2000, Articles, Raiati

‘I Am For the Other’ / 03.09.2000

Today’s Gospel (Matthew 18: 23 – 35) is an invitation to mercy that happens when you widen your bosom for the other and make him enter, with all his sorrow, deficiencies and misery into it. But before that, you should make him lean back on your bosom as John did on the Lord’s bosom in the Mystical Supper. Every kind of sharing carries a visible or an invisible “leaning back”. This means that if you excluded your brother, you might be killing him through isolating him, and his feelings would be cooled towards you, God and his friends. His heart will become empty from any content and his only content will be hatred and bitterness.

Today’s Gospel tells you to forgive the trespasses of your brother with all your heart. You usually tend to see that your sins are small and that others’ sins are great so that you can always claim that you are right and think that you are great. You want to become a leader in the village or neighborhood even if you were such a small leader that follows greater ones. You frighten a weaker person to convince yourself that you are strong. You want to force your word in order to reject his words and defeat him.

You might not be convinced in anything, but you use your power over the weak in order to prove for the villagers that you are huge. Actually, you just seem huge, i.e. you give yourself a size that’s not actually yours. You want to look high in the eyes or others to abolish the doubt you have about yourself. You are not brave enough to say that the other is also good, that he has good qualities and that he is beneficial. You are not brave enough to say in yourself: “I wish to learn from him and achieve his virtues”, or “I wish that both of us would have good virtues and that both of us would be good people as I am not the only one that carries any good”. You and the people of your parish should all be good together, isn’t that better than having the good qualities limited in you? Life is for all of you and blessings are also for all of you together: Isn’t that better than claiming that you are the only one that has perception and the one with the right opinion?

Why don’t you accept discussion? Maybe the other’s opinion would be better and lead you to life. I am saddened by the fact that all villages are full of familial, personal and political schisms. I am saddened by the fact that these schisms have echoes in the parish especially if the village was pure Orthodox and therefore the entire village forms the parish. All of these schisms come from us not wanting Christ to reign over our souls, from us not wanting to implement his words of salvation and truth that are in his Gospel.

We hear this chanted Gospel as if it is an old story that doesn’t concern us. When it mentions love, we feel that it carries beautiful teaching, but we don’t know that these words are an invitation to all the listeners and not just a reading from an ancient text. We talk about the beauty of Christianity, however, love or mercy obligates us to humble our soul in front of others, make them higher than us, and consider them better than us.

Console me a little bit by forgiving each other’s trespasses and by not asking about them anymore. If the situation continues as it is now, I shall realize that I have built only churches and not hearts. God dwells in people’s hearts, therefore do not sadden them with pride.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “الأخر أنا له” –Raiati no36- 03.09.2000

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