Monday, December 18, 2017

Met Georges Khodr: As the Feast Approaches

Arabic original here.

As the Feast Approaches

As the feast approaches, we ask what we can offer to God, the child born for our sake, after the magi confessed, through their gifts, that He is God, king, and readied for sacrifice. What more than this can we say, when we chant on the morning of the feast that what Christ wants of us is "words of right-believing theology"-- that is, that we confess Him to be the eternal divine Redeemer, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made.

If they are asked, many people think that Christ is a prophet or that He is a great man or a social reformer and other expressions such as these. But we who gather in the Church come to receive Him and confess Him as Lord and God, to affirm that God alone redeems man and that man is floundering in his ignorance and death. But if we want to escape this constant state, this despair and this spiritual death, we only have to confess that there is a power that comes from God Himself through grace to heal us.

 Christ brought good tidings of it. He was it. He poured it out on the cross and caused it to dawn in the resurrection. And what is the Nativity that we will soon celebrate other than the beginning of the good path that He will take from one cave to another, from the cave of birth to the cave of death? Christ in swaddling-clothes as a child and Christ after that in grave-clothes. Christ is a sacrifice from the beginning to the end, appearing to people as a light that shines upon them and as a fire. Those in whom the love of Christ blazes have Christ as the light of the world.

Christ is the perfection of times, as we read in the Epistle for Nativity. Let us not wait for any other time than Him. Let us not live in any place other than the place of Christ. Let us not wait for any other idea. Let us not wait for any other feeling. Everything has been realized and we have nothing to do now but receive, nothing but to listen to Him, to meditate upon His face, to live from this face, and to inspire others to it.

Why can we live by Jesus' face and bring Him to people as life? It is because in Him we have become sons of God. He has breathed the Holy Spirit into us, who causes us to say to God, "Father." Thus we have entered into God's family. After having been born into a family of flesh and blood, we have moved from everything that is earthly and fleshly and from every relationship of flesh and blood to a relationship of worship. In Arabic, the word "worship" comes from the word "slavery". That is, we have made ourselves slaves of God. It is not that we are slaves, but we have made ourselves slaves to the one whom we love, in that we only look into God's eye. Thus we are born anew. We are born of the vision of love with which God sees us, because if He saw us as we are in our sins, if He saw us in all our filthiness, we would die. But He sees us with mercy and receives us according to His fatherly heart.

In the feast, we will be born anew in a world that does not know God and does not know the beauty of the Gospel. We will be a great light in a darkened world. People will see good works and praise our Father in heaven.

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