"Do not let your heart be troubled... I have conquered the world" by Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah

Following is the weekly reflection of Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah for Sunday May 28-June 3, 2017:

Sunday 28.5.2017

In the present circumstances, with all complexities and difficulties, we continue our meditation on what is required to be Christian.

Christians have to deal with two questions. One is a question of faith and the other a social and political question. For the faith aspect, in difficult circumstances, Christians are required to "live as Christians", in other words to know their faith, to accept it and to live according to Christian values.

The sociopolitical aspect is the question of the whole society, linked with world and regional developments. However, the ’water of the deluge’ does not submerge the Christians who want to be true Christians. They rather immerses themselves in the waves of life whatever difficulties they are, even if they are destruction, death, and an obstinate will of some to maintain wars, occupation and humiliation of the human being, as is the case here, and in the whole region.

Lord Jesus said "Do not let your heart be troubled...Be courageous. I have conquered the world" (Jo 16: 33).

Monday 29.5.2017

We follow up with our meditation on the question of faith so that the Christians know what and accept what they believe in and behave accordingly. Jesus said: "So always treat others as you would like them to treat you that is the Law and the Prophets" (Mt 7: 12).

For any believer, the logical attitude is that the one who loves God loves God's creatures, but, human relations in general are not based on this logic. They are built on the "ego", of what I want and what I need, even if it happens that I harm others while striving to get what I want. Given this reality built on the "ego", Jesus reminds us of a simple truth that every sane human being knows; sane human beings see their own need but they also see God and their neighbor. This is what Jesus reminds us of when he says: "Always treat others as you would like them to treat you".

With these words he tells us that human beings are not an island isolated in their life. They are part of a society formed by many who live together and together build life. They do not build life by eliminating the other but by sound equal relations among all. What is good is good for all. So when they strive to get it they should get it for themselves and for others.

Live for yourself and for the good of all, so relations among peoples will be stable. There will be neither quarrels or aggressions, nor wars. Life is a continuation of the creation of God, cooperation with God's permanent action. Through this vision, human beings must build life on Earth.

Tuesday 30.5.2017

"Do not judge and you will not be judged because the judgments you give are the judgments you will get, and the standard you use will be the standard used for you" (Mt 7: 1).

This is another principle of treating each other. Do not judge. Do not suspect. Do not accuse. God is the only judge of all of us. If your brothers or sisters sins do not throw stones at them, but have mercy on them and help them stand up and continue their journey in life. If they persist in their doing, Jesus said to Peter when Peter asked him: Lord, how many times do I forgive to my brother? Jesus answered: Seventy times seven times (Mt 18:15-17; Lk 17: 3-4). This means that you are always the guardian of your brothers and sisters. You are always responsible to help them, especially when they fall.

Jesus completes his words saying: "The judgments you give are the judgments you will get, and the standard you use, will be the standard used for you". As my brother or sister may fall, I too may fall. We both may do good and bad. And our actions bear their fruit in themselves; if our actions are good they bear their fruit and we will find our remuneration; if they are bad, we will find in them our punishment.

Wednesday 31.5.2017

"Where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them" (Mt 18: 19-20).
This is another aspect of relations between people. Agreement between people is agreement with God; it makes God present among them; it is blessed by God.

Jesus says: "Where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them". When God is present, our human power is strengthened because we are blessed by the presence of God. The prayer of people who agree is heard because their hearts feel and want what God wants.

Human beings who love will not remain isolated. Their love pushes him to see the needs of others and the life of others; they work with others to build life.

Of course, agreement will not be for evil or for the exclusion of others, as, for example, a closed community, closed on its own members and excluding others. Harming others and exclusion of others are not blessed by God. It is not the type of agreement blessed by God. In order for a community to be blessed, it must open up to include in its care and love its own members and all others.

In our world today, there are groups for war. God is not there. Our land is a land of war. It needs hearts and minds which open to discover their power to agree. When God is present, peace will not remain rejected. True love of God and of brothers and sisters, is a needed contribution, in order to put a limit to the big evil in our land.

Thursday 1.6.2017

"Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant; and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of man Himself came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mc 10: 43-45; Mt 20: 20…).

The great among you is your servant. This is another principal for relations among people. The great is the servant. The governor is a servant. The superior is a servant. The governor is not the tyrant. He was given authority to serve not to dominate. The great is the one who serves. The first is the one who knows that equality is with all served. The great is the one able to see all people and care for their needs.
The love of man is expressed through service. The love of God is creation. The love of man is the continuation of creation. The first and the great is the first who can do good, not the first to be applauded by men.
Jesus himself is the example: "the Son of man himself came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many".

Friday 2.6.2017

"Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to destruction is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Mt 7: 13-15).

This is another counsel to the human beings to orient their life, in order to reach perfection and abundant life with all others with whom they walk in this life, and in order to keep the presence of God in their life. Do you want life? Abandon the shadows of life. The wide gate suffocates life; the easy road leads to stumbling. The wide gate means transforming life into amusement or into mere egoistic interests. It weakens the capacity of seeing. It makes man like the rich man of the gospel who could not see the poor Lazarus sitting hungry at his door (Lk 16: 19…).

The gate that leads to abundant life is narrow; it requires efforts, asceticism, it strengthens the capacity of seeing, so one sees God and others. It makes life an effort for oneself and for all brothers and sisters in whatever religion. The narrow gate requires asceticism that gives abundant fruits; it nourishes love that makes God present.

Saturday 3.6.2017

"Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it" (Mt 10: 39). Who loses his life, the one who strives and rids oneself of egoistic interests and deviations, the one who makes of his life a comprehensive love to all brothers and sisters, will find perfection and abundance in it

Nowadays, we can also understand the verse in a literal sense: The ones who loses their life, in other words who die, who accept martyrdom for the sake of Christ, become a source of new life which appears on the soil irrigated with their blood. It will be a new life for them in eternity, and a new life on Earth for their country and people surviving after them.

"Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it"

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