“Those that are in peace with God, should make a sacrifice for peace with other people,” Cardinal Péter Erdő, the head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, told MTI on the occasion of Easter. “Preferring the powers of resurrection when you see the signs of death’s destruction requires a trust in God … but the joy of the resurrection should be sought even when our life most resembles Good Friday,” Zoltán Balog, the head of the synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church, said on Saturday.
Erdő advocates ‘peace with other people’
“Making peace requires sacrifices … but peace and harmony yield more benefits than what we give up through restricting our unbridled ambitions,” the cardinal said. Concerning the war in Ukraine, Erdő said Hungarians had “felt and understood what they had to do: help those in the greatest need and those fleeing their country as much as possible and as it suits them most”, MTI wrote.
Answering a question if the Vatican could help resolve the conflict, Erdő said the Holy See had played an important role in the settlement between Argentina and Chile in the 1970s. He also mentioned Pope Francis’s mediation which helped avoid a US attack on Syria over the latter country’s alleged resort to chemical weapons, in 2013. The Vatican “represents the opinion and wishes of many, which gives its actions so much strength that could bring the warring parties closer to each other,” he said.
On the subject of the pontiff’s upcoming visit to Hungary, Erdő do said its programme, including meeting the poor, refugees, the homeless, and sick children, reflects that Francis “is in community with those suffering and children with multiple sicknesses are especially close to his heart”. He said the pope’s visiting Hungary was “a sign of appreciation for the Hungarian people”. While Francis has already visited Slovakia and Romania, his upcoming visit “will show that he loves these peoples equally”, Erdő said.
Balog: ‘Trust the joy of resurrection’
“Preferring the powers of resurrection when you see the signs of death’s destruction requires a trust in God … but the joy of the resurrection should be sought even when our life most resembles Good Friday,” Zoltán Balog, the head of the synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church, said on Saturday. The bishop told MTI that “despite all appearances, life has the last word”. “Jesus was there on the cross alone so that nobody should ever be alone, that each person could feel the presence of Jesus, who will share his suffering,” he said.
Concerning wars, Balog said “the church now thinks differently than in earlier centuries”. The principle of the “just war” has “changed in the times of weapons of mass destruction — war can never be justified”, he said, adding that “the primary task for the church is not to bless the weapons but to provide spiritual aid to the soldiers forced into war and to the victims”. “We have learnt that we must turn to neighbouring nations with gestures of peace and the will to cooperate even if those intentions are not always reciprocated,” Balog said.
Lutheran leader: Christ’s wounds comfort Europe
The wounds carried by the resurrected Christ can provide comfort to a wounded Europe, Tamas Fabiny, the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hungary, said on Saturday on the occasion of Easter. Speaking to MTI, Fabiny said the wounds on the body of Jesus provided hope when looking at “the wounded Europe”, refugees, those wounded in the war, and “the wounds of Earth”. “We would think that the ascended Jesus no longer has wounds on his body, but the resurrected Jesus shows his hands, feet and side to Thomas, which still bear the marks of suffering,” Fabiny said.
God came to Earth two thousand years ago, but man is still in need of his help since, he added. The meeting between Jesus and Thomas in the Gospel of John highlights the “miracle of faith”, Fabiny said. Thomas doubts and says he will only believe if he could see and touch Jesus’ wounds, but when he gets the chance, he does not touch him but falls to his knees and says “My Lord and my God!”, Fabiny said. Like Thomas, people often believe only what they can touch and experience, but if Christ is truly there with them, the miracle of faith can happen, Fabiny said. Another aspect of hope provided by Easter, he said, was that “it is not we who go to Jesus, but he who comes to us.” People today have hope that Jesus will find them even if they close their door to him, he said.