As Spring Begins, New Yorkers Renew Themselves with Faith
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
This morning, thousands of us attended Easter Mass, the end of Holy Week and the culmination of the Catholic Lenten season. Last night and Friday night, many of us observed Passover with the traditional seder. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, thousands of Muslim New Yorkers throughout the City commemorated Id al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice.
Each of these holidays has its own rich set of traditions, but the remarkable thing is what they all share in common. They are all springtime expressions of renewal, times for us to reemphasize who we are and what we believe. They are times when families come together to give thanks for all that we have. And most of all, each tradition reflects a deep desire to reach back in order to connect to our history and heritage, to honor the sacrifices made thousands of years ago that continue to shape our lives - and our faith - today.
Id al-Adha commemorates Abraham's willingness to obey God's commandment to sacrifice his son Isaac - an order that God withdrew when Abraham passed the test. Pesach honors the exodus of the Israelites, led by Moses, from slavery in Egypt. And Easter Sunday celebrates the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ following his crucifixion.
In New York City, a place built on the human sacrifices that previous generations of immigrants made in coming to this country - many of whom escaped religious persecution in order to practice their beliefs in freedom - the holy sacrifices we recall this week resound with a particular significance.
They remind us of the power of faith, of the humility of our place in the world, and of the importance of making sacrifices to affirm our dedication to the beliefs that are the foundation of our moral code. Without the sacrifices made for us by our predecessors, both holy and human, we would not be here today. We give thanks to those who came before us and acknowledge, with the deepest gratitude, all that we owe to their memory and their enduring presence.