Saturday, February 17, 2018

Met Georges Khodr: Man's Treasure

Arabic original here.

Man's Treasure

"Where your treasure is, there your hearts will be also." This is the closing to the passage of the Gospel that the Church reads to us today to prepare us for the fast tomorrow. It is as though the whole purpose of the struggle of fasting is for us to be trained in the fact that the Lord is our treasure, so if He truly becomes our treasure, then our hearts will be attached to Him.

What is man's treasure? What does he love? Of course, he loves the flesh, the thing that is connected to him when he is born and which remains, until he is buried in a grave, connected to him. With it he sees, he hears, he senses and reproduces. A terrible, tempestuous force moves the universe. The flesh, then, is something we are attached to. Each of us is attached to his flesh, to one degree or another. The fast comes and tells us to cancel all of this. Man is attached to his flesh because he does not love to die. The believer loves to die, because he meets Christ, his Beloved.

Therefore, we refrain from food until we strike down the authority of the flesh over us, so that we may have authority over it.

What does man also love? Money. All people are attached to money. The saints do not love money; they trample it under their feet. For this reason, the Lord said, "Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth," meaning do not let your hearts be attached to money. What is meant by this is that even if you accumulate money, do not love it, do not desire it, and do not let it rule over your hearts. Let your hearts be free. Everyone needs money and the Lord did not say that you must be poor, but He did say not to be attached to money and that we should not let it have authority over us.

Man's worth is in that he is Christ's beloved and that he tries to implement the Gospel alone. So we have abundant money and give it to the poor. This was the first goal of the fast at the dawn of Christianity.

The third thing that man loves and is attached to is authority, the love of glory, the love of appearances, the love of lording over people. When Jesus confronted the devil in the wilderness, Satan said, "I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth," and Jesus drove him away from His face. Jesus does not want to be king like earthly kings. He wants to be king over hearts. He gained this kingdom at the crucifixion. When He loved, He became king.

And so let us train ourselves in humility as we hold the flesh in contempt and hold in contempt along with it the soul that incites evil, that is greedy and lords over people. We must learn that what we desire might be realized. We must learn not to hold any opinion unless it is attached to Christ by dogma, faith, and that which is not vain.

We must refrain from attachment to our opinion. By denying erroneous opinion or being free from erroneous opinion, we walk with the Lord towards Pascha, so that we may see His light.

We and those preceded us to heaven together welcome Christ. They went to His light and so we commemorated them last week on Soul Saturday, in order to remind ourselves that we and they are one Church.

We train ourselves in the fast in order to arrive at vision of the glory of the resurrection in love. If love remains in our hearts, and you polish and refine it, it will bring us to the Pascha that we hope for.

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