Sunday, April 13, 2014

Met. Georges Khodr: From Death to Resurrection

 Arabic original here.

From Death to Resurrection

Today everyone flocked to see Jesus who raised Lazarus from the dead. A plot had been hatched against the Teacher because the Jews could not bear for it to be said that Jesus had raised someone from the dead and because they could not bear for the new Teacher to appear with power. But He wanted to complete His path and His path was to death, since it was necessary for Him to be sacrificed for our sins and out of love for us. This love of His led Him to the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus lived the most beautiful love story because His love was completely pure and it was great. He did not seek for Himself, but rather He sought for others. Jesus is the only person who has lived for the sake of others, while each of us lives for his own desire, great or small.

He entered Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and those sent to her, since He had to die in the heart of His country. He had to be killed by the "pious" or those considered to be so because the tragedy is that Jesus was killed by the Law, by the Law of Moses, or He was killed by those zealous for the Law because they reckoned that He had violated the Sabbath and did not keep to the ways that they had manufactured for themselves to prove their devotion to their Judaism.

Jesus knew that the plot that had been hatched over three years had to be implemented in Jerusalem. He went from Galilee to Judea, passing through Bethany where He raised His friend Lazarus, by this showing that He Himself was able to rise. Yesterday He inaugurated His resurrection with a miracle that signaled to the world that He would rise. He signaled to people that they would all rise, and not only on the last day, because He said to Martha when she affirmed that her brother would rise on the last day, that He was not talking about Judgment Day but rather about an immediate resurrection: "I am the I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" (John 11:25).

They instigated against Jesus at the beginning of His preaching life, at the outset of the three years He spent among people. They instigated against Him because He healed the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. The plot started because He loved and because people did not love Him. They  did not accept for there to appear among them a person who loves until the end, a person in whom there is no treachery and no deception, who is wholly pure for the sake of God and others.

However, before that He had to die because love kills. He had to descend into the pit of death, to the lowest abysses of death. He had to taste death out of love for the dying, so that no longer would anyone die but rather all of us will live through our faith in Him and our love for Him and Him alone. Then each one of us rises from his sin, rises from his stumbling, rises from his death.

He could have entered Jerusalem riding on a horse, like kings and great men, but He said in the Gospel, "Those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve" (Mark 10:42-44). Jesus wanted to become a servant, even as He was King of Kings and Lord of heaven and earth. He rode upon a donkey and entered in the manner of the humble into the city of the proud. He touched a beast in order to release us from beastliness. He touched an animal so that nothing animal would remain in man. He entered the city after some little ones and some of His sincere friends greeted Him. He knew that the rest of the people would be bought and bribed and would call for Him to be killed. He entered and the children were joyful because they are pure but the leaders of the people wanted to implement their plot. He entered into the temple, His Father's temple, into the heart of Jerusalem and there he saw money-changers and people selling doves trading in money, and He cleansed the temple of them. As we enter into Holy Week, let us remember that the Lord touched a small donkey so that there would be nothing animalistic left in us, so that sin would be erased and we might become pure. If we follow this path, without a doubt we will arrive there. And if we do not follow it, we have no true feast. The only thing left for us is pagan revelry.

No comments: