Friday, May 10, 2019

Met Silouan (Muci): Initiatives from Outside the Usual Context

Arabic original here.

Initiatives From Outside the Usual Context
The two old men, Joseph and Nicodemus, entered, without that we be aware of them, into the course of events of Good Friday, in order to bury the Lord's body. The Gospel is not sufficient about pointing out this initiative, but it also informs us about another, a greater one, which was undertaken by the women on the day of the Resurrection, when they visited the tomb in order to anoint the Savior's body.
We have before us two groups that appeared from outside the context of "apostolic legitimacy" in the narrow sense, if one can say this. That is, from outside the role for which the Lord prepared those he chose to bear the Good News, His apostles who were scattered, fearful and in hiding at that time. The initiatives of each of these two groups came in order to shed crucial light on the heart of the divine dispensation, in affirming, on the one hand, the reality of the Lord's death and, on the other hand, His resurrection. And this is really the foundation of apostolic preaching and the witness of the Gospels.
Here we are perfectly aware of how daring these two groups were in what they did-- perhaps lacking the legitimacy or eligibility in the eyes of those endowed with legitimacy, knowledge, truth and custom--, a fact that was essential for the group of apostles to go out of their emaciation, fear and internal corrosion, while failing to meet the demands of their calling to, as well as the futility of their fleeing and hiding from, the light of God's will, the light of their resurrection as a group whose point of reference is Christ crucified and risen. Did these two groups go beyond the designated role for their members? Did their members advocate a rank that was not originally given to them? Did they appropriate a dignity that belonged to others? Have they sinned in taking an initiative that appears to have originated from outside the usual context for us or according to our customs, be it with regard to role, position, place, order or responsibility?
The Church answered these questions for us by commemorating the members of these two groups on the second Sunday after Easter; and by doing so, it fully agrees that what they undertook to do at that time has become eternal. In turn, we thank God for what they did, since they have received their rank today on account of their courage, their daring, their love and their pure intention at a time when fear, paralysis, feebleness and broken promises held sway among those who would become the pillars of the Church and her apostles. We also thank God that those who undertook these two initiatives did not boast about what they did at the time, but rather it is the Church who endeavored on this day to express thanks and gratitude to them.
Is it right for us to approach this commemoration in this way? Did these questions and considerations occupy the minds of the apostolic community and members of the early Church? What is important here is how the community approached its painful and difficult situation at that time in simplicity, love and kindness, without complicating the situation further with many calculations, considerations, analyses and egotistical complexes. These two initiatives from outside the usual context permitted the light of the resurrection to revive the entire community at a time when its circumstances were in no way enviable, and to propel it in the direction that the Lord commanded His disciples before His passion.
Perhaps this approach will revive within us this great hope, through the activity of Christ's resurrection and the uninterrupted work of His Spirit within us, when we observe our situation on various levels-- home, parish, diocese as well as at the level of the universal Church-- and give us the necessary impetus to give room for the Spirit to work within us and among us, so that we may overcome the barriers that we ourselves or circumstances place in front of us. Are we not in need today, in dealing with our worries and cares, of initiatives from outside the usual context, which perhaps will help us to achieve that for which we have mobilized ourselves: constructing the signposts of the kingdom amidst this world?

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