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Parable of the Sower /

Every sowing has the sower, the seeds such as wheat, and the planted land or the land that we are trying to plant. These are things that Jesus said in a parable that he composed. Jesus, from the literary aspect of the Synoptic Gospels, i.e. the first three gospels, is a parable composer.

In this parable, he talks about kinds of ground. A kind of seeds, in the first ground, fell along the path and not on the ground so birds ate the seeds. On a second ground, the seeds fell on a rocky ground, so no plants grew because thorns choked the plants. On a third ground, they yielded and every seed gave hundred multiples and this is very rare. When the disciples asked him about the meaning of this parable, he clarified that the disciples have an understanding that others don’t have. Unlike the belief of some people, a parable doesn’t facilitate understanding. Your heart should be open in order to understand.

Jesus took his disciples into this understanding and said: The seed is the word of God, and the sower is of course God, and God and his word are one. He went back to the first kind of ground and clarified that the ones that fell on the path are the ones that the devil comes and takes the word away from their hearts. Those people didn’t hear anything or didn’t want to hear. This is the case of many of us. There is another group that hears the word for a while but doesn’t have a continuation in obedience. These don’t have a root. And here Jesus insists that you add the Divine word to previous divine words. You develop your knowledge of the word when you give your heart to God. You have a continuation in accepting the word or else you would fall in front of the first temptation. You don’t have the power to repel temptations.

The soul that resembles this ground that had thorns is the one that is “choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures”. A part of these words is echoed by the Church in the Cherubic Hymn in the Divine Liturgy: “let us now lay side all earthly cares”, this means that the world shouldn’t occupy us and put pressure on us. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do any work in the world, but it means that our heart should stay with God. The world shouldn’t limit us in it.

The worries of life are clarified by Luke the Evangelist through two things: Riches and pleasures. The richness that we keep in our pockets or banks and don’t share with the poor controls us until it becomes a Lord. Then, you will hear its whispers or insinuation and you will not have any more time or power to hear God’s word. You will be controlled by richness and not by the Word.

You are a slave for the thing that you obey: You are a slave for money if you wanted or for God if you wanted, you are a slave for sin or righteousness. This means that you store righteousness in your soul and yield through righteousness because it increases once you acquire it. This requires a lot of constant patience. Patience is to always receive God in you so that the Lord repels everything that tempts you if the tempter came. Christian patience is to love God that works in you. To continue this way means to accept the grace once it descended on you and to immediately give it. This means that you shouldn’t postpone charity to tomorrow because you might not have a tomorrow. This means that you should love God’s word and believe that it renews you and repels every desire for sin away from you.

Understand that you are not the sower and that you are only the receiver of the Divine seed in order not to become arrogant. Obey your Lord and nothing but his effect will remain in you and you will become a divine person.

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The Temple of the Living God / 09.10.2011

In Jesus’ thought, the Temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed, and in Paul’s thought, this Temple has no importance anymore because God doesn’t live in temples made with hands. God replaced the temple by living in people himself. “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people”.

When he says “I will live with them”, he means that he will make them a Church for him and a holy nation as he lives in the heart of the believer through the Holy Spirit. As for his saying “And I will be their God, and they will be my people”, it is in the present tense i.e. a continuous act, and this indicates that God’s love to his people will stay forever and the Lord’s divinity appears through his constant attention towards his people. This Lord will have his own people when these people know that they are loved. There is no “people” in the social sense. A nation for God will be formed when people respond to God’s love by obeying the Lord. God loves, and people obey his words. God forms his people; they can’t form themselves.

This special thing that these people have, i.e. God’s love, pushes them to accept the Lord’s word: “Come out from them and be separate”. This is a moral separation through faith from paganism and not a social separation because the civil and political societies must still exist, but some people are for God through faith and others don’t have this faith.

God clarifies one of the faces of his divinity which is that he becomes a father for us and we become his sons and daughters. This is the family of the Father as Paul names it. This is the new birth or the birth from above as the Lord described it in the fourth Gospel. And if we were the Father’s family, we are asked to continue in this family, and therefore the Apostle commands us to purify ourselves from “everything that contaminates the body and spirit”. Some sins are committed through the body, and others are committed only through the soul such as pride, aversion and all kinds of hatred.

