Sunday, February 18, 2018

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos)'s Message for Lent 2018

Arabic original here.

Message for Lent

All of us need repentance, a return to God. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance" (Luke 5:31-32). So enough with demolishing each other! Do not judge, so that you won't be judged: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner..."

The Church's canon and its rules for the fast are not to destroy the person or eliminate him. They are for discipline and education. All of us need discipline. How are we disciplined except through fasting and prayer? "This kind can only be expelled through prayer and fasting." Fasting is nothing less than refraining from everything that does not belong to God.

"O Lord and Master of my life, grant me not a spirit of sloth, meddling, love of power, and idle talk. But give to me, your servant, a spirit of sober-mindedness, humility, patience, and love..."

The purpose of the fast is for us to understand the mystery of God's expansive love. Look at the merciful father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Come to know the Heavenly Father through the Son. That is, through the Lord Jesus Christ who revealed Himself by saying, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest... learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-29).

Who of us does not want to truly have rest in his soul?! Who of us does not want to know God truly? To touch His presence in the calm of his heart? "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3)...

"Love seeks nothing for itself" (1 Corinthians 13:5). "Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad" (John 11:51-52).

Today this message of ours must be in the Church and in the world. The Apostle Paul raises his voice and cries, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus... He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2: 5, 7-8).

Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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