial and temporal dimension of the power of God. Salvation, however, was not proclaimed as an event, but as a person, to be known, experienced, to become acquainted with, to love. From the line of David indeed comes the “morning star”, the radiant star, full of the light of Dawn, the Sun of Justice, Christ our Lord. “Joyful light of holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly, holy, blessed Jesus Christ”, sings perhaps the most ancient trinitary hymn of the Nascent Church.
The universal salvation that God grants humanity through Jesus, and the final defeat of evil and death, are the very heart of this proclamation. In Jesus the messianic expectation as a whole was finally fulfilled, and it was testimonied to the Church: the expectation and the principle that were fulfilled are requested to us today, for us to be its privileged witnesses, not while we expect a new parousia but today, in what is already and what is not yet, in the past that is the present and the present that is the future. Today Christians are called to an act of “martyria”, a testimony of communion: “ By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13, 35). Which word of peace can be offered to the other, to the person who is different, distant, unknown, who interposes between us, if that word of peace is not a true experience of communion with the Radiant Morning Light? How can we offer peace that is love, without the true testimony that is martyrdom? Without being living icons of the Trinitarian communion in God and with one’s neighbour?
We are therefore thirsty, we must be thirsty, we need to thirst, for thirst is the symbol of our need and our yearning; we need to thirst for the living water that continuously flows forth for us. And this ultimate and precious fruit of living water is the manifestation of the nuptial love that unites to Jesus Christ, God and the whole of humanity. The Bride, which in its immediate meaning is figure of the Church, for this very reason is a symbol, tragedy and hope in the adventure of all humankind, called to salvation by the sacrifice of love of the Son of God who is Son of man. For this reason, the Spirit that fills and guides the Bride, tells Jesus through Her and with Her: “Come!”. In this invocation the faith, hope and love of the community of believers are brought together, while in the name of all humanity it invokes the coming of Jesus and His presence.
Therefore we cry out “Come”, Come living Water, Come Radiant Light, You freely lay down Your life for us, and we freely offer You to the world as a sign of love, bearing witness to You as communion of love, and we present You as the final gesture of peace. “Marana-Tha” – “Come, Lord Jesus” is the greatest testimony a Christian can offer. In the Church in the first centuries this call used to echo in the catacombs, in the places of martyrium, it was inscribed on the tombs of the martyrs, it resounded in the hours of sorrow and it continued to echo throughout the history of Christianity. More than ever it echoes today in too many places of the world, firstly in the Middle East.
In order for us too to cry out “Come, Lord Jesus”, with our brothers and sisters who thirst for peace, we need to go through a metanoia as Churches, an inner conversion, a radical change of mindset, a profound repentance, and be capable, as Christians, to carry out what the Book of the Revelation synthetically calls us to: Listening – Conversion – Prophetic Testimony.
Listening: which is the capability to hear the cry of God to humanity, and to hear the cry of our neighbour. In order to listen, however, we need to learn to taste silence. A listening silence must permeate us, setting us in touch with God and with out brothers and sisters, releasing us from all chains, deceptions, uneasiness. To listen does not mean to be distant or detached listeners, it means to participate, to be intimate with God and our neighbours; it means to accept the promise of Christ, to live it in theandric union with Him through His Body and His Blood. It means conversion, and there can be no conversion without listening.
Conversion: which is the capability to bring one’s heart and mind to change route, to converge only on “the One who is”, the Alpha and Omega, the All and Nothing yet. Metanoia therefore is a mandatory passage to purify memories, to overcome the evil that afflicts humanity, the subtle spiritual sickness that aims at detaching the all from the all, instead of offering the Eucharistic thanksgiving: “Your own of Your own we offer to You, in all and for all” (Liturgy of John Chrysostom). Conversion, therefore, to testify that Jesus Christ is the fulness of the revelation, and that in Him God our Father has said all that he had to say to humanity in view of salvation.
Prophetic Testimony: And we are here, all together, to offer this testimony, and for the testimony of Christians to be prophetical it needs to be true koinonia. Then we shall offer living water to the thirsty, endless water, water of peace to a peaceless world, water that is prophecy, and all shall listen to Jesus, who will thrice say: “Surely I am coming soon!”. No one shall add or take away anything, but the Book of life will be open for everyone. We are entrusted with being the prophetic Testimony of His Peace. Amen.