When we try to stay away from every sin, “we make holiness perfect out of reverence for God” because holiness is trying to be like God who is pure from all wrong and sin. In this sense the Lord said: “Be Holy, because I am Holy”. This requires having reverence for God. Educationally, the New Testament still had the thought of having fear for God, having fear from punishment.  There is no joking with God; there is no softness even if we had a special status with him. Fearing God doesn’t mean being afraid in his presence but means being serious in fulfilling the Lord’s commands. There is no possible compromise between you and sin. You must know that sin is death, and that your life with the Lord requires obeying all his words and living with him in full trust and dependence and asking for his mercy.

In the New Testament, we continue to have fear from punishment and at the same time we hope to get the reward through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us and to taste the Kingdom in us from now and hope to gain it on the last day.

We become together the people of God through ecclesiastic communion and through God’s transfiguration in the Church and in individuals together. The important thing is to feel that we are his sons and daughters because we have knew him as an embracing father for us, and become able to tell him: “Our Father who art in heaven” because we have tasted through grace his daily renewal to us through his grace.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “هيكل الله الحي” –Raiati 41- 09.10.2011

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Mercy / 02.10.2011 / N*40

From the Sermon on the Mount, which is the basic rule of Christian behavior, the Lord begins the section thus: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” The other is everything to you. He needs to be your beloved. Is he in need of food? Give it to him. Is he in need of comfort, to be near you? Offer it all, for he exists by you.

Christianity is not the exchange of affections. Love –without waiting for the beloved to return the same affection. “Freely you have received (from the Lord), freely give” to your brothers mankind. Do not differentiate in giving between those who love you and those who do not. God commanded all the faithful to love as God loves.

Then He arrives at the quintessence of his discourse in saying:  “Love your enemies.” If someone becomes hostile towards you, do not return the enmity. He has sinned against God first, then against himself, and you do not expect affection from him who is unable to give such. He is what is important in your eyes, and not that he has hurt or devastated you. Your concern is his spiritual advancement. You know that he has fallen in the sickness of sin, and God wants from you to raise him from his fall. His spiritual interests are your concern and not just to be above the injury. It is sufficing for you that you are God’s beloved.

His enmity has appointed you as his physician, just like the one that was wounded on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, for whom God had appointed a physician, i.e. the compassionate Samaritan who had been a non-Jew, and of another religion. In our tradition, the Good Samaritan is an image of Christ, who takes care of those in the Church and outside the Church equally.

It is meet that no grudges or hatred touch your heart and that you keep in your heart everyone that you have encountered in the course of your life. In so doing, God will dwell in your heart; if he does not, your heart will be void, for the Lord is the abundant presence. Your goal is for your heart to become like Christ’s who forgave His murderers. The one who hates you does not know that he injures himself. If you love him, he will feel that he is hurting himself.

Matthew ends this passage from the Sermon on the Mount with the saying of Jesus: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”. The rule is to be like God. He is the model of your behavior. He is a Father to the thankful and the evil, and His grace is the same to the first and the latter. Although He has various ways of rearing, God is one in severity and benevolence, just as every father in the world loves his children, both the mild mannered and the bad tempered, with the same love, even though the approach may differ.

Mercy is all embracing. By His words, the Lord commands us to give ourselves with abundance to those who wish not our favor, according to the need that we know they have. You, therefore, wherever the need be, embrace them just as a woman coddles all her children without discrimination. Therefore, look out for those who need your mercy in the time of their hardship; for every soul has a different affliction. Search for various necessities and fulfill them. Now, this moment – and not tomorrow- act and let the one in need understand that you are an apostle of God sent to him, and through you he will know God.

Mercy is an aspect of love when the other is in a particular condition. Understand his plight, enter therein and have mercy on the other from your stance and his, whereby the giver and receiver become one in the Lord. For you will not be merciful unless you are with the Lord, who is the source of mercy.

Go and give yourself to others until nothing remains in you except love.

Translated by Kaftoun Monastery

Original Text: “الرحمة” –Raiati 40- 02.10.2011

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Christ’ Light / 25.09.2011

“The light of Christ illumines all”; this expression that we say in the liturgy of the presanctified gifts fills the beginning of the passage that Paul starts with. He is definitely referring to the Lord’s light that appeared to him on the road to Damascus when he was going to arrest Christians. He became able to shine from the darkness that he was in and become a light that illumines us on Christ’s face. After the divine incarnation, we started seeing God’s light on the face of Jesus who is the only way to reach him.

