Raúl Izquierdo García Faith and Light International Coordinator Easter Letter

To our Faith and Light communities throughout the world
My dear friends,

These days we are witnessing an unexpected and exceptional situation: a pandemic that
has no borders and that spreads everywhere, affecting families and friends, some of whom have
already died these days. Covid-19 is also reaching out to members of our communities. A big hug
goes out to all those who have lost loved ones and to those who have sick family members or
friends, also to those who are going through illnesses or difficult situations. The whole family of
Faith and Light is united with our hearts at this moment more than ever.

On this journey to Easter, what can we say? I am writing to you today, Palm Sunday, the
day we remember when Jesus entered Jerusalem. Triumphal, joyous entrance, full of colour, waving
branches and moving to the rhythm of songs and invocations. Triumphal entrance of a strange
messiah who enters mounted on a donkey instead of a horse, protected by an army of frightened
disciples and with the weapons of his word, his gestures and his consistency. Almost nothing more.
Jesus knows that Jerusalem is the end of this life among his people… he knows that entering
Jerusalem at that time is accepting the cross and death. He has already announced it to his
disciples, but they do not understand it or do not want to understand it. But Jesus does not enter
Jerusalem feeling devastated, but joyful, confident…. He has put his life in the hands of God and
he also knows that death will only be a step and not the last one… The Resurrection will be the
final proof of the covenant of God with his people!

On this journey, Jesus will have time to celebrate the Passover meal with his disciples, a
fundamental tradition for the Jews. There, according to the Gospel of John in chapter 13, he will
make a gesture that will unsettle his disciples once again, but that will leave one of the cornerstones
of those who want to follow the Master: washing the feet of his disciples, as if he himself was a
slave. Peter, like us, stubborn and hard-headed does not understand it and reveals himself…. It is
not acceptable for Jesus to do such humiliating things! But Jesus is very clear with Peter: “If I don’t
wash your feet, you have no part with me.” Serving the others is what is more important for those
who want to follow Jesus. Serving, accompanying, being close to, trying to understand the other’s
point of view, expecting the best for other people, being willing to do good, helping… Does this
sound familiar to you? And there, at that dinner, the gesture of Jesus blessing, breaking and sharing
the bread and wine which will remain…. as the foundation of the Eucharist, of that shared banquet
where we make Jesus present in the bread and wine. Feast of Love, feast of the community, feast
of all humanity…

Then there will be the arrest of Jesus, the torture, the fake judgment and condemnation to
die like evildoers: on a cross. The disciples ran away… out of fear, out of comfort… others washed
their hands, others looked away… Only his mother and other women remained by the cross.
Perhaps the disciple John… Little company for whom moved the masses, for whom had so many
followers… In this journey, Jesus felt fear, loneliness, confusion, bitterness … But he accepted:
“Father, may your will be done and not mine.” And this urges us to remember so many crucified
ones in our world of today… At this point, our prayer is important because it reminds and actually
defends all the victims of all history, of any type of abuse, of outrage, of injustice…

But we already know that the cross, the pain and the suffering are not the end of the story.
For Christians, the Resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. Mary Magdalen and so many
women were the main witnesses to this extraordinary event that forever changed their life and the
life of the disciples, as ours once changed. Those of Emmaus, Peter and John… and many others…
Jesus lives among us and in our communities. He is the source of joy and peace, of our desire to
share, to announce, to tell… And there is a new Hope, because Life defeats Death forever. God
loves us so much! And it makes you want to jump, sing…. And a new perspective on creation arises:
everything is good. Life has sprung from where there seemed to be only death!

How can we live all this in our Faith and Light communities without being able to see each
other, hug, sing and dance together… without being able to meet physically? That is the challenge
to which I encourage you. Use creativity, we have a lot in Faith and Light. And above all, think of
the person with an intellectual disability. They usually have less access to technologies and social
networks, but they are the heart of our communities. Let’s sharpen the ingenuity and desire to
support and be closer than ever to our friends with an intellectual disability. Let’s take advantage
of these days to live the community in a different way. We cannot meet with each other, but we
can communicate and be connected, we can call each other on the phone, make a video call, a
Skype meeting, a drawing… even a letter. We can send wishes, videos, songs… and we can pray for
each other. We remain united in Jesus even if we do not have physical contacts. And we can
continue to care for the community in many ways. Let us pay special attention to those members
of the community that due to their situation of illness, vulnerability, poverty, loneliness… may be
suffering more.

Finally, dear communities, I want to pray with you:

Jesus, help us to live your way of the cross with joy and hope.
We do not want to run away from pain and suffering, but we want to face it like you,
with confidence in the Father
Give us the grace to continue discovering the immense life that survives from serving,
especially the most vulnerable and those who suffer the most.
Help us to carry our daily cross and help carry it to others.
Open our eyes and our heart to see you in so many brothers and sisters
who are crucified today and give us courage to accompany on the cross those who need it
Give us the gifts of joy and peace to experience your Resurrection and the hope of ours.
May our communities be places of Life, Hope and Joy
because we know that you are with us and that you never leave us.
Strengthen our community ties in these moments of confinement in our homes.
Don’t let us fall into the temptation of discouragement or desolation.
Give us Faith and give us Light to walk our own path, passing through death
and finally, the final encounter with the Father.

Blessings to each and everyone of you
United in Jesus, today more than ever

Raúl Izquierdo García
Faith and Light international coordinator