Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Met Georges Khodr: Be Bearers of Light

Arabic original here.

Be Bearers of Light

"If your eye is simple, then your whole body will be full of light and if your eye is wicked, then your whole body will be full of darkness." If we translate this verse into language comprehensible for us today, we would say that if your vision of things is good and comes from Christ's simplicity, then your entire being is full of light and if your vision of people and things is confused and comes from the evil in your soul, then you cast darkness upon people, only see them as darkened and you darken your own being as well.

Your vision of things must be simple. That is, direct, such that we stick to immediate reality. Does this mean that the Lord calls us to be simple-minded such that we be like children? We must be children in terms of heart, not children in terms of intellect. One can be an intellectual giant and at the same time be like a child in simplicity and innocence. The Gospel calls on us to see the light in people, since people are all bearers of light.

God made us in His image and likeness and we are called to brush away the dust that covers the image, to perceive the divine element that lies in every person to the point that if we see the beauty that is in them, we can awaken the God who is in them and return them to God the Redeemer who is within them.

Then the Lord said, "You cannot serve two masters, God and money." Divine lordship attracts, we worship it because we know it to be the source of life, from which we draw our being. But man quickly crafts other gods for himself. So it has been since the dawn of history. Man makes graven idols for himself and worships them, in reality worshiping his passions. He worships the flesh and creates a god for the flesh. He loves war, so he erects a god of war. Idolatry is passions that well up within us, for which we establish idols. Therefore when the one God wanted to smash the idols, what He really wanted was to erase the passions that created them.

When the one God appeared, radiant and mighty, in Jesus Christ, all the idols were broken. God was manifest upon the cross and in the resurrection and because of this people's passions were erased, but they became diffuse within people's souls and they established invisible idols for themselves. Because the Lord knew this and because of His certainty that His disciples would erect for themselves a great idol, a great imperceptible golden cow, He warned them, saying, "You cannot serve two masters, God and money."

The Lord chose money out of all the passions because it is the greatest and deadliest of them all. Our Lord chose money in order to fight man's worship of it. The love of money is deeply rooted in the soul because it is a refuge in which we take shelter. It protects against death, or so we think. Throughout life and throughout history, man lives fear. He fears death, sickness and isolation and so he makes storehouses of money to protect him from sickness and deprivation or to bring him healing from sickness, or so he reckons.

But the Lord is the one who protects us from the evil of deprivation, the evil of sickness and the evil of death, since the believer is safe in his Lord, trusts in his Lord, stands with his Lord, he shall not die. But man does not believe completely in the resurrection of the Savior and so he crafts in his life corners where he can reassure himself and warm himself. Man establishes in his heart a dark corner for the idol of money.

How do we fight this devouring passion? By giving. God said through the Prophet David, "He has dispersed, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever." 'Dispersed' means that nothing remained for himself.  This is how we should practice giving. When I feel money in my pocket clinging to me so that I seek solace in it, the idol has begun. So I take it and trample it. I break the idol at its beginning. I give it to those who need it.

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