Although the Apostle could see the greatness of God’s glory, he still saw human weakness, so he said: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”. “Every complete gift comes from the father of lights”. This clay nature makes us “hard pressed on every side”, but because of the grace, we are not crushed. The grace liberates us from our clay nature and our damage. We are all confused between what is for God and what is not; however, we are not “in despair”, and “we are persecuted, but not abandoned”. Persecution is the situation that awaits us as Jesus said. Why persecution? Because the sons of darkness cannot accept light, and because evil people were naturally reproved by good people without talking. “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus”. His passions are drawn on our body and souls through persecution. And if we endured death, Jesus’ life shall appear in us. These things that happened to the Lord, death and resurrection, will take shape in our existence. If we suffered, we shall gain peace, and if we died, through the death of sin, we shall repent.

Then, he confirms this idea another time: “we are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body”. Paul always has this duality between dying for Christ and life in Christ. This is faith. Here, Paul mentions what has been said in the Psalms: “I believed, therefore I have spoken”. Testimony happens through the Word, and preaching is the fruit of faith. If we testified and spoke, Jesus would have planted his life in us because we speak through it. Finally, the Father will raise us from the dead as he did to his Christ. We rise for your sake. This is the communion of saints. We rise together in order to live together in the Kingdom of God. While waiting for this, the grace that prepares our rising is spread. The grace is spread through the thanksgiving of many. And the peak of thanksgiving is in the Divine Liturgy where grace is spread for the Love of God.

Paul always heads towards God through Christ’s light and the power of grace. This has always cost us persecutions, daily annoyances and a lot of fatigue. There is no Resurrection without crucifixion. But you can accept the cross with satisfaction and share the passions of the Lord in order to gain God’s love and distribute it to the brothers through love and take off their difficulties through guiding them towards patience and enduring discomforts.

In the midst of difficulties, you see Christ’s light on their faces. We, the people that believe in Jesus, are statures of light. If we really were for him, we should have nothing in us but light. Dust will fall off us. Difficulties will fade as consolation will take their place. Every harm, discomfort and sorrow will eventually lead us to Jesus Christ, to his tenderness, softness, and warmth so that nothing will stay in us but him; we will become him and he will become us through the love that he pours over us.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “نور المسيح” –Raiati 39- 25.09.2011

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The Cross / 18.09.2011

The cross is the tree of life because it is where Jesus fulfilled his triumph over death. However, reaching this life requires from you a big effort during all your life on earth, and this is what Mark the Evangelist said in today’s reading: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. The expression “whoever wants to be my disciple” means that you can choose to walk behind the Lord and his words, or choose to refuse this journey. But if you wanted to follow him, you must deny yourself and your lusts and leave all your desires and repent. Without all of this, you are not on the road of the cross. You shall not have anymore a self-closed and a self-attached ego.

You also know that in your world there are big crosses on which you must be crucified. You might have problems with your family sometimes. The man could be a cross for his woman and the woman could be a cross for her man. Sometimes, you also have a cross in your professional and patriotic life. You might have illnesses or discomforts. Here, Lord Jesus says: “whoever wants to save their lifewill lose it”. Saving yourself from sin requires a lot of fatigue and daily struggle. There is no day in your life in which you don’t confront the temptation and attraction of sin.

These corrupt things that you face must not enter your soul, and if they did, you must kick them out. Therefore, the Savior said after that: “whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it”. If you were attached only to Jesus, you will be able to lose your life, and this means losing your sins and desires.

Then our lord takes us to the climax when he says: “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” What good is it for you if you gained a lot of money, power and notability and enjoyed all the pleasures without leaving a place in your heart for God? Here, he uses the word “world” in the sense of the “corruption of the world”. You are invited to choose between gaining God and gaining the world.

In this spiritual war that you are having against the evil that’s coming towards you or that entered into you, you must know that you belong to Christ and that if you were so, you would be starting to enter the Kingdom on earth because “the kingdom of God is within you”. You declare that you are for Christ if someone asked you to reveal your identity. You declare that you believe in Jesus and that all your thought is based on him.

The consolation that Jesus gave to his lovers in this speech is that some of them will not die until they “see that the kingdom of God has come with power”. Jesus preached about the kingdom of God, and this kingdom has come with his coming because with his teaching we started entering the kingdom and its miracles. But when he said: “The kingdom of God will come with power” he was referring to his death and Resurrection. This is when the Church will be founded and the Holy Spirit will descend on the disciples, and if people accepted baptism, the Church shall grow and give Christ’s body and blood, i.e. the Kingdom of God will extend in the souls. The Church is the entrance to the Kingdom through the Gospel and Holy Sacraments. The kingdom of God grows in the Church and is completed in heaven where we shall witness God face to face.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “الصليب” –Raiati 38- 18.09.2011

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Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross / 11.09.2011

This feast is related to two incidents. The first one is when St. Helen found the Cross under the soil of Golgotha while she was building churches in Palestine. And the second incident is when the Cross was put in the Church of Resurrection and the Persians came and stole it when they occupied Jerusalem in 628. But when the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius triumphed over the Persians he got the Cross back to the Holy City and the Patriarch raised it in front of the faithful.

