Thursday, January 1, 2015

Fr Georges Massouh: The Season of False Prophets

Arabic original here.

The Season of False Prophets

What do the coming days have in store for us? What will our luck and our fortune be? What is our destiny in the coming year? Most people ask these questions and take different approaches to searching for answers that please-- for some-- their hopes and dreams-- and that-- for others-- satisfy their lust and greed.

Needless to say, first of all, that knowledge of the future is exclusively one of the properties of God alone and He has no partner in this knowledge. People act like polytheists without knowing it when they believe astrologers, fortune-tellers, seers and prognosticators... How can the faithful believe in people who are not prophets or sent by God and the facts have proven their claims and predictions to be lies? How can they believe in false prophets?

They clever and the stupid, the learned and the illiterate are all the same before a cup of coffee in which someone is reading their fortune. They are all the same in front of a screen that brainwashes them with the predictions made by those who are expert in deluding people into believing the correctness and accuracy of their words. They are all the same before games of chance, believing that the random distribution of playing cards or a ball settling on a certain number will reveal their future and their destiny.

People search for their fate through various twisted means, not knowing that they must personally contribute to determining this fate and the behavior by which it is realized. It is only the lazy, the idle and those who have resigned themselves from any initiative who passively wait for what the future holds for them. Must we remain inactive before talk of civil strife, war, murder and forced expulsion? Or can we do something to uproot strife and replace it with peace? How do we go from a state of inaction to a state of action?

The Holy Apostle Paul says, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:15-19).

It is good for people to celebrate the holidays and to enjoy parties, gifts and spending time with friends and family. However, before all else the holiday is an occasion for repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. It is an occasion for starting a new life. Yes, the days are evil and we do not need to prove this, since we are living in a hell in which there does not seem to be any choice. Do we surrender to our fate or is there something we can do to stop this descent into the abyss?

At the beginning of His mission, Christ the Lord said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19). If it is not possible for us to stop the slaughter, killing and violence, it is possible for us to consecrate ourselves to serving our brothers: the poor, the brokenhearted, the despairing, the sick, the marginalized and the orphans... and more.

The poor are our destiny. They are the gateway to our salvation.  They are the Church and the mosque. They are the prophets, the saints and the righteous. They are the qibla and the mihrab. Astrologers are not the ones who determine our fate. Our fate is imposed upon us by our repentance, our return to God, our prayer, our fasting and our choice to be new people in the image and likeness of God--- not in words, but in reality, no matter how painful. This is our destiny. This is our cross and we will bear it until God inherits the earth and those upon it.

No comments: