Patriarch Sabbah: God said, “I am He who is”

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter One-I:

“In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.
“He was with God in the beginning.
“Through Him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through Him” (John 1: 1-3).

This is the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John. He begins before the beginning, with the eternity of God, when there was nothing, nor even time neither space before creation. “In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.” He was the Creator: “Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him.”

John puts us before the mystery of God, eternal, and before the mystery of the Word of God. Jesus afterwards will say “Father and Son”. Here John says: God and his Word. Later he will say: Father, Son and Holy Spirit: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28: 19)

Since the beginning of his Gospel, John has put us before the mystery of God.

Genesis, the first book of the Holy Scripture, began with the narration of creation, and began with the same expression “In the beginning” (Genesis, 1: 1). Then it described God Almighty, in a human language which we can understand. It said: “The spirit of God was sweeping over the waters” (Genesis 1: 2).

The writer cannot describe eternity with words of time, nor could he describe God with words of God. He described Him with human words. He said: He is spirit, a word that we understand, even only relatively, for we cannot hear or see it. The spirit of God does not fall under the measure of time or place. God is not something visible. The language of Genesis is a description of God with human language, but God is above human language.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter One-II:

God is; always He is. He is love, and Word (Logos). “The Word was with God and the Word was God”.God and his Word, distinct and one.Don't ask how that's possible. You have to come out of time and space to understand, if you want to understand. You must enter eternity, from today, yes, if you can, if you search and reflect, if you know how to welcome the grace of God, because God, for his part, gives you to know; you have to know how to accept God's grace.

Lord Jesus Christ said: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17: 3).Eternal life is to know God, to contemplate God. It is given to those who allow themselves to be taught by God. It is given to those who know themselves, that they are only humans, and know that God is above this earth and all its laws, bounded by no time or place, nor by number.

From the beginning, and always, God is, and the Word is, and the Holy Spirit is. In our human language, we say: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God since ever and forever.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter One-III:

“Moses was looking after the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led it to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame blazing from the middle of a bush. Moses looked; there was the bush blazing, but the bush was not being burnt up.

Moses said, 'I must go across and see this strange sight, and why the bush is not being burnt up.' When Yahweh saw him going across to look, God called to him from the middle of the bush saying, 'Moses, Moses!' he said. 'Here I am,' he answered. Come no nearer,' he said. 'Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3: 1-5).

When God appeared to Prophet Moses in the burning bush, on Mount Horeb, Moses asked God: What is your name? God said: “I am He who is” (Exodus3:14). God manifested Himself in signs, which man can understand. He appeared in a blazing flame, and he is not a flame; Moses heard a voice, and God is not a voice. He is the One who is. He is love. He has mercy on His people. His compassion for His people is compassion for all peoples of the Earth. John said in his Gospel: "God loved the world: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

No one is condemned in this life or in the coming eternal life, for those whom God loves, and accept God’s love. God is. He is love. He is the light and the life of the world. This is what John teaches us at the beginning of his Gospel. Whoever walks in the light of love, enters the path of life and salvation.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter One-IV:

“In Him was life, life that was the light of men; and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it” (John 1: 4-5).

God is, before all creation. He is light, love and life.

God is only life, not death: “For God did not make Death, he takes no pleasure in destroying the living. To exist -- for this he created all things” (Wisdom1:13-14). He is the giver of existence and life to every living. God is love. Therefor man is called to love. But some preferred darkness, and death.

Some have preserved in themselves God's love, and His life. They walked in the ways of the invisible God. Their life was full of love of God and God’s creatures. They accomplished multiple and various actions of mercy. They built the city of men and kept in it the love of God and His light. They built civilizations based on love and light.