This is where the expression “exaltation or elevation of the Cross” came from. On the feast day a procession is done before the liturgy when the Cross is put on a tray full of flowers and on a table in front of the altar. The priest raises it over his head and then goes down to the ground with it while chanting “Lord have mercy” five-hundred times, and then he gives a flower for the people that kiss the Honored Cross.

In our Church, we don’t have a Cross without the crucified drawn or sculptured on it so that it becomes an icon. Worshiping, therefore, is to the image of the crucified on the hope for Resurrection.

Our entire faith is based on Christ’s crucifixion and Resurrection. And we celebrate this crucifixion in many different occasions outside the holy week, and this feast is among those occasions. Without Christ’s death, we have no hope. And if he didn’t die and resurrect, we wouldn’t have any resurrection or any base for our faith. The Love that Christ preached appeared in a special way on the Cross and was transfigured in Resurrection. Love is not just a teaching. It is the reality of crucifixion and of the rising of Christ from the dead. We express this through putting the cross in the child’s neck after his Baptism in order for him to understand all his life that he was buried with Christ and that he will rise on the hope of eternal life.

This feast renews our invitation to live a new life and to become new creatures through the Holy Spirit. The Cross is a symbol of this reality that the Savior revealed to us and that we try to experience through tasting all the beauties of Christ if we wanted to overcome our desires. As much as we are emancipated from our desires, we would be declaring that we follow Christ the Resurrected from the dead.

The new life means repentance, which is coming back to Jesus’ visage and leaving all the temptations of the world. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. First, you decide to walk behind Christ and to endure everything with patience, and at the same time to love the brothers so that people would see you free from sin and “Resurrectional” people.

Yes, you are in pain exactly as all humans are, and Christ carried your pains. You will suffer everyday and you might be really worried; and if you wanted happiness, you shall get it from Jesus once you give him your heart to dwell in. This means that you should take the Cross as your companion in order to endure this existence and elevate with it.

However, the rising of existence with you and elevating it to Christ requires from you struggling in order to know God’s word in the Bible. Read it daily and meditate in it so that the Lord sees that your face became luminous and that you are walking into a new life. In addition to knowing the Bible, you should experience daily prayer and participate in the Divine Liturgy every Sunday.

You have no life unless you spoke to God in the morning and evening so that you gain the feeling for God, for his mercy, greatness and embracing.

Renewing your spiritual life is what ensures your power to carry the cross and walk towards Resurrection.

The sign of the Cross on your face and chest should be completed through being aware of the importance of the Cross and through staying attached to it through this sign in order to know that you are heavenly.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “عيد ارتفاع الصليب” –Raiati 37- 11.09.2011

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Paul’s Gospel / 04.09.2011

When Paul talks about his Gospel, he means his teaching and preaching; he doesn’t mean the four Gospels. In all cases, when the apostle was preaching and writing his epistles, none of the Gospels was written yet. He says that people are saved through his Gospel, and this means that his Gospel contains the base of what the Lord taught and did. He explains in the beginning of his first epistle to the Corinthians, and in other occasions, that the Gospel is preaching the death of the Lord and his Resurrection and that all other words lead or come from Crucifixion and Resurrection.

His expression “I passed on to you what I received” probably doesn’t mean that he has received directly from the Lord the information concerning his death and Resurrection. He is also not talking about the tradition he inherited from the apostles after coming back from the land of the Arabs to Jerusalem. He probably took the main events from Ananias, the head of the Christian community in Damascus, before baptizing him after the Lord appeared to Paul while he was going to Damascus to persecute the Christians.

In this chapter, preaching is summarized by three words: Christ died, was buried and rose. The expression “according to the scriptures” is not a reference to the four Gospels but it means “according to the books of the Prophets”.

The appearance of the Lord to Cephas, i.e. Peter, is not clearly mentioned in the four Gospels; however, the two disciples of Emmaus said, quoting the twelve disciples, that the Lord has appeared to Simon (Luke 24: 34). Then, John the Evangelist says that the Lord appeared Simon in Galilee (21: 7). Perhaps Paul is referring to this. As for the appearing to 500 brothers in Galilee, this must mean a crowd of believers in Jesus.

