Bishop Isidore Battikha, Archbishop emeritus of Homs, Syria.
Bishop of Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela Greek-Melkite Catholic Church
Handling such a deep theme in a few words and within ten minutes is a very difficult task. Thus, in order to be able to do it, I shall imitate our Lord Jesus, who handled big themes in a few words, by speaking to the crowds in parables. (Cf. Mt. 13 :34).
Once upon a time, there were two brothers, Francis and Cyril, living in two separate houses, facing each other, surrounded by a most beautiful countryside. Due to small problems, which grew up in time, both brothers stopped speaking to each other and avoided crossing their ways.
One day a carpenter arrived to one of the houses, asking whether there was any job for him. Francis answered:
– Do you see, sir, those wooden boards, close to the rivulet? I cut them recently. My brother Cyril lives in the house on the other side and, due to our rivalry, he diverted the rivulet to separate us for good. This is the reason why I do not want to see his house any longer. I ask you to make a fence for me, a wall which will prevent me from seeing whatever lies on the opposite side.
Francis went away to town and only returned late at night…
What a great surprise he had when he saw, instead of the fence, a pretty bridge that the carpenter had built, to unite both sides of the land.
Unable to say a word, he suddenly saw on the opposite side his brother Cyril crossing the bridge with a big smile.
– Francis, my brother, I cannot believe my eyes! It is you who built this bridge, when it was I who had offended you. I come to apologize to you. What a humility, Francis, what a courage you have! Forgive me, brother, forgive me…
And both brothers embraced each other, forgetting the past to build a future of peace and brotherhood.
When Francis realized that the carpenter was leaving, he told him:
– My good man, how much do I owe you? Why can ́t you stay with us to celebrate our reconciliation?
– No, thank you, dear friend, answered the carpenter, I still have many more bridges to be built; it is my mission…
The two names chosen, ‘Francis’ and ‘Cyril’ are to symbolize the two sisters Churches: Catholic and Orthodox.
To be a bridge builder is every Christian’s mission.
The differences between Men are a wealth and not a failure.
What unites Christians is much bigger than what differentiates them.
The wooden boards used to build the bridge are: humility, forgiveness, truth. All put together will give us a world of peace and serenity.
So that the world believes in the Cross and the Resurrection of our Lord, let us love each other, and let us forgive offences from each other, so that our Lord also forgives us our offences and gives us Peace. Because those who have no peace inside themselves, cannot give it to the world and to the others.