Thursday, March 14, 2024

Bp Constantine Kayyal: Meatfare

Arabic original here.


The topic of today's Gospel passage is love.

The Lord Jesus gives a parable about the Last Judgment and affirms to us that the standard of judgment is love, personal and tangible love for the people that God puts along our way.

Love that corresponds to our social, economic and political interests and concerns is good and useful, but it is not pure and uniquely Christian love.

It is true that we are called to establish a just society governed by equality and brotherhood, but the true Christian love to which the Gospel calls us and on the basis of which humankind shall be judged is "that we love one another" and reconcile with one another so that all may know that we are Christ's disciples.

This is the true Church, the living Church of Christ, not a social or national institution.

The sole standard of judgment is man's relationship to his fellow man, not only man's relationship to God. Our sole path to heaven is through our fellow man.

Yesterday we prayed for our departed loved ones. We pray for them because we love them and so that we may encounter them in Christ who is love and in whom there is no difference between living and dead because all are alive. When we love Christ, we also love His elect because He endured disgrace and crucifixion for the salvation of all humankind.

Today we also remove meat from our tables in order to prepare to enter into greater struggle through fasting, prayer and self-discipline in order to make the soul close to others in order to draw closer to God.

The purpose of refraining from meat and its derivatives is to make money more available to give to our brothers in need out of love for them. This is the most important expression of true love and of the communion that exists between the members of the Church, the body of Christ.

Let us pray that our mighty God may grant us the strength and love to pass through this holy forty-day fast and to bear love for our brothers in our hearts and minds every day and every moment, so that we might be worthy to attain the most sublime goal, the fullness of the stature of Christ Jesus.

Bishop Constantine

Abbot of the Patriarchal Monastery of Mar Elias Shwayya

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