As for appearing to James, this is mentioned in the Apocryphal Gospel of James. And when he says that he appeared to the twelve, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they were all together at once.

“He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born”, i.e. to a child with an early birth. He is considering himself the least among everyone because he has persecuted the Church of God excessively (Acts 3: 3, Galatians 1: 13 and Philippians 3: 6). However, he was saved though the grace that was poured on him as it was poured on those that came before him. However, the apostle’s humility didn’t prevent him from feeling that he has done more than all of them concerning preaching (2Corinthians 11: 23). Nevertheless, he was convinced that his work came from the grace.

The comparison he did between himself and the apostles was mentioned here twenty years after Resurrection. However, after this date, they all struggled a lot and many of them died as martyrs and we have the Epistles of Peter, James, John, the non-Iscariot Judas, and the Gospels. Whatever the fact of this comparison was, Paul’s depth still attracts us until this day, and a lot of our fathers took their thoughts from his, and his Epistles are the ones read most of the days of the year. Our vision of Christ, of his nature, love and acts must have the same dimensions of Paul’s vision so that we obtain a big love towards Jesus.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “إنجيل بولس” –Raiati 36- 04.09.2011

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Some People Fighting Paul / 28.08.2011

The Apostle says in the beginning of this passage to the Christians coming from Paganism that they are the seal of his mission. They converted through his words. Some doubted Paul being an apostle. Those doubters might be the Judaizers in Church that want to preserve the Sabbath and other Jewish provisions and let these continue in Church. They might also be a group that brags about spiritually. Whatever the reason was, Paul found that he has enemies in Church.

Then he talks about his rights “to eat and to drink”. However, he didn’t want to eat from the parish. Another point is concerning preachers being allowed to be accompanied by their women. The word “apostles” that he uses refers to those that were not among the twelve disciples. Among those are the ones called “the Lord’s brothers” who were his relatives because the word brother was used to indicate close relatives. Then, he mentions Cephas, i.e. Peter, because some of the faithful in Corinth considered themselves as his people.

Barnabas, that was mentioned here, accompanied Paul in preaching Southern Asia Minor (Turkey nowadays), and then each of them went in his way. However, he mentions him without any tension.

Paul gives four arguments to defend his right to be helped by the parish: 1. this is the usual practice in daily life; 2. this is based on the Holy Book; 3. this was practiced in the Temple; and 4. this is a clear command from the Lord. Does the soldier work at his own expense? And also the vineyard planter and the flock tender? Paul proves that this position doesn’t come from him but is based on the Law. Nevertheless, he doesn’t care about earthly things, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in hope. Then his logic arises and he asks the recipients of the epistle: If we have sown spiritual seed among you (teaching, preaching and pastoral care), is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you (money)? Then he shows that he has a power over them that he took from the spiritual seed he gave them. However, he says: “But we did not use this right”, we didn’t take from you any material. “On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ”.

His only concern is preaching, whether it gave him food in return or not and whether they gave him a home or not. He is specialized in preaching in order to build people on Christ. He doesn’t care about his body. He manufactures tents to eat. He relies only on God to eat. He became hungry, yet he didn’t care. Pagans persecuted him and he didn’t care. He was drowned and stoned yet he didn’t care. God protected him during difficult conditions. God protected him from Nero’s persecution that killed Peter after writing his Epistle, while Paul  came back to Rome and died there as a martyr a year or two after Nero’s persecution to the Church.

His right to eat and drink that he proved but didn’t hold on to is the right of every priest or servant in Church. Strengthening the Clergy is a command from God because we have to protect his health so that he could give us the maximum of his spiritual ability. How could he pray with the community if he was hungry or sick because the parish didn’t take care of him? The parish grows spiritually when its priest is grown on all levels so that God is glorified through the priest and the parish together.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “مكافحةُ بعضٍ لبولس” –Raiati 35- 28.08.2011

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Jesus the Healer / 21.08.2011

The Lord did these activities: Preaching the Kingdom of God and healing illnesses. Healing, for Jesus, was a sign of the coming of the Kingdom because the Kingdom is the health of the soul and the coming back of the person to his full safety.

Today’s Gospel talks about an ill person that falls in panic attacks in his youth years. He falls into the fire and water, and these are symptoms of epilepsy.

