Thursday, February 17, 2011

Met. Ephrem's Sermon for Feb. 6, 2011

The Arabic original can be found here. It was given at the parish in Kharnoub.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Beloved, I am happy to be among you today in this blessed church. The faithful gather in the church especially on Sunday. The Divine Liturgy gathers us all together. Its aim is for us to become holy. That is, for the Lord Jesus Christ to enter into our heart, into our life and to make us holy, to make our families holy. In the liturgy we remember all the world. We do not only remember ourselves and our family, rather we remember all people-- all the sick, all the suffering-- so that our Lord will put peace into our hearts and the world.

If there were not those who praise the God, the world would become empty, as you see, of anything other than problems and anxieties. We believe that our Lord is the Lord of Peace. He is the one who is able to save us and to save the world. This is why all the holy fathers say that if there were not people who pray and ask for the help of the Lord who created us, this world would be laid to waste. And so with joy we gather every Sunday, whether it is in this church or in any other church, because we feel that when we make Sunday holy (and how many thousands and millions of people are praying at the same time and taking part in the divine sacrifice!) we all become one.

At every liturgy we hear the word of the Gospel, each section of the Gospel. Today you heard the story of the Canaanite woman. This woman is called Canaanite because she, like us, is of a Canaanite-Phonecian background. This woman lived near the region of Tye and Sidon, and the Lord Jesus wanted to meet this woman. What is His purpose with this meeting?

This woman was a pagan. She heared about Him and wanted to meet Him. He wanted to say to her when he met her that He had come to the whole world. However, at the beginning he held back from her and rejected her. But she remained adamant, saying, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

One who prays with all his heart attains his request. This is why the Canaanite woman kept praying from her heart and humbled herself to the point that the Lord Jesus compared her to dogs. Despite this, she said in her humility that dogs can get the crumbs from their masters' tables. The great person in this world is the humble person. The true Christian does not become proud, no matter what happens, no matter what position he takes, no matter how great a fortune he acquires. Because if a person is faithful, he is humble. This is why the Lord Jesus says, "Everyone who humbles himself is raised up." The faithful person comes to be respected and beloved.

Because of the Canaanite woman's humility, our Lord said to her, "Your faith is great. May it be to you as you say," because her daughter was sick and she was healed. The Lord responded to her because she was faithful and humble.

We ask the Lord to give us these virtues so that he may heal us and bless us, amen.

No comments: