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The Word of Life – April 2016

Truly I tell u, just as u did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, u did it to me. [Mt 25:40]

 

After having loved Jesus all day long in our brothers and sisters, we feel such a union with God when we pray in the evening! We have loved him in those around us and now we find him loving us!

Why are these words of Jesus so dear to us and why do they come back time and again in the Words of Life we choose each month? Perhaps it is because they are the heart of the Gospel. They are what the Lord will ask us when in the end we find ourselves in front of him. On these words will hinge the most important exam of our lives; and we can get ready for it every single day.

The Lord will ask whether we have given food and drink to whoever was hungry and thirsty, whether we have welcomed strangers, whether we have clothed the naked, visited the sick and prisoners… It is a question of little acts, which yet have the value of eternity. Nothing is small if done for love, if done for him.

Jesus indeed did not just come close to the poor and marginalized; he healed the sick and comforted the suffering. But he loved them with a preferential love, to the point of calling them members of his family, of identifying himself with them in a mysterious solidarity.

Today too Jesus is still present in whoever suffers injustice and violence, in whoever is looking for work or living in a risky situation, in whoever is forced to leave his or her homeland because of war. How many people are in pain around us for all sorts of other reasons and call out, even without words, for our help! They are Jesus who asks for practical love, a love capable of inventing new ‘works of mercy’ in keeping with new needs.

No one is excluded. If a person who is old or sick is Jesus, how can we not seek what could give the necessary relief? If I teach my language to an immigrant child, I teach Jesus. If I help my mother clean the house, I help Jesus. If I bring hope to a prisoner or consolation to someone who is afflicted or forgiveness to someone who has hurt me, I build a relationship with Jesus. And every time the fruit will be not only giving joy to the other person, but I too will feel a great joy. By giving we receive, we sense an inner fullness, we feel happy because, even though we do not know it, we have met Jesus. The other person, as Chiara Lubich wrote, is the archway we pass under to reach God.

This is how she recalls the impact of this Word of Life from the first moments of her experience:

‘All of our old way of thinking about our neighbours and loving them collapsed. If Christ was in some way in everyone, we could not discriminate, we could not have preferences. Our human notions that classified others were thrown up into the air: compatriot or foreigner, old or young, attractive or ugly, nice or nasty, rich or poor, Christ was behind each one, Christ was in each one. And in reality each brother or sister was “another Christ”…

Living like this we realized that our neighbour was for us the path to God. Or rather, our brother or sister was like an archway that we had to go under to meet God.

We experienced this from the earliest days. What union with God in the evening, when we prayed, or when we recollected ourselves after having loved him all day in our brothers and sisters! Who gave us that consolation, that inner union that was so new, so heavenly, if not Christ who lived the “give, and it will be given to you” of his Gospel? We had loved him all day in our brothers and sisters and here he was now, loving us.’

by: Fabio Ciardi

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The Word of Life – March 2016

‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’ (Lk 10:9). 

God’s kingdom is Jesus present among us. We experience this when we love one another. He is almighty and conquers every evil.

This is what the Jews of the time of Jesus were waiting for: the arrival of God’s kingdom. As soon as he began going around the villages and towns, Jesus started to proclaim: ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’ (Lk 10:9).

Then immediately after that: ‘ The kingdom of God has come to you’; ‘the kingdom of God is among you’ (Lk 17:21).

In the person of Jesus, God’s very self had come into the midst of God’s people and, decisively and with strength, taken back control of history so as to lead it to its goal. Jesus’s miracles were a sign of this. In the person of Jesus, God’s very self had come into the midst of God’s people and, decisively and with strength, taken back control of history so as to lead it to its goal. Jesus’s miracles were a sign of this.

In the Gospel passage that this Word of Life comes from, Jesus had just healed a man who was mute, freeing him from the devil who held him prisoner. It was the demonstration that he had come to conquer evil, every evil, and finally establish the kingdom of God.