The parents presented the boy to the disciples but they couldn’t heal him, so Jesus said that his disciples are an unbelieving and perverse generation and ordered them to get the ill boy to him. The Lord rebuked the evil spirit that was controlling the boy, i.e. he ordered the spirit to get out of him and therefore the child was healed from that moment. This boy was healed through a word from Jesus. In addition to health, the Lord heals the heart from its sin if the person repented.

When the disciples failed, they asked the Lord why they couldn’t get the evil spirit out. Then, the Master told them “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move”. The meaning is clear here: No difficulty could stand in front of the faithful because he can overcome it. After that, he talked about the evil spirit saying: “This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting”. When the flaming prayer is built on trusting God – whether it was from the church prayers in the meeting of the faithful or an individual prayer – it shall heal the praying person, the sick or the sinner. It has an efficiency coming from God himself that is a partner with the believer as he gives him his grace that “completes the incomplete and heals the ill”. God sends his healing and you feel it. This is why the Church organized, based on St. James’ Epistle, the Anointing of the Sick which is exercised once a year in the Holy Week or in the house of the sick.

Fasting, being and orientation towards the Lord, is exactly as prayer. It is the power of the Lord in us and not only a diet. Fasting is not only an abstinence from food but, in the first place, from sin. When the person is fortified with prayer and fasting, Christ’s power shall descend on him. The prayers of the church and of the saints, that are the victorious church, are together the power of healing and of repentance.

After these words, Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life”. All the good things that the Savior did were to prepare us to see his passions and Resurrection. The core of the Christian faith is the passions of the Lord and his emergence from the dead. This is the aim of his journey. Therefore, we shall live with Lord Jesus if we accepted his suffering and resurrection with the joy of the victory over sin. We are Paschal people that overcome the sin that consoles us and ascend from it, because it is death, into Christ’s visage.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “يسوع الشافي” –Raiati 34- 21.08.2011

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God’s Temple / 14.08.2011

The apostle said: “We are God’s fellow workers”; however, God is the initiator of all the good things in you. You accept his grace, and this is communion. The Lord doesn’t oblige us to do anything. You accept the gift and make it fruitful. This is why Paul clarified after that saying: You are God’s field (and this is an agricultural figure) and God’s building (giving the image of a building). The author of the Epistle believes that a constructor is wise when he builds on God’s basis.

Then, he addresses every believer to draw his attention to God’s role in this construction. He reminds him that the only basis is Jesus Christ. Therefore, we do not build according to another religion and we don’t mix our doctrine with another.

Therefore, if we lived in straight doctrine, our work will appear in the last day. All our behaviors will appear to the Lord in the final judgment, and this examining that God does to us has been called “fire” by Paul because fire separates metal from gold. For if your work survived through the examining you shall be awarded, however you may lose in the examination.

And for the Corinthians to understand that they have to examine themselves, Paul said: “You are God’s temple”, because God doesn’t live anymore in Jerusalem’s Temple. Christ’s body is the temple and you are Christ’s body. The Church is you. And you will become God’s temple through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in you, and this, you shall take through “Myron”, which is the anointment of the Spirit, if you preserved this anointment and didn’t erase it.

This anointment will continue and you will be called Messiahs (which means the anointed). You are sealed like a sealed letter than no one can read except the one it was sent to. Being sealed means that you are only for Christ and not for any leader or bishop. You are from the household of those who love Christ.

Beware not to ruin God’s temple by selling it to someone other than Christ or by destroying parts of it because it will become ruined and the Holy Spirit will leave it. There are people that live without the Holy Spirit. I fear that the Spirit would leave you as a dead body. You ruin the temple if you accepted a thought that Christ doesn’t accept and if you became subject to worldly thinking. You also ruin the temple if you purposely sinned and let the devil spread his thoughts in your heart.

When the Apostle said “You are God’s temple”, he didn’t use the word temple in plural because we are all one in Jesus Christ. Love makes us one temple for him. If you surrendered once to hatred, you shall go out from your belonging to this temple.

The Church is one because it emerges from Christ, but its unity can’t be preserved except through the unity of its children. It is a unity with Christ and with the brothers. And if you didn’t preserve this, you would be living in maliciousness, arrogance and pride. While if you preserved the unity in all situations, you should know that this is coming from Christ and that he is preserving you in his love so that you won’t die every day in sin.

Christ has risen from the dead so that none of you would stay spiritually dead, today or tomorrow.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “هيكل الله” –Raiati 33- 14.08.2011

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