Some went away from God's ways. They walked alone, making gods for themselves, according to the Psalm: "They have idols of silver and gold, made by human hands.These have mouths but say nothing, have eyes but see nothing, have ears but hear nothing, have noses but smell nothing.They have hands but cannot feel, have feet but cannot walk, no sound comes from their throats. Their makers will end up like them, and all who rely on them.” (Psalm 115: 4-8)

Then the period of idols passed. Came a period in which some became gods for themselves. Or, they denied the existence of God. Among those who denied some remained humble, full of love for others, and in search of the truth. But others, among those who denied, made themselves gods, and became oppressors of humanity. Some finally, these are the worst, saw the light, they had a religion, then they deviated, they thought that they worshipped God; in reality they worshipped only themselves. Their only criteria are their egoism, their ambitions, their cruelty and their interests. Those made wars, shed blood, oppressed, and thought they were right. With those we have to deal today, -but also with the “good” who are a silent intercession for humankind.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter One-V:

Besides some who pretend to be ‘god”, one way or the other, making religion at their own measure, not as revealed by God, their interest being their god, besides those people, there are also people who are still in the light of God, and in his love. Light shines in the darkness, and many people see it. They receive the light. God walks with us. Many people see God and walk with Him, the simple and the learned alike, the merciful, the gentle, and the peace- makers.

“The light shines and the darkness could not overpower it”, or could not see it. People in the darkness remained there. Those who see the light walk in the simplicity of their hearts: They are intercession, imploration and guidance.

Everyone in his private life must strive to make his life a light, like God's light. God has qualified us all to be a light. The life that God has given us is a light for us and a light for all. In this sense, Lord Jesus Christ said: “You are the light of the world.” No matter how dark the world is, every living with God's life is entrusted with being the light of the world, for the whole world. Society is made by its own people. It could fall into the hands of dictators and oppressors, that's possible. But individuals are responsible for being a light that guide even dictators and oppressors. Our societies are troubled and need people who bear light and truth.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter One-VI:
“A man came, sent by God. His name was John.
“He came as a witness, to bear witness to the light, so that everyone might believe through him.
”He was not the light; he was to bear witness to the light.” (John 1: 6-8)

These verses speak of John the Baptist, the last prophet of the Old Testament who witnessed to Jesus Christ. He was the last prophet sent by God to pave the way before Jesus. John met Lord Jesus on the bank of Jordan River and baptized Him. He pointed to Jesus and said: “This is the one of whom I said: He who comes after me has passed ahead of me because he existed before me” (John1: 15).
Jesus witnessed later to John, by saying: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet…In truth I tell you, of all the children born to women, there has never been anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11: 7-11).

God sent John to remind people that Lord Jesus Christ was coming, and to remind them that He would not come the way they expected. He was not a triumphant Messiah, he will not defeat the Roman occupier, and make the leaders and chiefs of the people sit on the chairs of government. He rather came to call the poor and the gentle. He called to repentance, not to fight.

John the Baptist came as a hermit in the wilderness. He was not a member of the elite of the people; he was not a Pharisees, nor a scribe, nor a Sadducee, but a hermit. He called on people to repent so that they could acknowledge Lord Jesus Christ when he comes. In fact, the Pharisees and their disciples went to him, and the simple people went to him.The simple ones repented and were baptized; the Pharisees asked Him: Who are you? But they did not care about His message, nor did they care about their own situation and their need to repent.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter One-VII:

“The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; He was coming into the world.
“He was in the world that had come into being through Him, and the world did not recognize Him.
“He came to His own and His own people did not accept Him.” (John 1: 9-11)

The light that illuminates every human being in the world is God, the Word of God. The one who wants to receive the light can have it. The light shines for everyone, but for only those see it, or those who want to see it. God is the light of the world, and the Creator of the world.“The world had come into being through Him, and the world did not recognize Him". John the Baptist knew Him because God inspired him and sent him to witness to Jesus. When Jesus came, the simple and all who were in need to be healed, knew Him. The heads of the people, the religious leaders could not know him.

“He came to His own and His own people did not accept him”.“His own”, his people, and the entire universe God created. Some accepted Him, and some did not. This is the mystery of Jesus Christ, and the mystery of God in His dealings with human beings. When Joseph and Mary presented the Child Jesus to the Temple, they were received by the old Simon. Simon said to Mary: This child “is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed.” (Luke 2: 34) It is a sign of contradiction. “He came to his own and his own people did not accept him”, while pagan peoples welcomed him.

God wants everybody to be saved. He gives all His grace in various ways. All are called to be saved. Some see and accept, others do not see. Man’s salvation is in God's hands. But it is also in man's hands. Anyone is saved if he wants to be saved, and if he keeps himself able to hear and see God. God, for His part, is a father, merciful, loving all His children, and denies His grace to no one, in whatever religion.

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