Monday, April 14, 2014

Met. Elias (Audi)'s Sermon for Palm Sunday

Arabic original here.

Audi at the Palm Sunday Liturgy: I Want a President who  Loves Lebanon, without Hatred or Malice in His Heart

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Beirut and its Dependencies, Elias Audi, presided at the liturgy for Palm Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint George in Nejmeh Square in the presence of a large crowd of the faithful who carried palm and olive branches and children.

After the Gospel, Audi gave a sermon in which he said, "Beloved, next Sunday we shall see the Lord rising from the dead after having suffered excruciatingly, having suffered unto death. Today, however, we see Jesus coming into Jerusalem as the people welcome Him as a king and as the Son of God, the Christ whom they awaited. But this king did not come on a horse or a chariot, but rather on a donkey, in order to teach Christians who follow Him that power does not come from any authority other than the authority of humility, meekness, love and brokenness. [...]"

He continued, "Talk has been focusing lately on who will be the next president of the Republic and who they will place in this position or that. However, I have not once heard an official emphasizing that you must be a true citizen. That is you must love your country first and your brother first, and afterward seek positions. I want those who address our children to build them up with morals and to teach them how to be good citizens. The nation is not a nation except through its citizens. This is why in Lebanon we need schools that teach citizenship. Then there will be no need for talking about sectarianism because the citizen will become a brother to every citizen. We have not yet cast our robes before God, before Jesus who became incarnate for our salvation."

He said, "They often ask me, 'Why do you not speak?' My reply: I am not a politician. I am a man of religion who teaches the teachings of Christ who did not talk about politics. Why don't we go back to the book that inspires us on how to talk, how to behave, and how to be Christians in the image of Christ? We hear a lot of talk and speeches about politics, but we have not heard a single speech about morals or citizenship. [...]"

He added, "I was recently asked, 'Who do you want to be president of the Republic?' I said: I want a president who loves Lebanon. I want him to be peaceful, a man of peace, without hatred or malice in his heart, but rather as the Apostle Paul said, I want him to be pure, just, faithful to his nation, someone who loves people. And I want all his helpers to be like this. Beloved, if you are truly Christians then Jesus is your king. If you follow Him, then you will not even fear death because the apostles who followed Him did not fear death. A few days ago we heard that a brother priest [i.e. Fr Frans van der Lugt] been killed. He knew he  was in danger but he did not leave his monastery, his parish and those he cared for. When we sense danger we flee. [...]"

He concluded, "We must thank God for all the graces that he has given us and continues to give us, even as we ask Him to preserve Lebanon and to grant its children the grace of thankfulness for all things, the grace of love, citizenship, giving, of reognizing the other and respecting his freedom and dignity."

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