Madrid Question: Where Was Christ on March 11?

Cardinal Responds During State Funeral

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MADRID, Spain, MARCH 24, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Faith in Christ's resurrection gives us the strength to love our enemies, even terrorists, Madrid's archbishop said during the state funeral for the victims of the March 11 attacks.



Addressing the families of the deceased, the Spanish royal family, numerous presidents, heads of state, and leaders of countries around the world, Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela posed a pressing question.

"Where was Jesus, the Son of the living God, brother and Savior of man, Lord of life and death, on that terrible Madrid morning of bombs and destroyed bodies of so many friends for whom he gave his life on the cross?" the archbishop asked.

Cardinal Rouco Varela, who concelebrated the Mass today with 30 bishops in the Cathedral of La Almudena, found the answer in the words Jesus addressed to Martha, Lazarus' sister, when her brother had died: "Your brother will rise again."

"What is more," the cardinal said, "Jesus clarifies the extraordinarily laconic content of his reply, luminous beyond limits imagined by man, when Lazarus' sister replies to him with the resigned statement" that that event will only take place "on the last day."

But, he said, "Jesus speaks to that woman of a present already overcome by resurrection and life, which makes itself accessible and operative through faith to those who are journeying in this world: 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die. Do you believe this?'"

"If we believe and pray for our dead, if we believe and review our own lives, we will know with indestructible hope that our loved ones killed by terrorist rage have reached the gates of eternal and blessed life and that we, for our part, 'shall never die,'" the cardinal said.

Therefore, in face of "the strategy of hatred, in the end only one answer is effective: that of love," he added.

When this occurs, we know that we have passed from death to life already in this world and that a new civilization is beginning to take shape on the horizon of history itself, the cardinal added.

He concluded: "This will be our program: compassionate and profound love for you, dear relatives of the victims of the March 11 attacks. A supplicating love so that the Lord will convert and bring penance and conversion to all the terrorists -- may they hand themselves over to justice and abandon their sinister plans! And love full of hope and prayer for those who struggle, justly and boldly, in the overcoming and eradication of terrorism."