Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jospeh Jules Zerey on Faith

It is my prayer that we as a Christian community whether in Toronto or in Jerusalem be converted and live our faith according to the Lord's commandment of love. He loved his disciples who betrayed him. He forgave his enemies who crucified him. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your heavenly Father" (Matthew 5: 44-45). It is only through love that we can be his disciples. The place where I live is not far from the mountain on which Christ shone in transfiguration and gave us a foretaste of his glory. This transfiguration awoke the three apostles and after his Resurrection they became a powerful testimony to his awakening from the dead. Must we not today awaken again from our slumber? We need to to have a room for God in our everyday life - contemplate his beauty in his creatures, and reflect on his love that was fulfilled in the incarnation, death and resurrection of his only begotten Son. In Jerusalem, our patriarchate offers a home to the visitors who come to pray and seek the Lord. We have a few schools to teach children according to the faith, but half of my students do not have the money to pay their tuition fees. We do not press them. They receive education so that they be good Christians. We have a couple of houses run by the Sisters of Charity and the Little Sisters of Jesus. Their vocation is to serve the poor of the poor, the dying and foresaken children, and the old and broken hearts. None of these services discriminates between Muslims, Christians and Jews, for all humans are children of God. In the Catholic Church of the Holy Land, a conference of bishops maintains monthly dialogue between the episcopate of each of the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Roman Catholic Patrairchate. We coordinate the efforts together to build a Catholic presence that serves the rest of people. We also maintain a convergent dialogue with our brothers in Christ: Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant. We pray together for the day when we all become one in Christ. In the interfaith dialogue with our Muslim and Jewish brothers, we are in good contact with their authorities. We respect our elder brothers the Jews from whom Christ, his mother and the Apostles came. With our Muslim brothers, we share much such as belief in one God, prayer, and fasting. For example, a day before my travel, I received an invitation for a Ramadan Breakfast with the Palestinian Authority to which I had to delegate a representative from the Melkite Catholic Church. In spite of all the sufferings we work with all parties in the conflict of Palestine to establish peace in hearts and to break the violent reactions between parties who seek to overthrow each other. Everything starts in the heart. This is why peace is possible only when people accept to live together and forgive each other. What can you in Toronto do to help us in Palestine? I am not asking for money but only for your own hearts to be in solidarity with us and the millions who seek peace. Our tradition is full of reminders to grow in wisdom and spiritual life. This raises questions to you: Answer in your hearts 1) When was the last time you fasted? 2) When was the last time you prayed from your heart? 3) When was the last time you received the sacrament of confession (reconciliation)? Remember that your children will imitate you as you imitated your parents. Even if it is hard economically for many, we should not run after the mighty dollar for it is written "You worship either God or money but not both." I will continue to be a voice for peace and love - the love that Christ alone brings to you. This is the faith of the Church that I meant to tell you about. Archbishop Joseph Jules Zerey is Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem for the Greek Melkite Catholic Church. The above was paraphrased from a lecture he gave at Jesus the King Church on Friday August 27, 2010

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Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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