This term ‘the kingdom of God’ was the Jewish people’s way of saying that God acted for the sake of Israel, freeing the people from every form of slavery and evil, guiding them to justice and peace, flooding them with joy and good things. This was the act of that God who Jesus revealed as ‘Father’ – mysterious, loving and full of compassion, aware of the needs and sufferings of each of his children.
We too need to hear Jesus’s proclamation:

‘The kingdom of God has come to you.’

Looking around us we often have the impression that the world is dominated by evil, that the violent and the corrupt have the upper hand. At times we feel ourselves at the mercy of hostile forces, of dangerous events stronger than we are. We feel impotent in the face of wars and environmental calamity, of massacres and climate change, of migration and financial and economic crises.

Yet this is where Jesus’s proclamation is set. It invites us to believe that he, right now, is conquering evil and is establishing a new world.
In the month of March twenty five years ago, speaking to thousands of young people, Chiara Lubich entrusted them with her dream, ‘it is possible to make the world a better place…. almost a single family, as if belonging to just one country.’ Then as now this looked like a utopia. For the dream to become reality, however, she invited them to live mutual love, in the certainty that acting like this they would have had ‘Christ among you, Christ himself, the Almighty, and from him u can hope for all things.’

Yes, it is he who is the kingdom of God.

And so, what do we do? Act in such a way as to have him always in our midst. Chiara went on to say: He himself will work with you in your countries because he will, in a certain way, come again into the world wherever you meet, because you will make him present through your mutual love, through your unity.
And he will enlighten you about all that is to be done. He will guide you, he will sustain you, he will be your strength, your fervour, your joy.
Because of him, the world around you will be converted to living in harmony; every division will be healed… .
Love, therefore, love among you and love sown in many corners of the earth among individuals, among groups, among nations; love sown by every means possible so that the invasion of love, of which we have spoken at times in the past, may become a reality and so that, also through your contribution, the civilization of love we all await may begin to take on solid form.
You have been called to this, and you will see great things.

Fabio Ciardi

 

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Readings: 1st Sunday of the Cross (Slewa)

Quote of the Week

For the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him.

 

Sunday 20 Sep 2015 Readings

1st Reading/Deuteronomy 8:11-20

A reading from the book of Deuteronomy Barichmar

Moses said to all Israel : Make certain that you do not forget the Lord your God; do not fail to obey any of his laws that I am giving you today. When you have all you want to eat and have built good houses to live in and when your cattle and sheep, your silver and gold, and all your other possessions have increased, be sure that you do not become proud and forget the Lord your God who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. He led you through that vast and terrifying desert where there were poisonous snakes and scorpions. In that dry and waterless land he made water flow out of solid rock for you. In the desert he gave you manna to eat, food that your ancestors had never eaten. He sent hardships on you to test you, so that in the end he could bless you with good things. So then, you must never think that you have made yourselves wealthy by your own power and strength. Remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you the power to become rich. He does this because he is still faithful today to the covenant that he made with your ancestors. Never forget the Lord your God or turn to other gods to worship and serve them. If you do, then I warn you today that you will certainly be destroyed. If you do not obey the Lord, then you will be destroyed just like those nations that he is going to destroy as you advance.

This is the Word of the Lord

 

2nd Reading / Philippians 1:27-2: 11

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to Philippians: “Barichmar”

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel, not intimidated in any way by your opponents. This is proof to them of destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him. Yours is the same struggle as you saw in me and now hear about me. If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

The grace and peace be with you all brothers. Amen.

 

Gospel Reading/Matthew 4:12-5:16

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

Glory be to God for ever.

Bulletin: 3rd Sunday of Summer (Qayta) 2015

The St Addai Parish weekly bulletin is a 4-page PDF file that contains the Sunday Mass readings in both Arabic and English, the prayers of the faithful, parish news and announcements.

Weekly Bulletin

The first parish bulleting was printed on the first Sunday of Advent in 2003 and that edition was only one page on A5 sized paper. During the years it developed to become 4 pages of A5 sized paper then to 4 pages of A4 sized paper (or a full A3 paper folded in half).

Assumption