Thursday, July 21, 2016

Met Georges Khodr: You Stand where the Fathers Stand in Glory

Arabic original here.

You Stand where the Fathers Stand in Glory

Today we commemorate the fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which was held in Chalcedon in the year 451. The council examined a heresy that had filtered into the Church, claiming that Christ had one nature, a divine nature that eclipsed the human nature. When they gathered together, the fathers, who numbered 630, affirmed the Church's faith in the only-begotten Son of God who is perfect in His divinity and perfect in His humanity, without separation or division, "true God and true man... in one person."

The importance of this commemoration is so that we realize that we are people who have fathers, that we came from the beginning and started out from the Gospel, so therefore our dogma is rooted in the Gospel and in what the fathers wrote and taught about the Gospel. The fathers are people inspired by the Holy Spirit and in this, like the Apostles and the Scriptures, they are a a good vessel that has preserved for us upright dogma. For this reason, we celebrate the fathers who revealed Christianity, demonstrated it, taught it, and died for it. For this reason we are not prepared to compromise dogma.

In his Epistle to Titus, which we read today, the Apostle Paul commands us, "But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless" (Titus 3:9). Dogma was handed down to you from the Apostles. It was handed down to you from the martyrs-- and their blood is not so cheap that you can compromise dogma.

 In today's Gospel reading, we read that the Lord said to His disciples, "You are the light of the world" (John 8:12), similar to when He said, "I am the light of the world." When Christ talks about Himself, He says that He is the light of the Father, that He is the good face of humanity. He tells His loved ones who gathered around Him on the mountain, "You are the light of the world." That is: you have received Me and My light is marked upon your faces; you and I are one. This means first of all that if you have been purified, you are the light of the world. If you have resisted your passions and have abandoned your sins, then you become the light of the world.

But this also means that through Orthodox (upright) dogma, you are the light of the world. You are the light of the world because you believe as the Apostles believed. You are the light of the world because you bear the Gospel. You are the light of the world because you have fathers who in their life were a living Gospel.

Heretics distort the Gospel, as the Apostle Paul also told us today, "Reject a divisive man." That is, leave him, do not go along with him. Reject the heretic because you bear the upright faith that you must proclaim before people. If you love people, proclaim the truth to them until they live from it, until they make it their starting-point. 

But you must have fathers. That is, you must have support. You must be a successor to people who loved and died and because of this gave us good teachings that forever amaze us.

You are the light of the world by this dogma that you have received. With it you confront people and struggle against evil. By it you stand where the fathers stand in glory.

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