“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased:
I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not strive, nor cry aloud; neither shall any one hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench,
till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles hope”
(Matthew 12: 18-21)
This prophecy summarizes the life of this “servant” whom God “chose” and in whom His “soul is well pleased.” He is the chosen vessel of His “Spirit,” His Word “to the nations” revealing His love and His will, the Icon per excellence of faithfulness to the end, in extreme humility and utter confidence, in order to realize the marvelous providence of God “showing judgement” to all. This “servant,” of whom Isaiah spoke (42: 1-4), is none other than Jesus. He, through this providence, is leading His creature who fell away from justice – subject to sin, alienated from God, and left without his authentic humanity – towards the dignity which God shall bestow upon him, not only as the object of His love and predilection, but also for the beauty of the virtue that His creature shall acquire. It is this justice-dignity that was shown forth on the Cross of Calvary, sealed by the stone rolled from the door of the tomb, and which is offered forever to our suffering world to seek and acquire.
The Hebrews crossed the desert in order to reach the Promised Land; Jesus faced temptation in the desert after His baptism. We all struggle in our own desert where we feel abandoned and alone. Today, the “servants of the Lord,” who are in the “fire furnace” and “hope in His name,” are crossing the “desert.” In fact, they follow the way inaugurated by “this chosen Servant,” being “hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed… perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in [their bodies].” (2 Cor. 4: 8-10; 7; 11). These “servants” enrich many, thanks to the light of their living faith, along with their thanks to God from all their heart; instead of being the refuse of the world (1 Cor. 4:13), they have become the beacon of a living and eternal hope in a world which is losing “hope in His name.”
While crossing this desert to celebrate our mystical Passover, the Church of Antioch cannot but continue to contemplate this mystery in the person of one of its “servants,” who is “not striving, nor crying aloud; neither any one is hearing his voice in the streets,” His Eminence, Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo. While he is still invested with his “singular ecclesial mission,” and since he bears the grace of the episcopate, he prays for those who, like him, “hope in His name,” so that they shall be comforted; he prays also for those who ignore this name so that their conscience shall be illuminated, that they may know the “hope in His name”.
In this time of the gestation of our hope, I ask for your prayers in order to sing with you the hymn of the “servants of the Lord:” Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!
Metropolitan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina